Today's Challenge: More Productive Meetings

I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time in meetings. This can be quite painful - but it doesn’t have to be. As we’ve been talking more and more about the team concept at Chick-fil-A, it has put the spotlight on one of the major challenges many teams face: How do we make our meetings more productive?

If you haven’t thought about it, this is an ever-present challenge. And not just one to protect your sanity – more productive meetings reduce cost and improve performance. That’s a win-win most leaders would embrace with open arms.
I’ve written on the topic before in two posts entitled 10 Tips for Great Meetings (Part One and Part Two). So, I’ll not repeat myself, but address specific things leaders can do to add to the value of meetings. Three things come quickly to mind…
Be sure meetings are focused on performance management. Regardless of who facilitates the meeting and independent of who prepares the agenda, the leader should remain vigilant regarding the content of the meetings. Meetings are a very costly forum to share updates and status reports. However, performance management, rightly defined can have tremendous impact on the meeting’s impact.
Below are some of the activities that constitute performance management. I’ve always been taught, a great meeting should invest 75% of the agenda on the following activities:

Review the scorecard (key metrics)

Identify problems and opportunities

Solve problems - create action plans

Review previous Action Items

Celebrate accomplishments

Idea for Action: Look back at the last 5 meeting agendas for your team. What percentage of the time was invested in the previous activities?
Always review the agenda BEFORE the meeting. Many team leaders have delegated the creation of the agenda – that’s great. However, until you are 100% convinced the facilitator understands the idea of performance management, my suggestion is to review the agenda before it is distributed. That way, you can make any needed adjustments proactively. The alternative is to coach after the meeting on why it was not as productive as it could have been. I prefer to coach for success rather than coach to failure.
Be sure to review all previous Action Items at every meeting. This may seem obvious; however, it is not the norm. If you’ll develop the habit of doing this, you can create a culture of accountability. This makes not only the meeting more productive, it makes the people and the organization more successful.
Meetings are the perfect forums to encourage, challenge, create, collaborate, train, educate, improve, solve, celebrate, plan, design and communicate with your team. Therefore, effective meetings can be one of a leader’s most powerful instruments to improve performance. Do them well, and you’ll never have to worry about the value of your meetings.[GLS_Shield]


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