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Death by Meeting

Death by Meeting

by Patrick M. Lencioni

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Meetings: The Necessary Evil

Upward of 30% of our time at work is spent in meetings. That’s a significant chunk of time, but it shouldn’t be too alarming.

After all, meetings are vitally important to the success of any organization. Presidents and their cabinet members decide whether or not to go to war in meetings. CE...

Meetings Are Boring And Ineffective

  • Too many meetings are just plain boring. They’re tedious and uninspired.
  • The leader is too focused on agendas and ending on time to notice a lack of engagement.
  • Most meetings have an aftertaste of being drained.
  • The worst part of participating in a mind numbing meetin...

We can sit at attention silently for hours in a dark theatre, but somehow can’t make it through a 30-minute project status meeting without checking our email. What’s the key difference? Drama.

Drama is the driving engine of every movie. Over the years, screenwriters have ma...

Injecting Drama: The Hook

The hook is the first key to injecting drama into a meeting. As the leader of the meeting, it behooves you to ensure that you set up the meeting within the first 10 minutes such that your team understands and appreciates what is at stake.

You may need to illustrate the consequences of a bad...

Mine for Conflict

An intelligent group of diverse people will seldom agree on issues that matter. It’s natural and productive for disagreement to unfold. Working to resolve those differences and compromise on a unique solution is interesting, productive, and fun.

When you avoid these disagre...

Give Real-Time Permission

Sometimes the group in attendance will be reluctant to challenge each other in active debate. One tactic you can use to mine for conflict in this situation is to give real time permission. At the start of the meeting, a leader may announce that the topic is expected to drive conflict, and that me...

Providing Context with Structure

A meeting without contextual structure leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. One generic meeting format is a surefire recipe for ineffective meetings.

Without context, some team members will believe that the meeting should have been shorter and focused on tactical day-to-day issues, while...

The Daily Five Minute Check-In

The daily check-in is a 5-minute standing meeting where the team gets together in the morning to clarify the actions they intend to take that day. It provides a forum for ensuring nothing falls through the cracks and the team is informed and aligned with what everyone else is doing. You will be a...

The Weekly Tactical

The Weekly Tactical is analogous to a weekly staff meeting, but the focus is more disciplined. The Weekly Tactical is focused exclusively on tactical issues of immediate concern.

The rules for the Weekly Tactical are as follows: Everyone always attends. It is facilitated with a sens...

The Three Components Of The Weekly Tactical Meeting

Lightning Round: A quick, around-the-table reporting session in which everyone communicates their two or three priorities of the week. Each person is given 60 seconds.

Progress Review: Next, the group should routinely review the reports on critical business...

The Monthly Strategic

It’s where the executive team grapples with complex and critical issues that will fundamentally influence the direction of the business.

The length of the Monthly Strategic will vary depending on the topics addressed. But the rule of thumb says that it will require at least two hours, and s...

An effective Quarterly Offsite Review is an opportunity for executives to step away from the immediate issues that normally command their attention, and free them to review the business from a more holistic, long-term perspective.

In these offsite meetings, the team may review their strateg...

Meetings are the nexus of all business decisions and activities. We need to remember that meetings are human. They require a personal touch. Rigid rules and agendas will never solve our meeting dilemma. Leaning out the process by eliminating the number of meetings we have won’t help either. Reduc...

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