Lead with Confidence, Move Your Project Forward, Manage Conflicts
Author and business management guru Patrick Lencioni says that “meetings are usually terrible, but they shouldn’t be”. In this sense, meetings come off as necessary inconveniences, and many authors, business leaders, and management experts seem to agree. Whether you’re running a minor league baseball team or a Forbes 500 company, it’s difficult to chart your way towards success without having to endure a PowerPoint infused huddle every now and then.
Company meetings can be grueling, but they open up various opportunities for enhancing your efficiency as a group. It all boils down to proper planning and preparation when it comes to meetings that have a clear purpose and vision; these, as well as strong leadership.
A few years back, the Harvard Business Review Press published an interesting book that highlights the fine points of organizing effective meetings. The book “20 Minute Manager: Running Meetings”, provides valuable knowledge, strategies, and techniques that help organizations make the most out of their meeting time.
Why Preparation Matters
To me, this book is a breath of fresh air. For too long, businesses have been too absorbed by the idea that meetings are nothing more than just troubleshooting sessions. It’s as if meetings are a way for you to talk about issues without being too concerned with resolving them. Such nonchalance often leads to internal conflicts, miscommunication, and a lack of foresight which can stunt your business’ growth.
If you want your business to push itself forward, securing a healthy environment for collaboration should always be a priority. For this, it’s important that you spend ample time drafting your agendas, preparing informational materials, and facilitating discussions. Before these essential activities, though, you will have to determine if there’s any need for a meeting in the first place.
There are healthy meetings and there are unhealthy meetings. Obviously, you may want to opt for healthy meetings where every minute is dedicated to increasing efficiency. Similarly, you may want to avoid setting up meetings that waste productive time and provide no long-term impact on your business.
According to the book, a meeting is in order if there are any major organizational issues you need to address collectively. You also need to know if there’s enough preparation time for a meeting or that there are issues that have to be resolved through consensus. Otherwise, you are only wasting precious time and resources for discussions that provide inconsequential changes.
Controlling the flow
Aside from preparation, companies will also need to exhibit strong leadership skills to ensure that every meeting starts and ends positively, with each member making a contribution that pushes the business forward. This, without a doubt, remains an issue for business leaders to evolve, considering the fact that organizations are composed of individuals with distinct roles and perspectives.
So, how does one facilitate productive meetings without creating unnecessary rivalries and conflicts that will jeopardize your operation?
It’s only a simple manner of preparing your agenda items in advance. The key here is to list down the things you want to resolve or talk about with your team. It helps to organize your agenda from the easiest to the most complex. You can further water the list down by chopping complex issues into manageable pieces.
Next, you will need to make sure you invite the right people to the meeting. They should include decision-makers, relevant departments, and front-line staff who implement orders from the top-down and make everyone else aware.
During the meeting, involving everybody in the discussion is important. In this way, you can encourage introverted participants to voice out their concerns and prevent dominant opinions.
Lastly, securing proper documentation of your commitments provide a ready point for subsequent business decisions.
Rich in insights
Indeed, business leaders such as myself have been struggling with company meetings for too long. Fortunately, this book provides a great starting point for going beyond simple team huddles. It’s rich in insights and actions that are easy to implement right away.
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