Meeting Commandments

Meetings have become one of the business world’s most universal rituals.

It’s reported that U.S. businesses hold 15 million meetings per day and 4 billion meetings per year.  Business managers spend as much as 80% of their time in meetings and sadly meetings are responsible for $37 billion in productivity losses every year.  Bad meetings can only ruin your day and they can create bad companies.

As a facilitator I suggest you incorporate the following ‘Meeting Commandments’  the next time you run a meeting.

  1. Thou shalt understand the rules of engagement
    1. Clear expectations about what role people will play and how others should act help to design successful meeting.  Before you start a meeting discuss the rules of engagement including; starting on time, dealing with distractions (i.e. doing emails during the meeting), allowing one person to speak at a time and managing sidebar conversations.
  2. Thou shalt have an agenda with timed agenda items
    1. Each person should have a clear understanding of the meeting purpose, outcome and items to be covered during the meeting.  This helps people be more prepared to participate.  Adding start times to each agenda item helps keep the conversations focused and the meeting moving forward.  It also ensures that you have not included more agenda items than can be covered in the time allotted.
  3. Thou shalt remember – physical presence does not guarantee mental presence
    1. Just because a person walks into a meeting room, does not mean that their mind is at the meeting.  It is key to involve the whole person in your meeting by letting people express their thoughts before you get down to business.  This allows people to clear their mind and focus on your meeting.  During the meeting it is worth checking both a person’s head and heart for opinions on the issues.
  4. Thou shalt evaluate your meeting
    1. People leave meetings with different views of what happened and what are the next steps.  10 minutes before the end of the meeting review the decisions made during the meeting and convert those decisions into action items (including who is responsible for the task and what date the task will be completed by).  In a effort to improve the quality of your meeting ask the group, “What went well?” and “What can we improve upon for next time?” then hold people accountable for improving the situation.

Eileen Dowse Ph.D.   Organizational Psychologist and Certified Master Facilitator and a faculty member of Consult P3 University

BOOK- The Strengths Finder 2.0 – Tom Rath

In 1998, Tom Rath began working with a team of Gallup scientists led by the late Father of Strengths Psychology, Donald Clifton.  Their goal was to start a global conversation about what’s right with people.  There finding were the basis of the 2001 management book Now, Discover Your Strengths.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is the new and improved version and you can read it in one sitting.  It begs the question, “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I d best every day.” People who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.

If your manager primarily ignores you- you have a 40% chance of being actively disengaged

If your manager focuses on your weaknesses – you have a 22% chance of being actively disengaged.

If your manage focuses on your strength –you have a 1% chance of being actively disengaged.

The book included your unique access code to the strengthsfinder 2.0 assessments and website and is valid for only one user.  Once taking the test you will find your strengths and learn how to best put your ideas into action; Work with others with the same strengths; and gives you a FULL overview of your advantages and creates a common language or classification of talent.

The message is clear – “You can be anything you want to be, if you just try hard enough.”  is a misguided maxim! You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.

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