Three terrible meetings

For the love of everything, please stop having these three meetings.

They sound like good ideas, but these meetings are straight terrible.

  1. Beginning with the end in mind.

The other day I was in a meeting and the facilitator (and team leader) whispered to me, “I’m really hoping they can get to where I want them.”

I wanted to punch a baby seal.

If you know where we’re going, tell us. Muster up some courage, and lead. If you go first with clarity, I promise there will be another problem to solve. If you say where you’re going, they can still help you figure out how. The idea of weighing in to buy-in doesn’t mean creating an artificial opt-in where you do some jedi mind trick at the end.

If you already know where you want them to go, tell them. Only ask for a brainstorm or discussion if you’re open to someone else’s idea.

2. Fitting it all in.

It sounds like a good idea to fit it all in. After all, we’re busy. But “fit it all in” meetings feel like frank-en-meeting. They are a cobbled up purposeless mess.

These meetings become a cluster of a sprinkle of details, a smattering of discussion, and a bit of decision making thrown in for good measure. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

If it’s not clear what kind of meeting you are having, it’s 100% your fault.

Clarify. Say, “this is a detail meeting” (or discussion, debate, etc). Talk about the most important thing. Send the rest in an email or in another meeting.

3. Filling the time.

For heavens sake, do what you need to do, then let us go. Quit evaluating your meetings by whether you filled the time. I know you scheduled it and it’s a tiny bit embarrassing to be done early.

If you fill the time, we’ll easily forget what was most important.

And if you want to have a great meeting, then do this: Start your meeting by asking “what is the most important thing we decide today?” And then talk about that.

Next week I’ll be back to unpack one foundational reason change fails: the vision is unconvincing. Subscribe today!

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