How to create a team meeting

how to create a team meeting

Why it is so difficult to have effective team meeting with colleagues, co-workers? Some claims, that there are too many meetings, meeting are a waste of time. Others, not enough? Very often co-workers try to avoid them. Poor organization of meetings negatively affects people. Not only at work, but also can bring enormous stress into the private life. Effective meetings not just improve the efficiency of companies. There will be positive impacts on the quality of life of the co-workers.

Patrick Lencioni, in his book Death by Meeting, offers a simple and very powerful management tool. In short, have more meetings, be more focused and add a touch of drama.

What Can We Learn from the Cinema?

What makes movies and TV shows so entertainingly? A large team of hundreds, if not thousands of people, invest a considerable amount of money in squeezing so much in 90 -120 minutes. During one film, and only in an hour and a half, you will watch the hero’s entire life. In meetings, we hardly summarise the results of a week. During the viewing of the film, the viewer does not have the opportunity to advise the actor, discuss with him, or make comments or suggestions.

How a movie, where we have no influence is so much more interesting than a meeting? An interactive and real-time event such as a business meeting should be engaging. The issues raised at the meeting should engage everyone without exception.

Screenwriters clearly understood a long time ago that to get the full attention of spectators, the film needs conflict, human drama. This key factor, conflict, is an important part of an effective meeting.

What’s wrong with our team meeting?

The myth of “too many meetings”

Improving the quality of team meeting is not about shortening the time or generally running them less frequently. On the contrary, we need meetings as often as possible. Effective meetings will help you to save time.

Team Meeting that you do not want

It sounds paradoxical, but the more often focused meetings are held, the more working time is saved. The decisions made during effective meetings speed up the process of completing tasks. This eliminates the need to once again discuss the same problem. In addition, employees’ actions become more rational, eliminating unnecessary waste of time on repetitive discussions.

Lack of drama in team meeting

Most leaders try to smooth out or neutralise drama or healthy conflicts. Participanst do not feal comfortable to talk what they ar really thinking.

Team Meeting: how to read between the lines 🙂

On the contrary, conflicts during meetings fuel the employees’ interest in the company’s activities. If you strive to ensure that all situations are free of conflict, people’s interest in discussing disappears. Avoiding sensitive topics for general discussion turns meetings into boring services. This, as we can see, is a reason for general disappointment. The lack of interactions means the lack of suggestions for resolving problems and disagreements. Further, passivity and disappointment can turn into personal conflicts.

Leaders have to look for and promote healthy conflicts. As a result, interpersonal discomfort and further conflict development will disappear. Along with this, the leader’s favourite team collaboration is to overcome challenges. For more information on this theme, read the post How to build a high-performance team.

One-size-fits-all approach

The second most important problem is the desire of management to lump all pressing problems into one meeting and solve them all at once. Every week or few times a month, the team meet and discuss follow up, projects, strategy, competition, marketing … Each team members waiting for the end, to be able to finally make some serious work. What to do to have effective meetings with your team?

The solution to effective team meeting: 4 meetings

Each team meeting should have its own focus and a dedicated format. Participation in these meetings is mandatory. Let’s review the 4 meetings model that Patrick Lencioni presented in his masterpiece “Death by Meeting”.

The daily check-In

Every morning, the team must gather, offline or online. Within 5-10 minutes, all team members share information on his work plan for the day and potential issues. These are check-ins guide employees on the priorities of their daily activities. This is very similar to the Agile Stand-up meetings.

The weekly tactical team meeting

The teams have to meet weekly or every two weeks, depending on the duration, from 45 to 90 minutes. The purpose is to discuss immediate business issues. The duration of working out weekly tactical questions is from 45 to 90 minutes. Three elements compose the weekly tactical meetings.

The lightning round

Each participant does an express review of their main priorities of the week. It allows the team to identify overlaps, recurring issues and urgent matters.

Progress Review

This review focus on critical, key indicators, no more than five. It can be revenue, expenses, quality of customer service, etc. depending on the company activity. The main target is to develop accountability within the team. Progress review should not take more than 5 minutes, including questions.

Real-time agenda

How  to get effectives meetings
by Patrick Lencioni

The agenda appears only after the lightning rounds and progress reviews. Real-time means that the agenda is not set up in advance. Inevitably, during the two first part, some issues will step out and will require discussions. Two important goals of the weekly tactical are to remove obstacles and to have everyone on the same page.

The main risks in the weekly tactical are:

  • the temptation to form a preliminary real-time agenda.
  • to discuss too many details during the lightning round. As a result, the participants lose interest and main issues may not be discussed.
  • to discuss strategic issues. There is not sufficient time to address them during this 45-90 minutes meeting. Such questions are listed separately for discussion at the monthly strategic meeting.

The monthly strategic team meeting

Most likely, the monthly strategic is the meeting with of the most interesting and exciting topics for discussion. These topics, two, three at most, require serious preparation. The length of discussions on the monthly strategic depends on the nature of the topic. However, it is necessary to set aside two or more hours for each theme. A sufficient amount of time will allow participants to engage in a thoughtful debate. Regularity is an important factor of the effectiveness of monthly strategic meetings.

Ad hoc strategic meetings

Often there are situations when it is necessary to consider a strategic issue without waiting for the monthly strategic. So, it is perfectly acceptable to extend management hours to close a critical issue.

One of the risks of the monthly strategic is to have too many topics on the agenda. Another is to poorly prepare these meeting. Finally, the fear of conflict can undermine the quality of these meetings.

The quarterly off-site review

Effective off-site work is a real opportunity for management to abstract from current, weekly, and even monthly problems. This is a separate area for covering a business as a whole. The quarterly off-site review includes the following areas.

Strategy review

Leaders should review their strategic vision three or four times annually. New industries, competitive threats appear on a regular basis and need particular attention.

Competitive and industry review

Leaders benefit when they abstract from the day to day operations from time to time. This allows a comprehensive and unbiased assessment of the current state of affairs and trends.

Team review

Regular critical reflection on the position of each in the team allows identifying negative behavioural.

Personnel review

Discussion of key employees should take place three or four times a year. Managers can determine who in the team is truly the most effective or mediocre performer.

One of the most common problems is overloading the quarterly off-site meeting. It should not look like an endless PowerPoint presentation. They are usually accompanied by endless informative talks. The quarterly off-site review aims to understand the company status from the inside and the outside.

The next problem is inviting third parties and discussing in their presence current company affairs. It can break the dynamics of the relationships established. The only exception can be an external facilitator. In this case, the leader of the group will be able to support discussions without looking back.

Conclusion

While meetings are a common management tool, not every leader has got clear ideas of when and how to use them. As a result, meetings bring frustration. They create the impression of a waste of time. Therefore, many managers are sceptical about them. Apply Patrick Lencioni recommendations, to finally enjoy effective meetings with your colleagues.

All the described types of meetings will not exceed 15% of the manager’s working time. No executive would deny that spending less than 15% of his time with his team is not worthwhile to get a high-performing team. David Gousset

A bit of humour before leaving. Do you remember your last Zoom or Teams conference call?

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