Thursday, October 20th, 2016
Although it is not clearly stated, the purpose of most meetings is to share information, primarily with the team leader. Here’s what usually happens: one at a time each person reports what is happening in his or her area. The team leader asks some questions, but there is little real discussion among the team.
You don’t need a team meeting to share information. Do you need to coordinate work? Instead of holding a meeting, consider some of the many excellent project management tools (JIRA, asana, trello,… ). Holding a meeting to keep people informed is not a good reason to meet.
Do you want to keep track of how your team is doing? Use a tool like idazki, and consider holding daily meetings with your team and individual one-on-one meetings with your direct reports, which allow you to really connect with and support them.
Stop holding meetings that put people to sleep and hold meetings that matter.
Meetings that matter focus on conversation. If the flow of energy is only going in one direction – either toward one person who is doing all the talking or toward one person who is the only one listening – you are not having a conversation.
Things that happen at meetings that matter:
- Making joint decisions using everyone’s best thinking.
- Working together on things that cannot be accomplished as well when working separately.
- Utilizing each other’s expertise.
- Creating a common perspective – everyone hears the same thing at the same time, answer questions and create shared meaning.
- Creating a big picture view beyond each person’s individual area of responsibility.
- Creating and maintaining alignment – ensure a shared vision (purpose, values and destination).
- Strengthening relationships and increasing trust.
If none of these things are going to happen at your meeting, cancel it.
Summing-up: When a team is holding a real conversation, everyone is engaged and the energy flows in all directions. The only good reason for a team to meet is to build and tap into collective wisdom.