This is the third of a series of articles about Successful Meetings in High Performing Organisations.
In the first article, we have covered that a successful meeting starts with good preparation.
In the second article, I wrote about how to conduct and participate in a meeting achieving the desired goal successfully.
In this part, I am going to cover what should happen just after the meeting ends.
A successful meeting is defined as the one where the meeting goal is achieved. Targeting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) is a possible way to make output and outcomes more probable.
After meeting expectations
Whether your company is mastering the successful meeting practices presented in these series or it is still finding the way, at the end of each meeting the audience would expect:
— Communication with the notes taken during the meeting or a link to equivalent accessible content.
— Clearly stated actions and next steps with a responsible and a due date for each action.
The agreed action can be a decision, a change in process, someone to contact or involve, a follow up, a new meeting, a document to write/edit. Ending the meeting without any action or deciding that another meeting is needed is not a good sign of success. But not all the meetings that end agreeing on a new meeting are a failure if a goal is achieved as well.For instance a bigger or wider initiative can be divided into smaller goals so that each meeting has its own SMART goal.
On the other hand, not everything needs a meeting. Many cooperative activities can be completed asynchronously. Perhaps with a little more effort agreeing on working in the background could be better than just scheduling a new session.
Many tools allow people to work on the same document at the same time in parallel without the need to be in a call. Even without specific tools, it is possible to be creative and efficient. If you don’t have specific tools to draw or make diagrams, you can use generic presentation tools (MS Powerpoint, Google Slide…) or just use paper and pencil and circulate the drawing.
By “asynchronously” or “offline” or “in background” we don’t necessarily mean in isolation; we just mean without a planned call with the full audience. It can be alone, or peer-collaboration or just getting some valuable suggestions and info from others.
Every day thousands of small decisions can be made just having a little chat next to the coffee machine, or a virtual tea or exchanging a few words in the corridor and so forth.
Valuable information can be gathered via chat or email or search into company information management tools.
The agreement on the action to be performed by someone before the due date, needs to include what to do next at the due date. Let’s say an action is completed by the due date. How do we share the news? How do we circulate the output? By email, meeting, group chat…
Similarly, if the task is not yet completed (half done, almost done, basically done still means not yet completed), was it because the task difficulty was underestimated? Is help needed to complete it? How to follow up? What’s the B-plan?
Not all issues can be easily completed or solved as expected. Do not get stuck in it. Be proactive. Let others know without waiting to be asked. Pass the ball, play it with the rest of the team or the organisation. One of the characteristics of successful teams and high performing organisations is that no one blocks the game or hides the ball.
Collaborate! And if needed… well… start preparing for the next successful meeting. Now you know how!
After the meeting, notes are circulated to all participants and stakeholders. Actions and next steps are clearly stated with a responsible and a due date. Be proactive in following up, ask for help or look around to offer your support. Have a clear path on what’s next whether the action is successfully completed or it would require replanning.
Whilst these practices will improve the quality of time for everyone in the organisation, especially for those who participate in meetings, there will always be someone who doesn’t like to change habits.
Someone will say these practices are too strict or over complicated. Someone will keep saying there are too many meetings. Someone will complain to be invited to too many meetings but will never reject any. Someone will ask to be included in any meeting and be late in almost all of them.
The purpose of practicing extremely efficient meetings is not to convince others that successful meetings can exist. The purpose is to implement these practices and create a culture that leads your organisation to become a high performing one.
* * *
I write about organizational patterns, transformational leadership, healthy businesses, high-performing teams, future of workplace, culture, mindset, biases and more. My focus is in leading, training, and coaching teams and organizations in improving their agile adoption. Articles are the result of my ideas, studies, reading, research, courses, and learning. The postings on this site and any social profile are my own and do not represent or relate to the postings, strategies, opinions, events, situations of any current or former employer.
This article has been published for the first time on danieledavi.com by the author Daniele Davi’.
© Daniele Davi’, 2021. No part of this article or the materials available through this website may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published, broadcast or reduced to any electronic medium, human or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the author, Daniele Davi’.