Three Steps to quicker and more effective meetings.
by Todd Mitchem
1. Disrupt Preparation - "Preparation and setting expectations"
If you are the meeting creator: make sure that you send out a short summary about what the meeting is about, what ideas need solutions, and ask the employees to think about different solutions to solve these problem(s). As a leader, set the expectation for the team, so that they arrive with at least three ideas to contribute.
If you are the employee that is attending the meeting: make sure that you are clear about the meeting objectives and that you are asking for clarity of goals prior to gathering. Then, work to research some ideas or current trends in your industry that had similar problems and their solutions. In short, get ready for the meeting and be ready to put your thinking cap on.
2. Disrupt Collaboration: "Promoting collaboration and respect"
I you are the meeting creator: Set expectations early for collaboration and create a safe environment for people to share their ideas. Remember, no idea is “stupid” or “useless.” Some of the best ideas started as silly then someone, a disruptor took the idea and made it into something better. This is a creative process in problem solving. If you can clearly define the parameters of the problem that needs to be solved, everyone will have a clearer idea what the solution should be.
If you are the employee attending the meeting: make it your goal to speak up and bring at least three ideas for every issue discussed at the meeting. To be a positive disruptor, you will need to push past your fear of speaking up by doing the work in advance to prep answers. Sometimes the simple ideas are the ones that solve the biggest problems so go into the meeting with an open mind and respect for everyone's ideas.
3. Disrupt Timing: "Value everyone's time"
If you are the meeting creator: Remember that a successful meeting is not gauged on the timing but rather on the result. To be most effective with the timing, make sure that you pick the time of the day that the department is at it's slowest, mid-week after people get to catch up with their work, and make it short. To make this step work you have to use step 1 and 2. Making meetings short and by preparing everyone and setting expectations as outlined above, will save everyone a lot of time. You want your meeting to say "let's figure this out with urgency", and that is only achieved when you do the upfront expectation planning and you work to solve key issues. As outlined above, ask everyone to bring solutions that can be applied at the meeting, not send them back to work after a meeting with "homework" to think up a solution.
If you are the employee attending the meeting: Arrive to the meeting with a purpose to solve the challenge and not to simply banter or “be heard”. Treat these meetings as ultra-fast think-tanks. So, in short bring ideas, discuss, and find a solution for every meeting.