Great Leaders Structure Meetings That Help Them Achieve Their Goals
If you are like me you’ve attended meetings and asked yourself why you went. The meeting didn’t seem to go anywhere, and there were no action items to further the mission. Other meetings could have been handled by a quick email. Many unstructured meetings have felt like a total waste of time. Sound familiar?
As a leader of a company or a leader of a department, you may have inherited a meeting structure. For whatever reason the structure doesn’t fit with the goals that you are invested in achieving. In any event, as a leader you are responsible for the meeting culture. You may have to abandon a meeting structure that doesn’t work for you. Create a meeting structure that will help you move towards your goals and that you look forward to attending.
Ideas to Get You Started in having Your Next Successful Meeting
1. Determine the Appropriate Stakeholders that Need to be in the Meeting
Structure your meetings around having attendees present that have multiple accountabilities. Having team members that have firsthand knowledge of their departments will set-up the meeting for success in striving towards goal achievement.
This may have to be accomplished in a couple different stakeholder meetings. For example. You might consider having a management meeting where the management team makes decisions from a leadership meeting where department leaders have met. As an organizational leader you will probably want to participate in both.
2. Set the Tone of the Meeting with an Inspirational Story
As a visionary leader you’ve done an excellent job in communicating with staff and clarifying or defining successful behaviors that create magical team performance. Being mindful of what went right, enables the team to build on the momentum and to repeat successful customer interactions. Have a team member share a story of a recent customer service that went well. Great customer experiences will inspire and motivate your team.
3. Meeting Format Ideas
If there is a sensitive issue that will be discussed in the meeting let the attendees know about the topic ahead of time. In doing so you will be in alignment with the culture of trust.
Consider the following questions:
What is the problem your team has come together to solve? What is the task your team has come together to accomplish? What is the opportunity your team has come together to leverage? What drives the team members energy? What’s the thing that everything should be organized to achieve the business objective?
4. Leader Promotes Debate
Using the ideas from above, have the mindset that the meeting should be a learning experience. Shared- learning, will invariably promote different thoughts. As a leader, it is your job to promote debate of the ideas expressed in the meeting. Let the participants express themselves. People don’t concede until they have been heard. It is also important to say that debating a topic doesn’t mean that personal attacks are acceptable. Some stakeholders will need to be moderated. Others will need some prompting to express their insights. For those types of soft-spoken individuals, ask questions about their ideas. The leader should make sure that everyone is heard.
“Make the meeting fluid and don’t get stuck in strictly adhering to an agenda that might not accomplish the meeting goals. A successful meeting can be measured by knowing what to do next with the topics that were discussed.”
Having regularly scheduled meetings will help to further a culture of trust. The team will feel more comfortable when having a debate on a topic when they can relate to other team members and leadership. Have regular scheduled meetings with people that have multiple accountabilities, otherwise send out an email. Lastly, the meeting should be moving the initiatives forward in achieving the goals of the leader. The leader in this case can be the organization or the leader of a department. Lastly, the leader should structure the meeting, so they are looking forward to it.
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