Crisp Meetings

A good crisp meeting can be better than strolling through leaves on a fall day. By crisp I mean:

  • The meeting has an agenda.
  • The agenda went out far in advance.
  • The leading has a strong owner who facilitates or helps keep the meeting on track.
  • The meeting starts on time.
  • Late people are ignored and have to bring treats to the next meeting or donate some small amount to a charity.
  • Presenters are prepared.
  • When discussions go to long they are put in a parking lot.
  • The meeting ends 5 minutes early so you’re not late to your next meeting.

At a former company a new CIO showed up and started holding a weekly management leadership meeting. The first meeting people strolled in a little late. The CIO spelled out the ground rules. The last person in the room after the start time owed treats to the whole group the next time. I’m not sure how seriously they took it, but the next meeting several managers were late. In fact one manager came in more than 5 minutes late and tried to sit in the back. The CIO pulled out the chair beside him and beckoned the manager to sit beside him the whole meeting. And just in case the manager forgot he reminded him he should bring nice treats for the next meeting.

Unfortunately the company had an entrenched culture of lateness and bad meetings so most meetings someone still showed up late. I really thought having the CIO point out your tardiness was enough of an incentive to be early, but behavior can be hard to change.

If you’ve fallen into the a common poor meeting culture try running a crisp meeting even as an experiment. You’ll be surprised how different it feels to come out of a focused meeting.