How to Avoid Death by Meeting

Patrick Lencioni is an author that Verne Harnish recommends so I started with the book Death by Meeting – a leadership fable about solving the most painful problem in the world.

Death by MeetingThe book is about providing business owners, managers and CEOs the tools they need to perform in their most important role — meetings.

Unlike other professionals, there really is no training provided for ‘meetings’.  That’s why most meeting are boring.

Basketball players perform on ‘match day’ and their stage is the court.  They do regular fitness training and practice shooting hoops. Opera singers literally perform on a stage and they constantly practice singing.

Business leaders’ stage is the boardroom and they perform in meetings yet there’s rarely any training or any practice.

Would you rather see a movie or go to a meeting?

The author poses this very interesting question & usually most people prefer to see a movie.

However if meetings were run properly people would always favour a meeting over seeing a movie.

Movies are a passive experience, viewed on a screen and you have no control over the outcome.  Meetings on the otherhand are live, active, involve real people and you can influence the outcomes.

What can we learn from Hollywood, TV and news headlines?

Plenty.  And the analogies are great.

Headline News (Daily huddle – 5 mins)
This is the daily  update of what is going on.  It’s no longer than 5 minutes and gets everyone up-to-speed. These are best done standing up so they are quick!

TV sitcoms (Weekly meeting – 45 mins)
Like your favourite TV shows, you know all the characters and story lines don’t go for too long.  Your weekly meetings are tactical and they should always run for less than 45 minutes.

Death by MeetingFeature length movie (Monthly meeting 2-4 hours)
Like Hollywood blockbusters there should be a proven formula for these meetings. That means having a agenda, but there’s no strict time limit.  In your monthly meetings you get to delve into more strategic issues and allow time to address them properly.

Epic trilogies or movie marathons (Quarterly meetings – 1 day)
Some stories are so important you need a whole day and this is true of the quarterly meeting.  Take a whole day and ideally do it offsite  to keep it interesting.

How to make it exciting

Like a good movie or TV show, there’s got to be drama, excitement or conflict in the first few minutes. This is the chairperson’s most important role because it sets the tone for the entire meeting.  Start with enthusiasm, energy and a bit of drama and your colleagues will enjoy being along for the ride!

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