Adding Drama to Meetings

If I were to ask you what springs to mind when I use the word ‘Meetings’ what would you say? As organisations, we seem to have resigned ourselves to the notion that meetings are unavoidably painful and unproductive – one of the necessary evils of organisational life. But the fact is, bad meetings are a reflection of bad leaders.

According to Patrick Lencioni author of ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’, leaders who are willing to challenge the notion that meetings are unfixable, are able to transform what is a tedious and debilitating process into something productive, focused, even energizing.

The key to improving meetings, however, has nothing to do with better preparation, agendas or minutes, in fact it is our contention that it is the opposite that is required. To address the problem of boring meetings, leaders need to be ready to let go of the control and the hiding place that overly prepared agendas offer.

The first step in transforming meetings is to understand why they are so bad. We believe that one of the key issues is that leaders are frightened of what might happen if they actually let their people loose from the constraints of rigid agendas. If we look deeply at our reasons for tightly controlled meetings we often find fear. It could be a fear of conflict between co-workers, people speaking their minds, or the prospect of ideas that threaten a leader’s credibility. Whatever the cause of the fear the result is meetings that lack what Lencioni calls ‘Drama’.

Lencioni suggests that in order to increase the drama of meetings, leaders need to put the most controversial issues on the table at the beginning of their meetings. In addition, they must insist that their people wrestle with those issues until resolution has been achieved. When they do this they can create genuine, compelling drama, and prevent their people from disengaging.

This level of intense engagement requires high levels of bravery, sourced from equal amounts of self awareness. If you feel you are up to the challenge, then we challenge you to add a touch of drama to your next meeting. Alternatively, if you don’t feel quite ready for this level of risk taking then why not consider attending our Team Health Check taster day….

Cardiff: 3rd June   |  Chester: 10th June

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