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Effective Meeting Execution

President's Message - All-Company Staff Meetings... Have They Lost Their Relevance?

Have any of you read Patrick Lecioni's book "Death By Meeting"? In it, the author focuses on a "cure" for the most painful yet underestimated problem of modern business; namely, bad meetings. Important factoid: It is not so much about the meeting itself; rather, it is more about your company’s culture and management philosophy.

All of us have a different approach and/or philosophy to conducting meetings within our organizations. Here are my Top 10 "lessons learned" for making meetings more interesting, dynamic, and efficient as we enter into the New Year.

#1 Hold all-staff meetings no more frequently than once a quarter, unless there are extenuating circumstances; and make them meaningful and substantive. Sub-group meetings are encouraged between events.

#2 Assign an individual, randomly selected from your various departments, to be a leader for that meeting-- a great training tool to identify new and emerging talent.

#3 Jazz the meetings up with some form of theme linked into the season or an upcoming event (that is to say, Mardi Gras, Super Bowl, and everything in-between).

#4 All topics on the agenda must align with the company's Business Plan. It keeps discussions laser-focused—have your firms Vision/Mission/Values statement on top of each agenda to keep you on track.

#5 Updates on New Business Development activities should be regular agenda items to reinforce corporate growth objectives. Not the details; just the highlights.

#6 A report from the CEO focusing on “the future" should be a standard staple of each meeting-- but keep them brief.

#7 Celebrate successes that have occurred over the last few months on service delivery initiatives as well as recognition of years of service of associates and first-timers since our last meeting.

#8 Be honest and above board with the "whats" and the "whys" on changes that have occurred since last meeting... good and bad. It is all about transparency. We have a very bright and knowledgeable workforce. Any attempt to not be totally frank will impact your credibility.

#9 All meetings must be fun and interactive-- allow the leader to be creative and imaginative.

#10 End each meeting by asking everyone to answer one question: What did you initiate over the last three months that has been innovative to the client?

Another interesting concept we at Fernley & Fernley launched in 2009 was the creation of a “Fireside Chat”. It is held every few months and gives me an opportunity to speak with our associates on a more informal basis. No structured agenda... just an opportunity for me to casually share with the firm thoughts and observations on the company and trends in the industry with ample opportunity for others to share their thoughts, as well. Yes, the first few can be a bit stilted; however, once fully understood by all, it has evolved into a wonderful opportunity to further improve communications. And, most of all, it will make meetings more productive and, yes, more relevant.

Meetings... you can't live with them and you can't live without them. Find ways to be creative, stimulate excitement, and bring new life into your meetings in 2010; and start today.