Frequently, leaders, managers and employees tell me (with frustration) how ineffective their meetings are. It’s become a national, if not global, epidemic! From lack of focus to poor facilitation, people are wasting millions of hours a year which not only takes an economic toll but an emotional toll as well.
Are ineffective meetings draining company productivity? Adopt these 4 best practices and watch your meetings go from boring and mundane to compelling and engaging:
- Know Your Purpose – Be crystal clear about the purpose of the meeting. Ask yourself, is this meeting necessary? If the answer is yes, identify if it is to provide updates (reporting out and information sharing); or to problem-solve and make a decision. Clients tell me the typical ratio is 80/20 (info sharing to problem solving) where it should be the reverse.
- Use An Agenda – Stop fighting it and create an agenda template for every meeting. Lay out the timing and objectives of each section of the meeting. Be sure to distribute the agenda 24 hours in advance give people time to prep.
- Use Skilled Facilitators – This is a great opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of others on your team! Be sure to include a scribe, timekeeper and someone who is comfortable intervening when they see challenging behaviors (ranging from dominators to silence). Having a small cadre of leaders trained to become strong, effective facilitators will bring drastic improvements in your meetings.
- Finish Strong – Too often the hour is up and people are abruptly dropping off the call or packing up and running off to their next meeting. Schedule meetings to end 10 minutes before the hour. The final 5 minutes should include 3 essential things:
– Ask: “What decisions did we make today?” Agree and write it down.
– Complete the “Who-What-When” action register so there is accountability for unfinished items and next steps.
– Decide what info must be cascaded out of the meeting and to whom.
Meetings don’t have to be nightmares. They can be incredibly productive for speeding communication; accelerating decisions and healing relationships. Try following these 4 best practices and I guarantee success!
Do you hear these things in your company?
- “I didn’t know you were working on that.”
- “That’s great news! Why didn’t you tell me?”
- “I was working on that too.”
- “I could have helped if you told me.”
- “Things are chaotic and moving too fast.”
What if I said you could quickly eliminate issues around communication and execution if you started one new practice a day? Have a Daily Huddle! It takes discipline, a leader committed to the process and only 8-10 minutes a day.
Here’s how it works:
- Bring your team together at the same time everyday (use an “off” minute to start, such as 8:07am).
- Conduct the huddle standing up.
- Everyone needs to be prepared to answer:
– What is one piece of good news from yesterday?
– What is your most important priority for today?
– Where are you stuck or need help?
- The leader goes around the circle three times, asking one question per round.
- No problem-solving or extra discussion (the huddle is for raising problems, not solving them).
- Bookmark items to review/discuss after the huddle.
Each leadership team member then conducts a separate huddle with their team (the team they lead). Keep cascading this down in the organization.
By having a Daily Huddle you will:
- Speed things up in your organization
- Ensure teamwork
- Heal relationships
Try it for 30 days. I’m confident it will become part of your daily practice!
In the fast-paced, ever changing world we live in, many executives, professionals, entrepreneurs and leaders tell me how busy and “maxed-out” they are. With demanding schedules and lengthy “to-do lists”, the question arises, “how do I get it all done”?
The truth is…you don’t because you can’t. Here are some of the causes of poor prioritization:
- Action junkie; always on the move
- Difficulty saying no
- Ego; overestimating capacity
- Perfectionist; need to do everything
- Time management; too busy to set priorities
The higher you go in the organization, the more responsibilities you have with less time to get it done! In order to survive and prosper, you must prioritize what’s important on a daily basis.
Here are 7 things you can do to make it happen:
- Be clear about your goals and objectives. Use a personal or strategic plan.
- List goals in order of priority. Get clarity about what’s mission critical for you.
- Watch for the activity trap. Rather than trying to do all 37 items on your to-do list, focus on one or two that are most important first.
- Don’t play favorites by only focusing on what you like. Use data and intuition, not just feelings.
- Be efficient in how much time you make for others. Get to it and get it done!
- Write it down. Taking time to plan upfront frees up time later. Stephen Covey calls this “sharpening the saw”.
- Don’t procrastinate. Avoidance makes life more complicated – make a decision and move on.
What are you waiting for…get started…NOW!