If you read this blog, you know that I hate useless meetings. I talk about how much I hate them a lot. And, I try to make recommendations to help my readers make them less useless. Unfortunately, useless meetings are a lot like a bad smell. You can’t just wave around a candle and have the problem solved. Maybe it’s gone for a moment, but it comes back, because you never addressed the real issue. Today, I want to share some of my experiences as a Dallas EOS Implementer, specifically how I learned to solve the real issue and kick those useless meetings to the curb for good.
WHAT CAUSES USELESS MEETINGS?
In a word, politicking. Tell me if this situation sounds familiar:
- Employee A) We are spending too much time and money on X.
- Employee B) I get what you’re saying, but I don’t agree. We are spending the right amount of money, in my opinion.
- Employee A) (Now looking at the group) I think we can agree it’s too much.
- Employee B) (Now looking at the group) No. I really think we’re spending the right amount.
Within seconds this became a useless meeting. The two people talking aren’t solving the issue. They’re politicking. They are attempting to reach a consensus by restating their opinion again. That kind of discussion never ends.
Why? Well that’s a bit more complicated. This kind of politicking in a board room can come from a number of personal, professional, or business culture issues.
HOW CAN I PUT AN END TO USELESS POLITICKING
Some people just have to be right. Their egos can’t take the hit of being proven wrong in a public space. This is a major problem, one that requires a long, hard look at who you want in your business.
SEPARATION OF ISSUE AND PERSON
No secret here. People feel attacked when you tell them they are wrong. When leadership teams fail to separate the issue at hand from the person presenting it / responsible for it, that person will keep defending themselves. They have to. They probably feel their job is at stake.
LACK OF AGENDA
When you give someone 30 minutes of dead air to fill, they will do so with whatever they can think of. Don’t believe me? Turn on the television.
When I give my Dallas Traction™ seminars or keynote speeches on the Dallas Entrepreneurial Operating System™, one of the most important tools I talk about is the Level 10 Meeting™. In an L10 Meeting, there is a set in stone agenda, and it doesn’t leave room for people repeating themselves. I have a detailed explanation of the L10, but here’s the quick version:
Segue (5 minutes): Good news around the room. Personal and Professional
Scorecard™ (5 minutes): Did everyone hit their weekly numbers?
Rock Review ™ (5 Minutes): Are our quarterly goals on track?
People Headlines ™(5 Minutes): Any news from clients, employees, etc?
To-do List (10 Minutes): We wrote it last week. Did we accomplish 80% of it?
IDS™ (60 Minutes): Identify, Discuss, Solve. No room for politics here.
Conclude (5 Minutes): How was the meeting? Any final notes?
As you can see. There isn’t time for repeating the same problems again and again. An agenda like this ensures that useless meetings are something that only happens when a team has no more issues to solve. Which, as a veteran Dallas EOS Implementer, I can tell you is basically never.
A COMPANY CULTURE THAT DOESN’T REWARD SPEAKING UP
If you want to stop the politicking, you have to stop the politicians. That only happens when the employees know that speaking up is a good thing. It’s important to create a company culture that rewards honesty and openness. Otherwise, the politicians just keep talking and everyone else keeps their head down.
WILL IT BE EASY? NO
Sorry. It won’t.
Big things take small steps. Small steps take hard work. Hard work takes patience. That’s just the way it is.
The good news is that putting an end to useless meetings starts with this one, simple step. Follow it, and others will start doing the same:
Say it Once. Anything else is politicking.
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Whittle & Partners is a consulting group that provides EOS™ Implementation in the United States and beyond. We offer in-person and online solutions to fit your business and schedule.Visit our about us page to learn how and why we love bringing Dallas Traction.
Jeff Whittle is a Certified Dallas EOS Implementer.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.