There’s more to a good meeting than ‘running a good meeting’. Simply preparing an agenda, sending it out in advance and managing other logistics won’t guarantee the aims of the meeting are met. Here are some of the Leadership People’s tips for effective, productive meetings.
One of the biggest complaints we hear from our clients is that they spend too much time in ineffective meetings. This issue has been around for as long as any of us can remember. It’s the hardy perennial of working in organisations, public or private. There are well documented ways of improving the process of running an effective meeting, such as issuing an agenda in advance, ensuring people know the purpose of the meeting, efficient time management and so on. These process changes will certainly improve meetings but, on their own, will not genuinely transform their effectiveness. The real key to transforming meetings is to ensure the behaviour of the attendees is conducive to a successful outcome.
Bad behaviour in meetings is far more common than you might think and, when we say ‘bad behaviour’, we’re not talking about temper tantrums (although we’ve all experienced some of those as well and it’s true they don’t do much for a successful outcome). There are some less obvious behaviours to avoid if you want your people to come out of meetings believing their time has been well spent. Here are our five, top, bad meeting behaviours that you should take immediate steps to eliminate from your organisation:
Not genuinely listening or seeking to understand another’s point of view, as evidenced by a great deal of defensive reasoning and post-event rationalisation. You might be surprised how common this is at senior level.
Not seeing the big picture and staying within the comfort zone of one’s own direct responsibility, which leads to a tactical focus and inter-departmental rivalry at the expense of a strategic organisational perspective.
A lack of mutual confidence and trust that leads to the creative avoidance of articulating and discussing a big taboo, otherwise known as ignoring ‘the elephant in the room’.
Sycophantic deference to the senior person in the room, thus ensuring an unwillingness to push back against his or her pre-conceived ideas and beliefs when appropriate. Many opportunities are lost because people aren’t prepared to speak out.
An over-emphasis on the process of running a meeting, which is an input, rather than focusing on a successful output, such as arriving at a genuinely agreed and shared way forward.
It’s obviously important that the organiser of the meeting does all the appropriate process planning to give it a chance of being successful, but all that effort will come to naught if the attendees don’t leave their functional hats (and egos) at the door and engage honestly and openly in dialogue that will really take the organisation forward.
Get in touch to find out how The Leadership People can help you genuinely transform your meetings through behaviour change.