Four Meetings to Set Your Organisation on Fire
Updated: Nov 17, 2022
"Mee-tings! Mee-tings! Mee-tings!"
How often have you experienced a crowd of people chanting about meetings? Singing in the town square jubilantly about meetings ... just 'cause? Crowds of people screaming together in joy is more likely after a Real Madrid victory in the UEFA Champions League than about meetings. But, my point is most people would never shout about meetings. In fact, most people have horrible memories—maybe even nightmares—from terrible, dull meetings they've been a part of.
Let's be clear. Those are not the meetings I'm talking about. That's it. Take a breath ... sigh. No, just because you've been part of, and seen, many, many, many terrible meetings doesn't mean meetings in-and-of-themselves are bad. We're just often bad at running them! Put it this way, if I gave you a PC without anything installed, how frustrating would you find it? You could hit that keyboard and stare for hours at that blank screen, but without it setup properly you'd have a nightmare on your hands. You'd proclaim, "computers are terrible! Never get one! It's a waste of time, expensive and takes up precious room on my desk." You'd be right about your experience.
But then, say I rock up and take away your un-setup PC and replace it with a beautiful, shiny Mac (all the Apple fans know what I mean). You press the power button and it turns on. You spend an hour on there and it's so intuitive that you're finding your way to the different apps easily. A couple of weeks later and it's transformed the way you work. Well, apart from throwing my hat into the ring in the PC vs Mac debate, I'm also hoping this blog will be more like the Mac in that analogy than the PC.
What if I told you that meetings are the most powerful tool in your disposal as a leader to transform culture? Wow. I believe it. Just like a Mac would transform your work life because computers are revolutionary ... when used correctly, meetings when run well can revolutionise your organisation. The most significant meetings? Executive leadership team meetings. So, if you're leading an executive leadership team as a Senior Pastor, CEO, MD, business owner or Chair, you are in the position to see the most immediate change in your organisation by changing the way you do meetings. But regardless of your role, if you lead or are part of any team, then implementing this framework—or a suitable version of it for your circumstances—is worthwhile. Here are four types of meetings outlined by Patrick Lencioni in his brilliant book Death by Meeting to transform your meetings and your organisation.
Lencioni calls this the daily check-in meeting. Every team should meet daily. You read that correctly. Daily. What is the cause of most issues and crises in organisations? Miscommunication. Yep. Think back to the last significant challenge your organisation faced. What miscommunication—or miscommunications more likely—were part of it? Miscommunication is a part of life, and part of being human. That's why an on-your-toes is so important. Start each day with your team for no more than five or ten minutes discussing schedules, events and issue alerts.
I call it the on-your-toes because Lencioni recommends actually standing up for this meeting. It helps to create a culture where the meeting is brief. If everyone stays standing then no one gets settled sitting down ready for a deep conversation about resolving that issue. The on-your-toes isn't the time for that, leave sorting the issue for later. It's just the place to raise the issue amongst your team so you relevant team members can sort it out individually or together at the right time.
2. Same page
Lencioni calls this the weekly tactical meeting. I love the on-your-toes meeting because it's the easiest to implement and has an immediate impact. There's something that happens after a few weeks of doing this where you look around at your team and realise everyone is just more ... connected. Less stuff has fallen through the cracks resulting in frustration for the team. But the same page takes it to another level.
I call it the same page because Lencioni talks about getting the whole team on the same page. This is a 45 minute to 90 minute meeting that your team should have weekly or fortnightly. If you work with volunteers on your team, then you may need to be creative with the length and timing of your same page. But, let me encourage you to lean on the side of meeting more rather than meeting less. If you can make a fortnightly same page happen, then do it.