Very few people like meetings but I think that has much more to do with how meetings are conducted than a dislike for the process of catching up on the business and progress. Meetings also tend to be used for negative or disciplinary purposes. I for one dislike top-down style meetings where the boss or leader takes an opportunity to talk down to subordinates about whatever they feel they want to focus on that day. So how can we make meetings better? Let’s look at the things you need to introduce or address in meetings.
This tip applies to weekly operations meeting more than others. When we have a meeting one of the most important things is to catch up with progress. In most organisations, you will have splintered departments working on a job, batch or project basis to achieve an objective. Each department or person present in a meeting should present on predetermined key metrics or statistics for their department. This firstly gives everyone something to do in the meeting and a reason to prepare for the meeting. It also builds in progress reports on issues that other departments may be waiting for.
Problem plus proposed solution
It is conceivable if not inevitable that meetings will unearth problems or be used as a platform to express the problems that people are experiencing. This is the normal course of a functioning business and should be embraced rather than stifled. However, what we need to be aware of is how the platform is used when it comes to problems. Firstly problems should be brought up with possible solutions. You will see the value of this most when you have different departments that can weigh in on proposed solutions. Secondly remember the meeting is not the place to solve the problems but to make everybody aware of them and the proposed solutions.
It’s easy for team members to get disillusioned about what’s going on in the business. For example, a marketing team for an event organiser may have little involvement with the events their marketing attracts people to. Using a weekly calendar method helps to keep people like the aforementioned connected with the business. If you have weekly meetings you can use the calendar to announce things coming up in the week or the next week. You can also use this to keep everyone abreast with things that are important to know from a team perspective such as birthdays, absences and other developments.
In addition to discussing their metrics or numbers, departments or participants should also share their wins in the previous period under review. So if you have a weekly operations meeting you will share the wins your department has recorded in the week gone by. This again helps somewhat disconnected departments understand how their work impacts other parts of the organisation and the overall business. It helps boost team morale and keep the members of departments energised.
Finally, you must leave a meeting with action points. Each member or department must leave the meeting with clarity on what is required of them and what they are expected to produce, create or report on in the following days or weeks depending on your set-up. The leader must be clear on what to expect from each department and each department must also be clear on what is expected from them and what they should expect from other departments concerning their work. If there is a problem and alternative solutions have been proposed, getting clear on those solutions and what they mean for other departments should be included here.
See meetings aren’t all bad, it’s just the approach to them that drastically needs to be changed.