GCE Strategic Consulting

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The blog that shares our expertise and perspective for driving business transformation, based on the successes and failures we've seen everywhere from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

How To Run Better Meetings

 Welcome back! This is my next article in the “Optimal Organization” series.  Last week we looked at Toxic Employees and how, if you allow them to, they can destroy your company. In this article, I want to talk about running an effective meetings.I have to tell you if I have sat in one meeting, I have sat in a thousand. They generally fall into four categories:

  • What A Waste Of Time!
  • Why Are We Here?!
  • Frequent Flyers
  • Just Right

Let’s go through them in a little more detailWhat a Waste of Time meetings“What A Waste Of Time” meetings are just that: a waste of time. This is when everyone gathers to talk. After the meeting, some walk out and are desperate to get their life back. Others who fell asleep are just disappointed they have to wake up now that the meeting is over. This is also where the person who called the meeting is typically pleased with themselves and sees no reason not to schedule another meeting, often about the meeting that was just held. “Why Are We Here” meetings“Why Are We Here” meetings can start either on the phone, in person, or on video conference.  Typically this is a smaller group that gets together because they believe they should and then everyone looks around and asks, “Why did we say we needed to meet again?”Frequent-flyer meetingsYou know the kind - when everyone in the room says to themselves (or at least under their breathe) “At least I am getting my miles for gold status next year.” This takes place when everyone attends, nothing really happens, yet they continue to meet over and over again.  They have lots of meetings and you might begin to wonder if somehow they are paid for, just that: meeting, regardless of whether there was any purpose or meaningful outcome.Depressing, isn’t it? I don’t know about you but I hate wasting time. Time is one thing that you can’t get back.  If you find yourself attending one of these first three types of meetings frequently then STOP.  There is another way. The Just Right meetings.Just Right meetingsNow once you have stopped having these 3 horrible meeting types, how do you get to having meetings that are just right?  First, be prepared well in advance of scheduling any meeting and challenge yourself to ask the tough questions, especially if you want more time back and/or aren’t getting value out of your meetings.  As most of my followers know by now I really love the Harvard Business Review.  They offer a lot of great tools and insights into both basic and complex issues businesses face today.  This one here really hits the point I am making as our tendency is always, “Let’s have a meeting.”  Here is their recommended workflow. If you follow it and stick to it, you will find that you will not only have more time, you will also get more done.  We still need meetings - super productive meetingsNone of this is to say that we don’t need meetings. We absolutely do, so let’s make them super productive.  There are a lot of tools, thoughts and ideas out there but honestly I recommend keeping it simple.  One of the simplest frameworks to follow that gets the job done is the “Off-Line Meeting Track” from EOS® (Entrepreneurial Operating System.)Off-Line Meeting Track (from EOS®)Step 1: What is the objective? Whoever is asking for the meeting needs to establish the meeting objective.  Step 2: What is the agenda?  List out the exact agenda of items to be covered in the meeting so that there are no surprises.Step 3: What, if any, prep work needs to be done in advance of the meeting?For example, “Complete your sales forecast and revenue projections for Q4. Bring 8 copies for all meeting attendees.”Step 4: Send out the agenda and prep material. Well in advance of meeting, send out the agenda, objective and any prep material. Unless there is an emergency, plan this out in advance so that everyone is prepared and you can drive results.Step 5: Kick off the meeting. State the meeting objective and agenda - and then stick with it.Take the first steps in getting some of your life back and begin to follow this effective process. You will find you and your teams will be exponentially more productive.  If you need any help or need suggestions on how to drive better results, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@gcestrategicconsulting.com.