Best Practices

Clear expectations and consistent application are key to worthwhile meetings:

“Lean goal of reducing wasted time to as close to zero as practical”

  • A clear agenda (published in advance), preparation by attendees for meeting, and any required deliverables required
    • Test: does this topic, subject, or issue need to be on the agenda or is it better served with another process?
    • Agreed upon outcomes; summarize at meeting end
  • Ensure ALL required people are attending; avoid missing stakeholders raising their hand later to delay a project because they “were  not included”.
    • Ask for confirmation in advance; meeting tools, outlook, etc.
  • Expectations: Confirm (other) constraints, and why they are constraints
    • No cell phone use during meeting (except where personal responsibilities may require)
    • 90 minute limit (2 hour maximum)
  • Ask about accommodations that are important or valuable to the group or individuals
  • Explain context fit into longer cycle context, strategy, and next steps
  • Prepare the environment carefully (room, test audio/video, stationary supplies, refreshments, etc.)
  • Set the tone-“Leadership is a Performance“, Carly Fiorina
  • Use of a flipchart(s) as a common reference for where the group is in the process, key issues, and ideas. Use breaks to overcome obstacles or issues that are not responding to efforts to resolve
    • Capture what participants say on the flipchart, don’t rephrase.
    • Recognize and harmonize comments, options, ideas, contributions
    • Ask if there is disagreement?
    • Rotate the role of capturing ideas on the flipchart, give members the opportunity to be both a participant and a facilitator.
  • Written Agreements: Facilitate team discussion to develop a written set-of-rules for meetings that are held on a regular basis to ensure clarity and team engagement, e.g. Daily Stand Up (start time, end time, no critique of ideas, etc.).
    • Repeatable meeting excellence
    • Display in meeting room table on standup Lucite display
  • A short retrospective at the end to consider what can be done better during the next meeting; plan this for the last 5 minutes, capture group feedback on a flipchart, and present at the start of the next meeting (what went well, what may have impacted the meeting).
  • Ensure that at the end of the meeting:
    • All stakeholders have voiced their views on decisions made in the meeting, and establish a rule for what silence means or rule for hard confirmation by each individual.
    • The decisions are documented, and sent-out after the meeting
    • All attendees are documented

Meetings create value, the richness is fleeting; capture quickly, not just facilitator duty or role, best if everyone reflects with just a few sentences today and tomorrow. A team scribe concept-can’t read minds, can’t capture everything, and deeper insights often emerge in our minds after the brain digests the experience and information.