Why Meetings Don’t Work

In Patrick Lencioni’s book, “Death by Meeting” (Jossey-Bass ©2004) he explains that meetings don’t work for 2 basic reasons:

#1)  Meetings are boring because they lack drama

#2)  Meetings are ineffective because they lack contextual structure

He’s right!  In my experience, these 2 things keep meetings from working.

Here are some tips to help you address these things:

– Be sure you know WHY you’re having a meeting?  What’s your purpose? What’s the goal?  Don’t just have a meeting because you think you need to.

– Have an agenda for your meeting.  Create a plan, time the agenda items out, limit the conversation to get through the agenda, spend time talking about the things that are really important.

– Don’t spend time talking about things or reading through reports that can be done outside the meeting.  Challenge people to read the reports and come to the meeting ready to discuss it.

– “Drama” that Lencioni talks about is really “conflict“.  Conflict adds a lot to a meeting.  Conflict allows people to share their opinion, it allows people to be heard, it allows people to disagree, it allows people to listen to other opinions.  If you’re leading the meeting, don’t be afraid of conflict.  Again, if there’s a purpose for the meeting, allow people to engage!

– If you can accomplish what you need to without a meeting, don’t hold it.  It’s a waste of time and your team will feel that way.

– Create different kinds of meetings to accomplish different things.  Example:  If you want to build your team relationships, focus on that.  Don’t add that to the end of a full agenda.   If you have a crisis, respond to the crisis in a special meeting.  Don’t try to do everything.

– Realize that everyone engages differently.  Don’t assume that because you like meetings that others will.  Don’t assume that because you want people to share in a group that everyone will.  Learn how your team members think and create the right opportunities for them to participate.

– Value time.  Don’t show up late if you expect your team members to be there on time.  Don’t allow distractions to stop the meeting.  Make the meeting important!




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