Better Work Meetings Matter
Most leaders, managers, and organizations need to design better work meetings. Meeting Planning and Facilitation Training experts know that the ability to conduct effective meetings is a fundamental skill gap of not only new managers, but leaders and employees as whole.
Bad meetings have a direct impact on employee performance and engagement. Bain reports that:
- Organizations spend more than 15% of time in meetings
- Middle managers spend at least 35% in meetings
- Senior managers spend more than 50% of their time in meetings
Yet 80% of executives are dissatisfied with meeting efficiency and effectiveness and believe that nearly 70% of meetings are unproductive. If they are even half correct, what a waste of time. That is, unless you can design better work meetings.
How To Design Better Work Meetings
To design better work meetings, start by creating the right context and approach for what you are trying to accomplish. Then follow all the good tactical advice related to meeting agendas, preparation, structure, and follow through.
- Create the Context
Overall context matters. Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing teams. If you want to design better work meetings, start by creating team clarity by defining the fundamental work of the team in terms of goals and accountabilities, roles, success metrics, scope, and interdependencies.Clarity helps create the context required for when to meet, what to discuss, who to include, and how to make effective decisions. Too many meetings go awry because meeting participants have different assumptions, agendas, and goals.
- Treat Different Meetings Differently
Other than managing a crisis, there are major types of organizational meeting contexts related to running the business, changing the business, and designing the business. Each has different goals and varies in length and frequency and should be treated accordingly. Do you treat different meetings differently?
Running-the-Business Meetings are used to keep everyone and everything on track. They typically occur weekly and focus on reporting current status, sharing immediate issues, and agreeing upon next steps.These meeting should be frequent, short, and efficient. Stay on topic and leave enough time at the end to codify action items.
Change-the-Business Meetings are intended to make the organization stronger by shifting mindsets, practices, and behaviors. These meetings are typically part of key growth or change initiatives and often involve cross-functional stakeholders across all levels of the organization.
These meetings occur on an as-needed basis and need clear agendas, strong facilitation, the right attendance, and observed ground rules.
Strategic-Business Meetings are intended to create shared visions and concrete plans to rally the troops from where you are to where you want to go. These high stakes meetings need expert strategy retreat facilitation, require heavy upfront design, and typically occur quarterly, biannually, or once per year.
The Bottom Line
You get the idea. Context and the reason for a meeting should drive your approach. Employees don’t necessarily hate meetings; they just hate wasting time. When you can align the right kind of meeting with what you are trying to accomplish, meetings should save time and create connections.
To learn more about how to design better meetings, download Should You Facilitate Your Own Strategy Retreat?