Change Your Approach to Bring Value to Your Company Meetings


"They called another meeting again. All hands on deck. I hate to go in. We all know that it is going to be a beat down. I just wish for once that we could have a positive meeting where we are applauded for the good things we get done. All of our meetings are always about what we did not do. The things that we do well are never applauded."

As I heard that statement from a woman I know, I really didn't know what to say to her.

I would love to interview the manager who is the brainchild of this type of meeting she's talking about. A few questions that I would ask them would be

  • What exactly is this meeting about?
  • What are you hoping to accomplish in these sessions?
  • How often do you have these meetings?
  • What is the agenda and theme of them?
  • Do you feel that meetings like these increase or improve performance?

Yes, leadership really DOES matter

Sometimes, I get frustrated when I hear stories like this. Well, let’s be honest -- I ALWAYS get frustrated when I hear stores like this.

Leadership is not some theory for senior level people. Leadership starts at the lowest supervisory level and should be enhanced as the titles move higher. Meetings that can't be avoided should be meaningful, to say the least.

However, if your meetings become branded as all negative,your management style is due for a remodel. If this is not addressed, you will lose what little credibility you have left.

Running effective meetings is a skill that can be extremely valuable. Yes, an effective meeting serves a useful purpose -- you achieve a desired outcome.

For a meeting to meet this outcome, or objective, you have to be clear about what that outcome is. That desired outcome will not come about as a result of negativity.

Too often, people call a meeting to discuss something without really considering what a good outcome would be.

  • Do you want a decision? 
  • Do you want to generate ideas?
  • Are you getting status reports?
  • Are you communicating something?
  • Are you making plans?

There's no value in no value meetings

If you find that you are coming up with negative responses to these questions, it may be time to rethink the structure. A beat down meeting carries NO value whatsoever. It demoralizes your staff, and in the end, you basically shut down ideas, collaborations, and innovation. These are what I brand as a no-value meeting.

So, if there is no value, why have it in the first place?

If the premise of the meeting is all about negativity, ditch the idea. If it is focused on a performance issue, deal with the issue on a case-by-case basis. Avoid a larger meeting by collaborating with that one person and have your discussion off-line.

Remember: If your meetings have been branded as just a beat down session, you are probably not bringing about any change in performance.

Respect the importance of meetings

Here's the bottom line: Meetings are priceless opportunities to connect, communicate, build relationships, and stimulate creative problem-solving. They are also opportunities ripe for overuse and even abuse. Strive to be the leader that respects the power and importance of meetings.

It is your job to use these forums for the right reasons by constructing them to focus on key issues, solicit ideas, and most importantly, respect the time that everyone puts into the sessions.

Remember -- your team members will appreciate your positive approach to meetings more than you may ever know.