In fact what I’m finding in many companies is the frequency of face-to-face or virtual meetings is even more abundant – and unfortunately less effective with the worst of those meetings creating nothing more than opportunities to catch up on e-mail (under the table with a handheld device) or become hypnotized by an endless stream of PowerPoint slides and charts. Despite the expert advice on how to build an effective meeting agenda, I’m finding that company meetings generally reflect the overall culture and how the work actually gets done. remote team meeting
Meetings and Culture
Where there are problems with role and responsibility definitions, unclear decision-making authority, broken processes and lack of accountability – the number of meetings usually escalates. Instead of tackling the real problems, more meetings are held to create a temporary fix. These are the companies where meetings are often (and frantically) called at the last-minute, with lots of attendees who are already behind on accomplishing their daily work, and knowing that they will probably be assigned yet another missed item or “911 task” resulting from a poorly planned project or undefined responsibilities. Or worse yet, attendees are blamed or singled out for poor performance in a public setting.
Clearly the solution for these companies is not simply a more effective meeting agenda, but to identify and solve the underlying issues.Regardless of culture, meetings are an important aspect of work life and can be highly effective. So, try running through the following points the next time you need to hold a meeting:Resist the assumption that a meeting is the only choice to address the issue or topic. Ask yourself if having a group discussion is the best option to solve a problem, inform people or create a quality result.Build the agenda with the purpose and expected outcomes.Be careful of overloading it with too many topics or trying to blend both strategic and tactical discussions. Too many topics may not allow enough discussion time, and blending strategic and tactical discussions may cause difficulty in shifting from one type of thinking to the other. When possible, send the agenda out ahead of the meeting so people can come prepared.