Effective Team Meetings: It’s about Collaboration not Consensus


There’s a new dirty word in the office, and that word is: meetings. Ask a colleague if they feel your organization is having too many not-to-the-point pow-wows and most likely the answer is a resounding "yes!" Companies are gathering together more and more often, yet less and less work is being accomplished.

What is at the root of these ineffective meetings?

I just finished reading Al Pittampalli's new book “Read This Before Our Next Meeting”, published through Seth Godin’s Domino Project, it has risen to the #1 most popular book for the Kindle. In the book Mr. Pittampalli gives you “Seven Principles” to successfully run what he calls a “Modern Meeting”.

He makes the argument that all these group gatherings are stalling the decision making ability of our companies. That meetings have become just another transactional forum for us to provide information, something emails and memo's could do just fine. He believes the time has come to redefine the purpose of a meeting: to support decisions.

I appreciate Mr.Pittampalli's  idea and I would take it one step further. In my mind, the key to a “Modern Meeting” is to understand that it’s about collaboration not consensus while also knowing how to have the conversations that will cement this approach.

At Fierce we look at these conversations like a beach ball. Each team member represents a stripe of color, and a piece of the truth for the company. The leader must know how to draw out the best ideas from all the differing perspectives invited to the table.

This does not happen via osmosis. It happens by learning skills to facilitate a team conversation that encourages collaboration without confusing it for consensus. These conversations ask clear but provoking questions, state the parameters of the discussion, and foster a think tank ideology.

Whether it is a "decision making" meeting or a "brainstorming" meeting, having conversations like these will fuel collaboration by affirming for your colleagues that giving their perspectives is worth the time away from their desks.

Is your company stuck in a consensus rut?

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