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The Transformation of Meetings

Leadership meeting

Admit it leaders, sometimes our meetings become routine, mundane, and become more of an energy suck than an effective time for communicating the crucial things in your organization.

Often leadership meetings start with the best intentions, sometimes even good energy and engagement; but over time creativity wanes and the discussions become bland if they happen at all. Agendas become repetitious and valueless as everyone routinely shows up and shoots from the hip with the same predictable dialogue. It’s in this season that leaders begin dodging the meeting by finding more urgent things they “can’t get out of” and the drifting apart of the team begins.

With the speed of change in the world, we can’t afford to waste any chance to communicate. Our strategic plan needs attention, our teams need to hear from us, and we need to be ready for the changes ahead!

When meetings are mundane and leadership teams drift from the commitment, they are often surprised, even angry and accusatory when unexpected challenges rock the industry or when goals aren’t being met.

This needs to change!

Transformation doesn’t start and stop with our products or services; not even with our internal systems. It is in the little details where our habits are formed. And it is through these habits that we set the pattern for our decision-making criteria at every level.

So, think about transforming your leadership meetings in the same way.

Consider, what would our leadership meetings be like if we took 15 minutes at the top of the meeting to go through a round of truth or dare? Yes, that may sound crazy, but think about it.

The team would sit or stand in a circle, let’s say, the person with the next Birthday goes first and the challenges move clockwise. The first person is given the choice between these 2 options:

1. Tell the truth about something you’re scared about in the organization, industry or team. The one challenge that keeps them up at night and why.

  • The key to #1 is to listen! This is not a time for suggestions, minimizing or zoning out. This is an empathy exercise. Team members should actively listen and consider how that person feels, gain a sense of the humanity beyond their role and lastly, consider how their department may be able to help with the problem through cross-functional collaboration.

2. Take on a “dare”, a challenge to be bold in some area of the business: increase employee engagement by 5 points in one category, reduce our operating expenses by 2%, or create an untouchable marketing campaign in Q3.

  • #2 is time for assignment. This could be departmental, organizational or for personal development. This should not be a dare to “stop being so controlling”. Again, the focus needs to be productive and not used as an excuse to off-load in a passive-aggressive way. It should be exciting and deserves some dedicated ideation time from each participant prior to the meeting.

Now you’re thinking about it. How would that go in your team? What things would need to be established to really pull this off? The first thing I think of is trust. How could we be truthful and open about the things we fear in our business if we didn’t trust the others to handle this information respectfully? The other side of the same coin is respect. While I would need to trust you to hear me out, I also need to respect you as I listen to your fears. Respect also being key in the formation of the challenges. Respect for your teammates will influence engaging challenges that spark enthusiasm into the recipient.

Work on these foundational elements of trust and respect so that you can transform the way you meet, the way you communicate and the way you challenge each other in your leadership meetings. Time is limited, make the most of each opportunity to communicate.

-Ryan Ramsdale

Learn more about Strategic Planning with inVision Edge here.

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