Our Meeting Makeover!

Over the summer, I experienced two makeover opportunities! The first one came from a friend who came to visit me. She has a keen eye for home decorating, so I asked her to give me her feedback on areas in my home. After agreeing, she first asked me to show her everything – not just the areas I wanted her to see. So, I took her throughout the whole house, showing her the good and the bad.

As we went from room to room, she asked me what I liked about the room, what I didn’t, and what purpose or outcomes was trying to be achieved. While at first I thought it was awkward to state the home office was a place where I did paperwork, she did get me to question why I was holding on to two outdated printers and dried up ink cartridges littered in the corner of the room.

Part of me was nervous by this activity.

  • What if she didn’t like the areas I was most proud of?
  • What if her feedback reflected on me as a person?
  • What if she recommended me to scrap the whole house and move?

Admittedly, I had a great experience! Her questioning techniques allowed me to reflect and look at my house and view of the spaces in a whole new way. Through some modifications and a change in perspective, I was able to get much more from my home and am enjoying it even more.

My second makeover came from reflection with colleagues on meetings I ran last year. Similar to my friend helping me with my home, my colleague asked a series of great questions when I asked for feedback on the meetings:

  • Did you have a purpose for each meeting?
  • How did you determine whether the needs of the participants were being met through the agenda items?
  • How was it clearly communicated to the participants?
  • How did you monitor whether there was proper time for understanding, feedback, dialogue, and input?
  • How did you know whether people felt comfortable to take risks and share?
  • How did you determine whether there was common understanding on tasks and next steps?

As we reflected on the agendas, minutes, and informal feedback collected at the meetings, I realized that the meetings appeared to cause more work and more questions at the end of the meeting than before. In my attempt to show my leadership, the meetings focused on me talking and them listening. The information revealed that the participants needed to schedule more meetings in order to work on the work!

It wasn’t pretty, but I realized I had to overhaul how I structured the meetings. The questions and reflection helped me to implement “3 Meeting Make-Over Adjustments for Success” that helped to provide a better experience to our team and create the necessary benefits to create positive change.

  1. I Involved the Team. In my best of intentions to show myself as the leader, I realized that I was the one talking too much. As I reviewed the agendas from the previous year, my name was on most of the agenda items. I decided that, in order to be most effective, I had to create more opportunities for others in the room to speak and share. So, I am not asking for volunteers from the team to present and share.
  1. I Reduced the Need for Additional Meetings. As I reflected on the agendas, I noticed that I tended to talk about things the team would need to do in the future. It forced the team members to create action plans and have schedule additional meetings with others to get the work done. So, I am flipping the structure of the meetings by providing clear emails to share the information needed, and then bring the experts in the room to facilitate the work and understanding in a cohesive manner during the meeting.
  1. I Am Promoting a Focus on the Goals. My final take-away in the agenda autopsy was observing the fragmented agenda items from month to month. While it may be necessary to have some agenda items that are isolated based on a particular need or something that is timely to a situation, the majority of agenda items were disconnected from one another. My new goal is to use the organization’s goals as a filter in determining items to support and lead. Using the goals, I plan on creating agenda items to provide focus, depth, clarity, and support in accomplishing our goals.

Having the home makeover has made my home more enjoyable. I love inviting guests and sharing what makes it special. Similarly, overhauling my meetings has created a warm environment and allows for our team to be even effective in accomplishing our goals!

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