be personally accountable
So what’s the connection between this childhood story and the meeting mess we sometimes find ourselves in? We all know a bad meeting when we experience one. The question is, are we more like the bystander townsfolk or the little child who calls it like he sees it?
Commit to not waiting out another bad meeting. Next time you get a meeting invitation and you have no idea what it’s about, call, email or text and get some clarity. Opt out if there isn’t a clear reason for your attendance. Rather than feel your blood pressure rise as people tangentize, refocus to the issue at hand, using the meeting outcomes or agenda. If you are sick of being the only person who participates, encourage those who haven’t spoken to voice their opinions. Take accountable action. It’s a great way to start.
dig into dialogue
72% of us say we experience open and candid dialogue around important issues only rarely or sometimes. At the same time 48% of us say our ideas are frequently encouraged and close to that percentage say those contributions are valued. It could be that we are encouraged and willing to speak up but not speak straight. Maybe the last time we tried to spark debate someone took it personally, tempers flared or people withdrew. It’s hard work to craft an alternative point of view in a way that encourages healthy debate and avoids defensiveness or blame. And we all know how hard it is to listen to a differing view when we already know we are “right”. Whatever the reason, we all suffer the consequences of dancing around the edges of dialogue. Healthy debate can unleash innovation, generate speed, and create levels of collaboration we have yet to experience.
Practice listening to discover what some one really thinks rather than to defend a position. Ratchet up your curiosity by asking more “what if” questions instead of making so many “why not” statements. You might change more than your meetings.
What We Meet About
Status/update (85% often and frequently responses)
Information sharing (74% often and frequently responses)
Collaborative problem solving (58% often and frequently responses)
Decision making (54% often and frequently responses)
Idea generation (43% often and frequently responses)
Strategy development (36% often and frequently responses)
What’s Going Wrong
72% of us say we experience open and candid dialogue around important issues only rarely or sometimes.
48% of us say our ideas are encouraged frequently or often
45% of us say are contributions are valued frequently or often
65% report that they only rarely or sometimes have clarity around next steps such as who will do what and by when
52% of respondents believe they have the opportunity to bring their best thinking forward only rarely or sometimes
60% of respondents observe a dip in productivity during and/or after an ineffective meeting
© 2008 DesignArounds