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Working Geniuses in Meetings

Most of us spend a lot of time in meetings with other leaders. In fact, meetings are the most important part of what we do. They’re where we have the important conversations and decide to get work done.

Or are they?

We have each experienced a meeting lacking in productivity. When no decisions are made, team members walk away feeling frustrated at the wasted time.

Make your meetings a good investment of time for everyone!

For leaders who dread meetings, one of my favorite tools to introduce is “The Six Types of Working Genius” model because of its ability to increasing meeting effectiveness. HINT: It’s about best utilizing skillsets and influence in our meetings, rather than specific roles. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, click to read to more about the different ways each person accomplishes work.

As we examine this concept further, it’s important to recognize that we, as leaders, tend to shape meetings according to our areas of unique genius. The process of work has three necessary phases, and defaulting only to your own areas of strength could frustrate your team, initiate confusion and limit team success. It’s important to understand where the team is in the process, what needs to be accomplished and who to bring to the table for any given meeting.

Read on to learn more about applying this model and increasing your team’s productivity at meetings.

The following descriptions are partially excerpted from The Table Group:

Brainstorming Meeting: If the purpose of the meeting is to brainstorm, you’re likely asking questions such as, “What’s happening in the world?” “In our industry and market?” If this is the case, you’ll want to tap into the geniuses of wonder and invention. This meeting is an opportunity to step back, identify what’s going on in the world and how that affects your team, and solve the right problems.

These meetings are more conceptual, at the 30,000-foot view, and are like a ping pong match between wonder and invention. A leader strong in the genius of wonder can lead this meeting.

Solutions-Oriented Meeting: If the purpose of the meeting is to problem-solve specific challenges or how to embrace certain opportunities, this is a solutions-oriented meeting where the team is tackling a significant topic with the goal of focusing only on that topic. The goal is to solve problems, brainstorm and discern around that topic.

For this to be effective, it’s important to tap into the geniuses of invention and discernment, and you might consider asking a discerner to lead this meeting.

Rally and Tactical Meeting: If the purpose of your meeting is rallying people and getting tasks done, you may be asking questions like, “What are our goals?”, “How are we doing against our goals?”, and “What do we need to do to get things done so that next week is better than this week?” To be most successful, these meetings require the galvanizing, enablement, and tenacity geniuses. It is often helpful to have a galvanizer leading this meeting.

Task-Oriented Meeting: This is a checklist-oriented meeting, a daily huddle or stand up, where you’re focused on the immediate tasks to be completed. “What’s everyone working on?” “What will be accomplished today?” People with the tenacity genius love this meeting because it’s all about checking things off the “to do” list. Discerners can be helpful at leading this meeting to ensure the team is still moving in the right direction and to encourage course-correction when needed. After all, it’s not just about getting stuff done; it’s about getting the right things done at the right time.

As you familiarize yourself with the different strengths each member of your team brings to the table, I encourage you to leverage the Working Genius tool in its entirety. Doing so will change your perspective on meetings and leveraging the geniuses within them. You can begin today by reviewing the “Six Types of Working Genius” model, identifying the purpose of an upcoming meeting, choosing the meeting leader and intentionally tapping specific geniuses throughout the discussion.


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