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The most productive management teams meet weekly for 45-60 minutes for an action oriented discussion of short-term results and plans. They use Action Logs to record commitments and a Parking Lot to track important issues that arise but cannot be dealt with efficiently in the meeting itself. This type of meeting is a “Tactical Management Meeting”.
If you knew your meeting would be productive, efficient, actionable, and time-bound…how could you miss it? It should be the highlight of the week. And yet, tragically, so many people hate management meetings. Clearly, it’s because most management meetings are a regurgitation of information that most of the attendees already knew or could have looked up before they got there. Around the table they go, each department giving their update until time runs out.
Interestingly, once the meeting concludes, there is a frantic scramble for “the meeting after the meeting” where everyone quickly talks about what they actually wanted to talk about. Why? Why not just talk about that stuff in the meeting?
Most of the Management Meetings we attend we would not characterize as “tactical”. More appropriate adjectives include “excruciating” or “useless” – and then there are the dreaded “I’d rather poke my eye out with a fork than attend” management meetings. What’s a team leader to do?
Go around the table and have each person take no more than 30 seconds to bring up the most important information they’d like to impart during the meeting. The leader should stand at the whiteboard capturing this information. This is the start of your agenda!
Spend another five minutes reviewing the key metrics that govern the business. This review should focus on the outliers – the results that are unexpected or not according to plan. If they can be quickly explained, then explain them. If they require further discussion, onto the whiteboard they go.
Now that you have uncovered the relevant tactical issues to explore, use your whiteboard notes to set the meeting agenda. This will eliminate the need for the meeting after the meeting, since all the important topics will be covered before the time is up.
Management meetings is some of the most expensive time spent in a company with all of the key people in the room. Don’t waste your team’s time. Make this hour the most productive of the week by following these tips.
Bellrock is a process benchmarking and change management company based in Vancouver, Canada. If you enjoyed this post, don’t be selfish! Please share it with your networks.
*This article relates to the Tactical Management Meeting. Strategic Management Meetings are different in that they are typically scheduled monthly, run for a couple of hours, and their purpose is to wrestle one gnarly business issue to the ground permanently. Often the topics discussed are identified by looking at the Tactical Management Meeting’s parking lot. Advance distribution of an agenda for a Strategic Management Meeting is a must to enable all participants to prepare.