Do you often sit in meetings and wonder why you are there? Do you attend meetings with no outcomes?  Are your meetings boring?

Patrick Lencioni’s book “Death by Meeting” is for you!

Lencioni advocates for transforming meetings by adding context and purpose, and drama, yes that’s right drama!  Similar to a Hollywood movie, including drama or conflict prevents people from being bored and disengaged.  He suggests controversial issues should be discussed at the beginning of meetings to make them more engaging.

Context comes from clarifying the purpose of the meeting and what is expected from attendees.   The catch is that by creating context you may end up having more meetings, but not necessarily more time in meetings.

At the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, we have been following Lencioni’s meeting model including a: daily check-in, weekly tactical, monthly strategic and quarterly off-site review meeting.  The result is improved clarity of the purpose of, and outcomes required from, each different meeting.

The daily check-in is held for five to ten minutes and participants stand during the meeting, so it is less likely to run over.  This daily meeting is designed to update others on schedules and items that require a quick immediate response, for example, who is going to cover someone on sick leave today.  This meeting is meant to avoid what Lencioni calls “sneaker time’ where people talk separately in the hallway or multiple emails are sent on a particular topic during the day; but which could easily have been resolved in a quick five minute discussion.  The trick is to not cancel these meetings even if someone is not there, so that these meetings become habitual.  It can take a few months for these meetings to become second nature.

The weekly tactical meeting is approximately one hour and focuses on discussion of operational matters, for example department workloads and ongoing projects.

The monthly strategic meeting would be for about two to four hours and discusses larger topics that impact the department on a long-term basis.  These meetings should have no more than about one to two topics such as planning service evaluation or implementing a change in service delivery.

The last meeting is a quarterly off-site meeting that is for one to two days.  This is a strategic planning meeting, which would cover topics such as setting and evaluating key performance indicators, as well as discussing staff morale.

Lencioni concludes that “meetings are what leaders do, and the solution to bad meetings is not the elimination of them, but rather the transformation of them into meaningful, engaging and relevant activities”.

To read more about creating effective meetings, click here

Including a tactical meeting guide, a quiz to determine the effectiveness of your meetings, meeting model, and tips for effective meetings.