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Making it a Successful
With the pace of accelerating change, meetings are a huge opportunity in organizations -- a chance to engage people, build trust, and create aligned action during change.
Well-designed and planned meetings accomplish several important outcomes:
Following is an overview of three types of meetings that can be used for these outcomes:
Meet to Create: The Why and the How
When there's a big change, such as a change of strategy, a merger, a lagging business that needs reenergizing, or a new leader … always start off on the right foot by having the team define a compelling and clear definition of "where we are headed and why."
Who: Senior leader and direct reports
When: Ideally 3-6 months before any major announcement or impact.
What's Important: Leaders tend to over-focus on the comfort zone of strategy and financial analysis, and on developing "mission" statements that mean little to employees (eg, "Relentlessly Cut Costs". Is this inspiring? Contrast that with "AOL Anywhere").
Alignment is powerful: People who are inspired and on the same page execute strategy faster and with greater coordination.
Aim for output that answers five questions:
Meet to Align: Inspiring the Masses
When there's an impact on a large group, plan an event to align, inspire, and educate the masses toward a common, unified message. Done well, this melts resistance, fear, and rumors seeded by "naysayers".
Make sure the message reaches everyone in a relatively short period of time.
Whether virtual or in person, it's all about interactivity - stump speeches are for politicians, not leaders.
Who: The entire impacted group and maybe beyond (vendors, key customers) - broader is better.
When: After you have a clear vision and strategy and, if necessary, synced with external communications (eg, a merger).
What's Important: Kick-off meetings have far greater impact after you visibly address a "point of pain" that frustrates employees, or implement a non-threatening aspect of the change - such as improving poor cafeteria facilities, eliminating cumbersome paperwork, giving people a new technology to make their lives easier, or firing an abusive boss.
For the meeting, design a creative process that ignites meaningful dialogue - either via the internet or in person. Too often, "kick-off" meetings over-use PowerPoint, generic platitudes and one-way talking heads. Vague statements like "in order to maximize our growth potential" or "as we strive to achieve new heights of our vision … " guarantee people will tune out!
Meet to Recharge: When Energy Has Faded
When the progress of a change has slowed, reenergize and refresh everyone's memory about where you're headed and why - and most importantly, the benefits of the vision.
Who: Whomever is impacted, cascaded from senior leaders down.
When: 6-18 months into a change, when energy has died off or people have reverted to old ways of working. This is always needed - most change efforts let up way to soon.
What's Important: Make sure the initiative is supported by visible presence from senior leadership - HR or consultants can't carry your torch! In change efforts, leadership support is critical to keeping energy high, as is defining and frequently communicating new measurements of success that align with the change.
Add a few of these elements to one of your meetings. You will get more engagement, trust, and aligned action.
Start right now!
Many more articles in More Effective Meetings in The CEO Refresher Archives