Sunday, December 22, 2013

Management Memes: How to Run a Successful Meeting, Part One of Two: Setting the Stage for Success

This tip is for anyone that is tired of meetings wasting your time.  

HOW TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL MEETING, Part One of Two

I read a book once on running meetings that was pretty dull, like most management books, but it had one thing that was completely worthwhile and I'm going to share it here: 

Meetings should
NOT feel like this
Face the problems; not each other. 

Really. It's that simple. Over the years, I've adopted and adapted other strategies, and I'll cover them here, but that's the best place to start.

You must de-personalize the issues so you're not hung up on your problems or your solutions. Only then can you find the real answer. Believe it or not, a team can do a pretty good job of figuring it out on their own. You just have to enable them.

Here's the gist:

  • Get people to sit facing a whiteboard.
  • Agree to a time limit with a one hour maximum
  • Agree on the GOAL of the meeting
  • .
  • Write the agenda with the help of everyone involved
  • More like this
  • Do the meeting (this is for Part Two)

FACE A WHITEBOARD
The biggest problem you may have is the people in your group, and they are also your biggest solution. You just have to help them navigate to those solutions. 

Get your team to sit at a table (or arrange the chairs in a semi-circle) facing a whiteboard. You're going to put the meeting goal, agenda, and issues that need to be solved on the whiteboard. 

The discussion changes from "us vs. us" to "idea vs. idea." 



One hour limit
ONE HOUR MAXIMUM
Let's get real. An hour of full attention is all you can expect from a groupIf you're aiming for more, why are you making that mistake? It's not going to work. Just get over yourself. 

Set a reasonable time boundary for the meeting. Reaffirm that boundary in the meeting and keep track of it as the meeting progresses.

When a meeting runs over the time boundary, just schedule another, even if it's just after taking a break.  

AGREE ON THE GOAL
Meetings start with their end goals in mind. 

I have been very successful by writing what I *thought* the meeting goal is on the whiteboard first and then asking everyone if that is, indeed, the correct goal for the meeting. 

Oddly enough, it turns out that no matter what I think the goal ought to be, we almost always wind up re-writing that goal. And every time we re-write it... it makes the meeting that much better and gets a better result. 
Can you make a checklist
for a goal or agenda
item? If not, try again.

Lighten up and listen to your team; it's really not all about you

WRITE THE AGENDA
After you get the GROUP to decide on what the goal is, it's time to write up the agenda. They know what they need to get out of the meeting. 

Ensure that these agenda items can create an "actionable" result. 

.
Get participants involved in writing the agenda. Make sure that everyone knows that all agenda items must be measurable and concrete. 


PART TWO: COACHING THE MEETING
.

Please let me know what I got right and wrong in the comments section; that's how I'll learn!!


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What do I know?

Feel free to look me up here.

meme mēm noun: an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, esp. imitation.

As a manager (and reader of a bunch of stuff) for the past 20 years, I have had requests for management tips. Some things work; some don't. Some are magical wins. Some are spectacular failures. Your mileage may vary. Whatever the case, these techniques have worked magic for me, time and time again.


1 comment:

  1. As a manager (and reader of a bunch of stuff) for the past 20 years, I have had requests for management tips. Some things work; some don't. Some are magical wins. Some are spectacular failures. Your mileage may vary. Whatever the case, these techniques have worked magic for me, time and time again.
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