Meetings and the 5 Sources of Organizational Energy
The purpose of meetings is to energize small wins.
5 sources of organizational energy that connect to meetings:
- Progress. Nothing fuels energy more than moving the ball down the field.
- Contributing to a winning cause. Do something that matters.
- Connecting with players who are dedicated to winning.
- Solving problems and eliminating barriers to progress.
- Feeling released rather than blocked.
3 goals of mid-level management meetings:
- Figure out what’s working and how to do more of it.
- Identify what isn’t working and either stop doing it or fix it. Make work easier and more productive.
- Choose what new things to do next.
15 potential agenda items for management teams:
- What small wins occurred last week/month?
- What caused small wins?
- Who in the organization should be acknowledged? How?
- What does winning look like this week/month?
- How will we know we are winning?
- What kept us from achieving greater success last week/month?
- What are we doing about barriers to winning?
- What new thing(s) will we try this week/month? Organizations that don’t try new things, die.
- Where is the energy in our organization? How will we fuel it?
- Where are we pushing ropes? What should we change or stop?
- How can we create an environment that promotes winning? Think of things you can control; don’t whine about things you can’t.
- Who are we holding back? How can we release them?
- What dangers wait around the corner? How can we prepare today?
- Who needs to be developed? How?
- Who does what by when? Why?
Bonus: Add the word “specifically” to each item.
Meetings that de-energize teams create losses.
Challenge: The next time you prepare to lead a meeting, ask, “How does this meeting ignite energy to win.”
What agenda items are most important for you right now? Why?
What new agenda items would you add to the conversation?
Excellent post. Reinforces the concept of Continuous Continuous Improvement.
Lots of small, incremental changes and sharing ideas and listening builds trust and respect. Plus the opportunity to act, since risk will seem less of an issue for the individual and small teams.
But with all the workforce “management” stuff going on, it simply is hard to do.
Thanks Dr. Scott. Sadly, like Drucker said, “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.” Organizations would radically change if leaders and managers made it their goal to energize.
Funny, but I came across (and mentally connected) with that particular Drucker quote the other day and have used it a dozen times since then in different discussion threads and in a blog post. Love it. He, like Deming, simply wanted some people to get out of the way after they simply clarified goals and expectations and set up some performance feedback. I wish were were changing management models and practices faster than we are – what is scary is technology’s ability to absolutely measure everything all the time – heart rate, typing speed, telephone talk (recorded and analyzed), movement through the physical workplace, etc.
That technology, of following a truck driver every minute of every day — I have seen the reports showing how much time he was driving before his seat belt was fastened and tracked by hour, day, week and month along with actual speed, average speed, top speed and even how much he backed up (which is a safety no-no in a tractor trailer.)
We don’t need no stinking robots if we can treat our people as such.
So, these fast fun energy-focusing, team-oriented meetings seem like a good idea. No death by powerpoint, either!
Have fun out there!
Well, it seems obvious that we don’t lack for information. But, perhaps we lack in our ability to treat people like human being. 🙂
Just saw an article on “huddles” somewhere online. Guessing that concept is similar to this one. But the graphic showed everybody bent over, head to head and I am guessing that the touchie feeling aspect of that might be an issue with some people in many organizations. But, seemingly, the same fast quick share plan idea…
Hey, two comments in one day! Way to go. I’ve heard great reports on the practice of daily huddles. I’ve also seem some negatives. I wonder what are the keys to success for huddles? Focus, brevity, relevance, ritual…
Great lesson today. I especially appreciated the 3 goals for mid-level management. We’ve got to keep the ball moving toward the end zone.
Darin – I cannot see that end zone, and I liken things more to herding cats and frogs than keeping any one particular ball in motion. The best I can hope for is a downhill slope as we rock and roll along! No marching band, just a guy with a harmonica… There are flowers and beer at the bottom and then another hill to manage tomorrow.
Thanks Darin. In order to keep the ball moving down the field we have to know what a win looks like.
Very helpful this guideline…as I detest meetings in general…so unproductive…but yet reality! Thanks Dan,
Thanks Dennis. Here’s the good news. I’ve actually seen people energized at the end of well run meetings!!
Sometimes I hate how good you are at picking out amazing pictures that at first glance would seem to have nothing to do with the topic at hand. Jerk.
🙂 Back atcha!
I really connect with the quote- “The purpose of meetings is to energize small wins”- In my work with senior leadership teams, I’m surprised how meetings can be energy sinks and factional skirmishes. I would suggest that learning the art of making meetings work requires skills and competence not learned or practiced early in careers. Teams at all levels become expert at ‘meetings’ for there own sake based on unwritten rules and norms. I’m with you- time to invest in Meetings 2.0. Thanks Dan
Exactly! We have a prescribedweekly meeting, with unvarying agenda. Apparently it’s a key part of continuous improvement to do so! More gets accomplished with small huddles in corridors or offices, but we are not allowed to bring those lines of reasoning to the CI meetings. Go figure!
Number 11: “How can we create an environment that promotes winning? Think of things you can control; don’t whine about things you can’t.”
Often, “winning” is defined as “not losing” and that mindset kills energy. It’s a problem in very risk-averse areas, places where if something goes wrong, no-one cares about the 9, 99 or 9,999 successes but will crucify you for the one failure. Here’s a challenge for you, Don: give us some tips for building energy and will to win in the risk averse: if anyone can do it, you can!
(Disclaimer: I’ve tried and failed, and can give you a list of what hasn’t worked terribly well. I need a fresh pair of eyes!)
Mitch – PERSPECTIVE and a solid sense of self are really really really useful tools to deal with that kind of organizational glop. My focus for the past 20 years is NOT focusing on winners, since that simply generates losers as a side-effect. In my games, I typically confront the team that considers itself the winner by asking them what they could have done differently to focus on supporting the other teams, since the goal was to optimize organizational results, not create one winning team. It is an interesting reframe that generally gets everyone’s attention.
Having clear personal goals anchored to a real sense of what can be accomplished is one “job aid” for many people. Unrealistic expectations are simply a cause to put a blame frame on things.
There is a TON of psych research on this “winning thing” and most of it shows that, for an organization, it is not an optimizer of results or innovation.
Have Fun out there!
Scott, thanks. Where I have trouble isn’t with those groups where they are out to win (creating, as you say, winners and losers), but with those where the emphasis is on NOT losing. My experience is with numerous very, very risk-averse groups. They don’t push, or innovate, or develop and grow, not because they aren’t interested in those things, but because the risks and consequences of failing hold them back. They feel (sometimes correctly) that if even one thing goes wrong, the consequences are unthinkable: for example even following a line of reasoning of doing essentially nothing positive on the grounds that that way there are no negative consequences to their action. How do I support growth and innovation under this shadow?
Focusing on wins and what created them is such a huge reason to meet. Unfortunately most meetings are called to discuss what is wrong. It’s important to correct the negative, but 10 times more productive to spread good news and techniques.