We've all been there...the dreaded "team meeting". It never starts or ends on time, you spend excessive amounts of time discussing some topic that isn't really that important to everyone - just the loudest in the room. Nothing is every really resolved and nothing takes a massive leap forward. This is when it's time for a team meeting overhaul.
Really successful team meetings go well beyond starting and ending on time, having an agenda distributed ahead of time, and a good facilitator to manage your time. The very best meetings have three things in common:
1. The most important items surface to the top. This means that the team determines the biggest priorities of the day and those items surface to the top. Meeting facilitators/leaders are wise to let the team prioritize the issues that need to be discussed. Gather and create a list of issues for the week and let the team prioritize them for discussion.
2. There is less "reporting" and more problem solving done during these meetings. Status reporting is tedious, boring and can be done in a range of other ways than with an entire team sitting around a table - so leverage other "reporting" mechanisms (like email) to provide routine status updates. When a "reporting" item is in the red, isn't where it should be, or there is an issue - only then should those items surface for discussion. If everything is in the green, and working as it should be, no need to discuss it in a meeting.
3. Take action and make decisions on issues for the Good-of-the-Whole. Have the team prioritize the key issues that need resolution (see #1 above) and work diligently to troubleshoot those key issues. A good team meeting spends at least two-thirds of its time actually problem solving issues - not reporting. Leverage your team's collaborative and creative problem solving abilities to identify and address the biggest issues your group is facing. You pay your team members to work problems, not spin their wheels in team meetings, so leverage everyone's time and raise the bar. These three simple actions can help you elevate your team's productivity and move your organization towards greater change, innovation and growth!
Amy Riccardi is the Chief People Officer and Founder of HCM2020. She's a guest lecturer at Georgetown and George Washington Universities and works with executive teams and CEOs to help scale and grow their business.