What are meetings good for?

Given that action points get raised in meetings, you’d think that’s the place to manage them. It isn’t so.

Had a meeting with a senior team in a large organisation yesterday in which we explored what issues they were having with their meetings. There were the usual suspects; poor focus, meeting purpose not properly defined and communicated, incomplete action points, blame game and so on.

Discussion moved to how you deal with action points that aren’t done. That’s a problem of its own but equally interesting is how action points get managed. Their way of managing them is common, we’ve been there in the past, and it’s probable that’s how your organisation does it.

What do they do? They have one of the first items in a meeting being the action point review. You go round the table and tick off the completed items and don’t tick off the incomplete items and probably set a new date for them or get into discussion on how that action point is going to get done.

If you didn’t have any action points this is a tedious waste of time. If you did and you got them done you can report smugly and then suffer the tedious waste of time. The attention and time goes to the non-completion and excuses, blame, waffle and so on. And this is how the meeting begins - where will it go from there?

Meetings are good for items that involve all or at least most of the participants. If there are items, like action point reviews, that are really a report back to a manager role - do that outside of the meeting. Meeting time is too valuable for your participants to be spectators - and often bored ones at that!

Leave a Reply