Or at least, more rules for meetings!
But first, a confession.
I am someone who actually loves meetings. I thrive on ideas and process. So for me, getting smart people around a table, breaking out the white board and flip charts — this is about full engagement for me. The downside of this is that I tend to allow longer and less focused meetings than I should and for people who don’t like meetings, this is bad. So, when I was a lead pastor and responsible for scheduling and leading dozens of meetings a week, I had to become a real student of meetings, organizational decision making models, etc.
One of the most helpful books was Lencioni’s. He suggests that you need to have four different kinds of meetings — and be clear upfront about what kind you are having. The four types are:
1. DAILY CHECK-IN. Often a stand-up meeting, 10-15 minutes. Focus on team alignment and information transfer).
2. WEEKLY TACTICAL. Focus on specific, actionable and tactical issues that need to be decided upon now. Generally, anything that takes more than 10-15 minutes of discussion should get “tabled” and added to a “strategic meeting” agenda, or taken offline to be worked out by a sub-workgroup.
3. MONTHLY STRATEGIC. Best if these are 1-topic agenda meetings where people know what the issue is and come prepared to discuss and really dig-in around a particular strategic issue.
4. QUARTERLY OFF-SITE REVIEW. Getting to the 30,000 ft level. This is where you can identify some upcoming Strategic Topics to cover in the coming months.
This is not a perfect model, and has some severe challenges in a volunteer-driven organization like a church. But, I think once we started to use this framework, the quality of our meetings — and decision-making — improved exponentially.
I would love to hear from some other folks… WHAT MEETING STRATEGIES HAVE WORKED WELL FOR YOU? WHAT HASN’T?