Tag Archive for: high performance teams

Meetings: The Good, the Bad, and the Awful

People in a Meeting

I have been studying and writing about meetings and other corporate conversations for many years.

My understanding of how meetings work and my “rules” for leading meetings that matter are based on a combination of personal experiences (both good and bad) leading and attending hundreds of meetings, lots of formal research, and many insightful stories I’ve heard from colleagues.

But now I want to refresh my understanding of what is actually going on. The digitally enhanced and richly interconnected world we live in today creates new challenges and new opportunities for designing effective meetings.

While I don’t question for a minute the value of all those personal stories I’ve heard and the wisdom other experts, I want to enhance our collective understanding by compiling and sharing a wider range of stories and of actual data about what meetings are like in 2015 and how effective they actually are. Read more

Who’s on the Invitation List?

Group of Diverse Multiethnic People in a MeetingLast week I commented on the power of being clear about why you are convening a meeting (“What’s This Meeting For, Anyway?”). Now it’s time to think about who should be invited to the meeting how to anticipate the value that each Participant will bring to the conversation, and the challenges they represent.

There are three basic questions to think through about the Participants in any meeting:

  1. Who do you want or need to be in the meeting? Who are the stakeholders who will be affected by the meeting’s outcome? Who has information, insight, or experience that is relevant and might affect the decisions or other meeting outcomes?
  2. Who are the participants as individual human beings? That is, what are their individual values, perspectives, talents, and experiences? What are their personal needs and objectives?
  3. What are the participants’ organizational roles? What are their formal responsibilities? How are they measured and rewarded for their work? What kinds of personal and organizational pressures might they be feeling? I am not suggesting that you need to spend endless hours preparing for every meeting; but I do want you to give these kinds of questions explicit attention as often as you can before you walk into that meeting room and launch the conversation.

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Leading the Living

I’ve been stewing for many years about my personal experiences with Industrial-Age bureaucracies and the way they constrict, and even destroy, human creativity and innovation.

And I know it’s not just me. I’m convinced that the dismal levels of employee engagement (in American organizations at least) that have been reported recently by Gallup (see State of the American Workplace) and widely discussed (“The Costs of Ignoring Employee Engagement,” “Why You Hate Work”) are symptoms of a fundamental misfit between people, work, and current organizational practices.

The latest, and very articulate, commentary on this Very Important Topic appeared last Friday, May 30, in the New York Times (“Why You Hate Work”). If you haven’t seen that article yet, I urge you to go read it and then come back here.

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