Differentiate Content of Meetings to Optimize Short-Term and Long-Term Results

| April 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

Tactical issues are important. Strategic issues are also important. Each warrants our undivided attention through meetings that are specifically designed to produce results that move your organization forward. If you believe in the premise that how we get things done in our companies is via meetings, then it is worth honing our skills on how to design and run this powerful tool.

For example: It is the weekly operations meeting and there is much to get through in order to keep all of the teams moving forward. Thirty minutes into the meeting Roger, new to the group, says, “Could we talk about integrating mobile applications into our products? We are way behind in the market on this.” Silence, eyes roll, people push back from the table.

Big issue? Absolutely. Right timing? Absolutely not. Whether bringing up strategic issues in a tactical meeting or tactical issues in a strategic meeting, the results are always the same. Frustration, time wasted and poor decision making.

Let’s run two scenarios based on Roger’s request.

Scenario #1

Beth:  “We know we need to work on this Roger, but the resources just are not there.”

Bill: “I read an article that said it would take a thousand man hours for us to move on this.”

Sid:  “What? Where did you read that?”

Carol:  “Look folks, we are not going to solve this today, we need to talk about it later.”

Roger: “Well, I still think we need to get on the bandwagon.”

Carol: “I don’t disagree, but we cannot deal with it now. We have run out of time. Look, I know that we had some other things on the agenda. Let’s just work on those through email. Be sure to cc everyone so no one feels left out.”

Scenario #2

Carol:  “Roger you are right. We need to move much more quickly on the mobile application issue. Let’s put that on the first half of our agenda for the quarterly meeting. We need to pull together a great deal of information in order to do justice to this topic. Roger, can you and Beth get together and come up with a list of factors we should consider. Disseminate the list to this group and assign folks who you think can provide the data we need.”

Roger, “Great, it’s an important topic. I am glad we are going take the time to address it. Thanks everyone in advance, because I know this is going to require work from everyone. But I really do think it will be worth it.”

Carol: “Okay, let’s tackle the last 3 items on our agenda, make some decisions and get back to our teams.”

Consider the purpose of your meeting and communicate the purpose to all participants. Develop a legitimate mechanize to move topics to the more appropriate setting.

Tactical meetings should be quick, action oriented, and held on a frequent basis; providing guidance for current operations. Tactical meets are about the here and now.

Strategic meetings are designed for discussion and dialog. They require pre-session work by the participants and are held less frequently; on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. Strategic meetings should be future focused.

If a strategic concern is raised in a tactical meeting, take note and move it to the quarterly meeting. Here is why: you do not have the time or information to properly address the topic. Shoot-from-the-hip comments maybe be made that will simply blur the facts. Typically, since the team is not able to make informed decisions, they simply stir the pot, around and around, wasting everyone’s time.

The scheduling of meetings does need to be flexible and responsive to the needs of the organization. We have all found ourselves in situations where we need to have a Strategic Meeting that is outside of the normal schedule. Call the meeting and be very specific about the agenda, represented by the one item that is driving the urgency.

 

 

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Category: Decision Making, Newsletters

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About the Author ()

Julia Hill-Nichols, SPHR, is the founder of LeadersCove, LLC. With over 30 years experience in operations and human capital management, Julia is gifted in the art and science of bridging strategic imperatives and a company’s human capabilities—executing for success, meeting bottom-line objectives and enlivening the people who are the organization’s lifeblood.

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