4 Ways to Lead Taking-Action Meetings

The trouble with meetings is the preference for information and disinterest in taking action. How many people enter meetings prepared to take action, change behaviors, or adjust strategies?

There is too much, “What do we need to know?” and not enough, “What do we need to do?” in meetings.

(I’m not encouraging ignorance. I’m advocating for an orientation toward taking action – making decisions that impact behaviors.)



Preparation enables action. Information that doesn’t impact behaviors is irrelevant.

Send an email or video report before the meeting. Meet to ask questions, explore options, make decisions, and get things done, not to distribute information.

The meeting isn’t necessary if behaviors typically stay the same after adjournment. What’s the point when people sit around listening to statistics or reports leave the meeting doing the same things?

Doing things, not simply knowing things, is the reason to meet.

4 ways to lead taking-action meetings:

  1. Invite participants, not observers, to sit around the table. Anyone who leaves the room without something to do shouldn’t have been there. Minimize the number of ‘information’ meetings. Send an email or video. Create a dashboard. Don’t call meetings to simply give reports.
  2. Expect commitment. All participants must know why they’re in the meeting and are committed to achieve shared outcomes.
  3. Translate information. Translate information into observable behaviors and near-term outcomes. What happened in the past isn’t as important as what you’re going to do about it. The only reason to discuss the past is to use it to aid action.
  4. Design action. Who does what by when?

Stop holding meetings that have no behavioral results.

Meeting tip:

Hold collaboration meetings.

  1. What are you working on?
  2. What’s working?
  3. What could be better?
  4. How might we help?


What essential role does information-sharing have in meeting?

How might leaders move toward taking-action meetings?

banner inc magazine top 50 leadership and management expert