I hear with alarming frequency from employees who report that when they suggest ways to improve their organization´s meeting culture, they encounter resistance from managers who do not believe in meeting preparation or in keeping track of what has been decided in meetings.
The questions in the headlines in bold capture my emotional response to those reports. My more rational —though still strongly-worded— response follows in plain text.
In other words, these managers think that is it acceptable to waste the company´s financial and human resources in meetings that produce no documented results.
And these people get promoted???
Here are the absolute minimum requirements for holding a meeting:
- A clear purpose for bringing people together.
- A written summary of the outcome of the discussion, including next steps.
Taking the time to think through the “who? what? and why?” of a meeting before calling people together is not optional; it is a requirement for intelligent leadership.
Documenting meeting results, including timelines and commitments for next steps, is not a personal choice; it is a managerial responsibility.
Why is running an effective meeting not a basic leadership skill?
Bad meeting habits like the ones described should not be tolerated; they should be transformed. The cost of meetings that have no clear purpose and no documented results should not be ignored; they should be quantified. Executives and managers should not be left on their own to decide how to run meetings; they should be trained and coached to bring out their team´s best work in meetings.
Your next steps
If you are an employee who suffers from “bad meeting syndrome,” download this free resource: From Tedious to Terrific: How to convince the boss that your meetings need to be more focused and productive NOW. http://english.iifac.org/tedious-to-terrific
If you are a boss curious about how to correct common meeting mistakes, download this free resource: Guide to excellent meetings at work. Five common meeting mistakes and how to correct them. http://english.iifac.org/guide-to-excellent-meetings