Enough with the complaining about meetings. Yes, I know many of them are boring and waste your time. As a meeting guy, I hear it over and over and over…
So what are you willing to do about it? You can be a better meeting leader and participant. That will help any meeting you happen to be in, but what about all the other meetings?
The real challenge is changing your organization’s meeting culture. Any successful change effort requires a leader. In this case, it will take a meeting hero.
Any reason that meeting hero shouldn’t be you?
As you ponder the possibility of stepping forward, let me define the challenge as eight goals.
- Every meeting has a clear and useful purpose.
- If the purpose can be achieved in a less-expensive way, other than having the meeting, the other method will be used.
- Meetings start on time and don’t last a minute more than necessary.
- Meetings don’t include a single person more than necessary.
- Meetings achieve their purpose.
- Decisions and plans are converted into meaningful action.
- Troublemakers are quickly and effectively dealt with.
- Participants feel energized and happy to have been part of it.
Those goals aren’t going to be easy to achieve. You’ll need to be strategic. Here are three strategies you might consider.
1. Make senior leaders your role models
These folks call and lead a lot of meetings. People take their lead from them. They ought to show others how it’s done. That means you help senior leaders see the issue, provide them with skills they need to be effective facilitators, and then ask them to promote and reinforce better meeting practices throughout the organization.
2. Establish organization-wide expectations
Your coworkers need to know it’s not okay to call a meeting just because it’s Tuesday morning. They need to know meetings are expensive and consume time that could be better spent on other work. Start with the goals list I suggested above as a framework for setting expectations. Put the list in your own words, and then communicate it in multiple ways with lots of repetition.
3. Recruit and train more meeting heroes
While the senior leaders can get things rolling, you’re going to need help in the trenches. You need people on the front lines who lead or attend a lot of meetings. They can spread the word and lead the effort to make meetings better. Find five to help you. Once they are up and running, ask each of them to find five more. One more iteration, and you’ll have plenty of people on board to create the change.
Give It Time
Your meeting culture won’t change overnight. It will take clear goals, solid strategies, and most importantly, someone to lead the charge.
If you’re willing to take up the challenge and become your organization’s meeting hero, I wish you godspeed. You are about to make an important difference.