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.