In honor of today’s SpringHill Leadership Team’s monthly strategy meeting, I found Patrick Lencioni’s perspective on meetings in his new book The Advantage – Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, both helpful and hopeful.
“No action, activity, or process is more central to a healthy organization than the meeting. As dreaded as the ‘m’ word is, as maligned as it has become, there is no better way to have a fundamental impact on an organization than by changing the way it does meetings.
In fact, if someone were to offer me one single piece of evidence to evaluate the health of an organization, I would not ask to see its financial statements, review its product line, or even talk to is employees or customers; I would want to observe the leadership team during a meeting. This is where the values are established, discussed, and lived and where decisions around strategy and tactics vetted, made and reviewed. Bad meetings are the birthplace of unhealthy organizations, and good meetings are the origin of cohesion, clarity and communication.
So why in the world do we hate meetings? Probably because they are usually awful. More often than not they are boring, unfocused, wasteful, and frustrating. Somehow we’ve come to accept this – to believe that there is just something inherently wrong with the whole idea of meetings. It’s almost as though we see them as a form of corporate penance, something that is inevitable and must be endured.
Well, I am utterly convinced that there is nothing inherently bad about meetings, nothing that can’t be fixed if we confront the problems we’ve allowed to calcify over the years.”