How to fix your broken meetings
By Jacob Espinoza
They are the worst…sometimes.
People hate attending them.
But people also hate reading their emails.
And what people hate the most is not being in the loop.
If your organization is going to stay on track, you need to have meetings.
AND you need your meetings to be effective and efficient.
Here are a few quick lessons about meetings that are so good they should be ILLEGAL!
Ask your team
If you are in a spot where you know your meetings are dragging, get comfortable asking your team for their input and feedback.
Great leaders don’t come up with all of the best ideas.
Great leaders are the people who bring the best out of others.
Never forget: People will support the things they help create.
Take time talking to your team about what they like about your current meetings, what they want to stop doing, and what they would add.
Investing an hour collecting data will 10x the impact of your meetings moving forward.
Clarity is king
Before the meeting starts, take time to think about the purpose of the meeting and who will be impacted.
Knowing who to invite to the meeting is half of the battle.
As the meeting starts, everyone should know why they were invited and what the purpose of the meeting is.
If the meeting is about rolling out a decision, keep it from becoming a brainstorming session.
Get in the habit of starting each meeting by announcing the priorities for the time together.
For example, “In the next 60 minutes, our goal is to achieve A, B, and C.”
Your team will appreciate you respecting their time and not allowing the meeting to run off course.
As a leader, you need to listen to your team, but you also need to be able to step in and make decisions when it is time.
Self-awareness is critical. If you tend to become paralyzed as you continue looking for new data, give yourself deadlines to make decisions. There will always be more data available, but trust yourself to make the best decision with the data available.
Action and experience will teach you what works.
Get in the habit of making decisions, learning from the results, and adjusting the process.
When you get stuck in paralysis by analysis, your team will get used to projects not moving forward, and your action takers will start jumping ship or looking for new opportunities.
Follow up on decisions
The only thing worse than not making a decision, is making a decision and then not holding your team accountable for execution.
(This is a freaking nightmare situation.)
Patrick Lencioni put lack of accountability as one of the 5 dysfunctions of a team for a reason.
When you treat execution as optional, your team will learn to do the same.
Lack of follow-through will also lead to resentment amongst team members. Not following up creates a divide between those trying to execute and those not doing the work.