Updated: Jun 12, 2021
There’s an old phrase “Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” It’s kind of like that with meetings. Everyone hates them, but yet we still have them. The fact is that we don’t currently have a better way to coordinate and collaborate with human beings. So for the time being, we have meetings.
Here are some problems with meetings, and what to do about them.
People aren’t connected. We have boiled down our organizations to transactions and it just doesn’t work well in a complex world. The only way to deal with complexity is to connect humans. When meetings aren’t working the root cause is ALWAYS lack of trust between the participants. ALWAYS. There’s no process or tool that will fix it, you have to build the trust. Try Chartering your team.
No one is listening. Related to connectedness, I believe we’ve stopped deeply listening to each other.
Try this... at your next meeting…
Stop thinking about what you want to say
Stop thinking about what you think about what is being said
And simply listen. Listen with your whole self. What are they saying? How are they feeling about what they are saying?
You might create a different experience at your next meeting if you set the energy of deep listening.
Brains attend without hearts. Is your meeting an intellectual exercise? A meeting of the minds? Sometimes I feel I’m in a meeting with a bunch of disembodied heads. I think about some of the really bad decisions that large corporations have made in recent years, and I can imagine being in those meetings. I imagine that it looks really good on a spreadsheet when a large company pushes out mom-and-pop businesses in small towns. Or when companies promote junk food as meals. The story I tell myself is that these decisions were made in a room full of brains, but no hearts.
Try this...bring your whole self into your next meeting, and invite others to do the same. See what happens when people think with their hearts.
Lack of Purpose. When teams have no true purpose, they find a proxy purpose. A proxy purpose might be something like “get promoted” or “grow the company”. To be clear, growing the company is not a purpose. The purpose is why the company exists in the first place. If your team is making decisions in order to get promoted, your meetings probably suck. Yeah, you know who you are.
Try this...ask the team what the true purpose is. Why are we doing this? Chartering can also help in defining purpose.
How have you helped your meetings get better? Let us know!