Do You Engineer The Meeting?

  • Posted by on September 29th, 2014 at 8:31 am

More and more, I am seeing meetings being used as a legal timestamp and not actual communication/action/discussion.  The meeting happens before the meeting.  In politics, this has always been the case.  That’s why we see trial balloons and the press reports on leaks.  Committee hearings are just shows.

But in business, I am seeing that creep in.  Years ago when I was on the CME board, the real board meeting happened in the Executive Board meeting which met prior to the actual board.  Then, the real stuff happened at Strategic Plan, prior to Exec and prior to the Board meeting.  Our leaders felt they had to do that with a 40 member board because they were dealing with some super sensitive issues like demutualization.  Secrecy is a good reason to go underground-but you have to do it in a way that is transparent to relevant parties.  Getting blindsided at a meeting is no fun.

The problem with all of this is people value their time.  If a meeting happens and it’s a dictation of what is going to happen without give and take discussion, then it’s a total waste of time.  I am okay with having discussions on issues before a formal meeting; but what a good leader should do is be transparent and get all the decision makers talking and interacting.  Then the meeting is a continuation of the discussion.  Or, perhaps they come to an agreement and there is no need for the meeting.

There has been a lot written about Board Meetings, and using your board wisely.  I think that the same thought has to go into formal meetings with employees as well.


This article about brainstorming and meetings came across my Twitter.   I think there are similarities to it and what I wrote today.


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