How would you describe your team meeting experience?

If there is one aspect of working life that is a mixed blessing, then it is surely meetings.

Yet so much time is spent in them, and many of them become unconstructive.

Meetings are of course an important part of organisational communication, consultation, debate and decision making. We need them, colleagues attending need them and we need to get the best from them.

The meeting should be an inspiring and motivational experience for everyone attending. If not it has been a waste of time, resources and money.

Consider the cost

I have never been able to understand why many of an organisation’s failures such as an increase in customer complaints or a drop in sales figures, will trigger instant action, whereas the regular exit of people from meetings in muted (and not so muted rage), muttering ‘What a waste of time!’ results only in the setting of the date for the next meeting.

It just doesn’t make sense.

The dangers are all too obvious – the majority of attendees recognise them – with many meetings in the workplace diverting attention from more important tasks, slowing down progress and delaying action necessary to guarantee success on the business growth journey.

Poor meetings are often divisive, contribute to low morale and if they are not a breeding ground for office politics, muddle or chaos in the workplace then many meetings act as a platform for talkative and disruptive people.

Such meetings prompt few (or bad) decisions, or simply end in tears. And it doesn’t need to be like this.

Very few individuals think of the cost to the organisation of holding the meeting. There are costs involved here, not least of which is the opportunity cost.

In other words, think about what else could have been done, or achieved, if people were not in a meeting, and consider how much those activities might be worth.

In an organisation of any size, the negative effects of an unconstructive meeting can be multiplied by the number of people involved.

Never say, ‘it’s just a meeting’, do not overlook the costs; aim instead to make sure that meetings are productive, useful and motivational.

Motivational meetings have purpose, benefits and participation

The key purpose of a meeting is surely to prompt change (there is no point in having a meeting I would argue if everything is going to remain the same); and to do that, decisions must be made.

The meeting has therefore to be constructive and put people in a position where good decisions can prompt appropriate action.

Achieving this requires a set of clear objectives to be achieved from holding the meeting, supported by an agenda (running order) with a timetable that everyone can work to. This includes not only a finishing time but a starting time. You will be surprised how many meetings in business just don’t start on time.

These simple rules of rules of engagement form the basis for the majority of productive meetings held in the workplace.

The importance of the team meeting

Team meetings are important to operational efficiency in a growing organisation. Many of the challenges of growth cannot be tackled in isolation. Group interaction works every time but again a few simple rules should be observed.

  1. Do not waste time merely passing on information; this may be given briefly at the end of the meeting, or by another method.
  2. Involve everyone in the discussion of problems, generating ideas, matching performance against objectives and the way ahead. Collective ownership is a powerful motivating force within the team.
  3. Encourage the active participation of everyone in the team to support the principle ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’.

Finally

Why not try holding some of your meetings at the end of the working day (rather than at the start or in the middle). People are less likely to waste time when they know that there loved ones are waiting for them at home.

Or restrict your meetings to a couple of agenda items and thirty minute time restrictions. Or try this idea from one of our clients – remove the nicely polished meeting table and comfy chairs and instead hold stand-up meetings with a white board and a pot of coffee.

Each tip focuses the mind of meeting participants and results in more productive, positive decision making and actions.

Best wishes on your business growth journey, wherever it may take you.

John Stein – Founder of the winning (formula)®

Share
 

Tags: ,

This entry was posted on Friday, July 5th, 2013 at 6:58 pm and is filed under Management Development Tips, The Growth Manager. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply