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Posts tagged ‘Meetings’

Why You Should Meet with Yourself

img_0191.jpgI know this will sound strange, but one of the best things we can do as leaders is to have a regularly scheduled meeting with ourselves.  Yes, that’s right,  a meeting in our calendar where we’re the only attendee, and in the Subject line of the appointment it reads “Reflection and Planning”.

We all know we need to do this – we need regular moments of quiet time, with no distractions, where we can reflect, look back, look ahead and plan what the next move or moves need to be.  Yet so often, actually way too often,  we don’t do it?

Why?

Because we don’t put it into our calendars.  We don’t create a meeting with ourselves.

I know this is another strange thought but the reality is when we write down or type something, in this case, into our calendar, we’re saying it’s important.  You see our brains work this way – when we think about something, speak it out loud and then write it down, we’re significantly more likely to remember and then follow through on it.

Now, at the risk of seeming even more strange, I need to say this as well – when we set meetings with ourselves, we need to create and write down an agenda.  It may be a simple, repeatable agenda but, like all other meetings, a thoughtful, intentional agenda leads to a meaningful, productive meeting, even with ourself.

So the next question is – how often should we meet with ourselves and what do we talk about? We should meet every day, even if it’s for just a few minutes.  And we should answer questions like those below.   I have a rhythm of meetings I try to stick too – they follow the same pattern as our organizational meeting rhythm –

Meeting and Agenda (questions to answer):                                                

Daily (10 min):      

  • What’s the most important thing I can do today?
  • When will I do it?

Weekly (15 min):

  • What’s the 3 most important priorities I need to accomplish this week?
  •  Do I have time in my calendar blocked out to do them?

Monthly (30 min):

  • What are my top 3 to 5 priorities for the month?
  • Do I have time in my calendar blocked out to do them?

Quarterly (30 min):  

  • What are my top 3 to 5 priorities for the quarter?

 Annual (2 hours):  

  • What are my 5 to 7 goals for the year?
  • Is my life aligned with my purpose, values and dreams?
  • What’s my unifying theme for the year?

So here’s the challenge – starting next week, try meeting daily with yourself.  Put these meetings into your calendar and simply ask the questions above.  See if you don’t become more focused, more effective and less stressed than you’ve ever been.

A Case for More (and better) Meetings

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.”

Check out Lencioni’s books The Advantage and Death by Meetings for practical ways to have better, more effective meetings.

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