Three ways to turn your log-jammed meeting into a productive jam session
“Sounds like somebody’s got a case of the Mondays.”
– Temp, Office Space (1999)
Why do you attend your last team meeting? If your answer was “because it’s Monday, and we always start off the week in our team meeting”, I’m going to ask you to stop. Just stop. Remember what Vanilla Ice taught the world in his hit “Ice, Ice Baby”…
rick via Compfight
For the love of all that is productive, I am giving you permission to just STOP. Stop having meetings “because we are supposed to”. Or “because three years ago, someone put a recurring, weekly meeting on my calendar with no end date and I just keep going”. Perhaps you attended it because you “thought I was supposed to have a meeting to ____________ (insert some meaningless “conventional wisdom” here).”
- Have meetings with purpose. Unless that purpose is specifically to brainstorm or be a creative session, the meeting’s purpose should already be known.
- Stop telling people they will find out about what the meeting is about in the meeting. If you don’t issue an agenda to requested participants, along with any necessary documentation to fully understand what you’ll be covering, then do not expect anyone to attend.
- The purpose of your meeting should be to confirm or debate a decision that has already been made. If you shared the details in the step above, the meeting may well be over before it begins…and that is a good thing. Relevant, important debate is given space to occur. Time wasted in meetings where everyone already agrees and understands their role is avoided. Productive activities prevail.
Presuming your meeting actually DID need to occur (e.g. There is need for some debate, challenge or creativity session) it is your responsibility to show up with an open mind.
- Be vulnerable. If you think the concepts discussed (either in your meeting or the pre-info) are headed down the wrong path, speak up. You may be right. Then again, you may be wrong. You will be able, however, to move forward knowing you gave your dissenting opinion some air to breathe.
- Creativity needs space. Often the road to the idea you need goes through a very bad place. Discussions, brainstorming sessions and creative endeavors often find at least a few rabbit trails that take you off course. Go with them. Explore the absurd solutions. You don’t have to DO them, but they just might get you (not surprisingly) to the innovative, new possibilities you seek.
Leadership is never about you. I know…people SAY great leaders do great things- and they often do- however, the best leaders are those who inspire people around them to bring their personal best each and every day.
- Admit your addiction – The first step to recovering is to first admit you have a problem. Get your ego out of the way and focus on building meaningful connection with people around you. Inspire THEM. Leadership is earned through action, not by title.
- Before opening your mouth, ask these three questions:
- Does it need to be said?
- Does it need to be said by me?
- Does it need to be said by me right now?
Sometimes there is great value in simply keeping your mouth shut. Especially if you are (or inspire to become) a leader.
So there you have it. Three simple steps you have heard since middle school. Stop. Collaborate. Listen.
“Light up the stage and wax a chump like a candle…Dance!”
– Vanilla Ice, “Ice, Ice Baby”
Great insights Scott!