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Leadership Gems


Organizational Health is Rooted in Your Meetings

Meetings should be the place where your leadership team accomplishes work. The trouble is, many meetings are unproductive, uninspiring and lacking in healthy debate. Remote meetings pose extra challenges—it’s even harder to keep engagement high and manage additional distractions.

For groups who experience meetings filled with energy, engagement, productivity, clarity and action, meetings are often the best part of the work week. On the other hand, unhealthy teams who hold meetings characterized by low engagement, boredom, poor time management, confusion, and overly lengthy conversation tend to lack unified action and dread meeting together.

The stakes are high when it comes to your meetings—ineffective meetings simply cost too much.

Consider these current meeting statistics:

  • 25 million meetings are held each day

  • $37 billion/year is lost in unproductive meetings

  • 4 hours/week is spent prepping status updates

  • Senior leaders spend more than 50% of their time in meetings

If you’re wondering where to start on the path toward organizational health, look no further than your leadership team meetings. Cohesion, clarity and transparent communication begin at the top of a healthy organization.

As we work with client teams on restructuring their meetings, here are our some of our key focus areas:

  • Agenda strategies

  • Clarity around priorities

  • Encouraging healthy conflict

  • Driving for decisions

  • Getting buy-in (not consensus) from everyone

Each of these key principles contributes to a great return on investment. However, the responsibility for holding excellent meetings certainly doesn’t just rest on the shoulders of leadership. Every team member has a responsibility to show up well!

During their consulting experience, our client teams create their own rule of engagement to establish their unique standard of organizational expectations. This guideline presents team members with opportunities to hold each other accountable to healthy behaviors, many of which are evidenced during meetings.

This team rule also gives clearance for calling out unproductive meeting behaviors and often addresses the issues of preparedness and follow-up. The rule of engagement is a collective understanding that establishes the foundation for strong leadership presence and involvement.

Here is a sample rule of engagement upheld by one of our client teams:

“Being humble, prepared and committed to finding the best possible solutions, we choose to hold each other accountable, have 100% “say/do ratios”, ensure our word is our bond, and excel at effective communication.”

– H&H Automotive Team One Rule of Engagement

Another important practice in overhauling your meetings is to strategically plan 5-10 minutes at a meeting conclusion to ensure clarity by answering four very simple questions:

  1. What was discussed?

  2. What was decided?

  3. What will we communicate?

  4. What will we not say?

When it comes to meetings, teams often identify problems resulting from an absence of intentionality. Be strategic, both with behavioral and technical focuses in meetings, and the health of your organization will be reflected in your results.

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