Most of us recognise how our increasingly VUCA future requires us to continuously develop & engage the best in our people. >>
VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. The global market place, agile new entrants, technology advances and consumer expectations create an environment of continuous, unpredictable, and often disruptive change. At the same time, much of what was routine has been automated, and much of the need for people to do low-level repetitive work has been removed. Increasingly, people’s work concerns things that humans do better than machines – building relationships, coming up with ideas, adapting, flexing, caring, creating, collaborating. All things that are vital in responding to continuous change.
The evidence of this can be seen in how our language is changing. The term ‘manager’ with its connotations of formality and defined remit is in general decline. It is increasingly supplanted by the term ‘leader’ with its connotations of direction and movement; of creating an environment in which adapting, flexing, caring, creating and collaborating can work together to a shared and evolving, purpose.
Leadership is change! >>
Realising potential; developing relationships; creating solutions; facilitating teamwork; inspiring and harnessing talent. It is about bringing people together to utilise the best of each other in developing solutions and commitment to deliver success.
And the key mechanism the leader has for delivering this change, whether one-to-one or group, locally or at a distance, is through meetings. However our traditional approach to meetings is no longer fit for purpose in this regard. Their form is better suited to the era of management. >>
An era of management where relationships, responsibilities and ways of working were largely stable; where presentations and debate took place within a fixed framework, and were sufficient to keep the framework functioning. Where one person had the knowledge, and the others were primarily required to listen, clarify, and apply what was agreed.
But that framework is no longer fixed. Far from it. Our future success depends on it continuously adapting, and meetings no longer take place within it but around it and about it, altering the framework itself to what is needed. Everybody understands different parts of the puzzle, and everybody’s perspective has value. To accommodate this, the approach we take to meetings needs to evolve to one which better inspires insight, solicits creative inputs, engages full participation, develops teamwork and builds commitment.
Conversely, leadership needs to deliver agility and requires meetings which generate energy, lift people up, empower them to do their best, and make them feel part of something bigger.
Your best leaders may already be doing this to some degree, but the reality is too many meetings fall short of what is needed. >>
And the consequences of this are wasted time, demotivation, frustration, political behaviours, slow progress, unfulfilled actions and a general dislike of meetings. Furthermore, the resulting inefficiency needs to be compensated for.
You can see the consequences of this in an increasing number of meetings, packed diaries, increased busy-ness for your most senior people, stress, and sometimes illness. The fact is that the combination of a continuously changing work environment and an unchanging meeting environment has created critical inefficiencies in most organisations – much of which is invisible to the reporting systems. >>
While the problem of meeting inefficiency is recognised anecdotally, in a general dissatisfaction and level of complaint against meetings (albeit more from people attending the meeting than those who are organising it), lack of tangible data on meeting costs and performance has meant that issues surrounding the ‘fitness for purpose’ of meetings has sort of ‘slipped under the radar’. People are generally aware that there IS an issue, but they are not sure how big it is, and they don’t really know what to do about it.
Where such data does exist, it is clear that meetings are less than 50% efficient, and take up about 50% of our senior people’s working lives. In other words, they are probably the greatest source of waste in your organisation today, but without the data they are not recognised as such.
However, as the rate of change increases, the need for effective collaboration will grow, and the issue of meeting inefficiency will inevitably come to a head, at least in those organisations which are to survive the transition.
The good news is that the changes required to adapt meetings to better support effective leadership are less that you may realise, many of them are already well known, all are within the public domain and adopting them can be fun, energising, even releasing for people: leaders and participants alike. >>
A wide range of simple, easy to apply, options exist to better equip and enable people to participate fully in developing conclusions and building ownership for delivering them. Whether you are looking for principles of approach, helpful structures, means of participation, techniques for better engagement, simple tools, ways to raise the energy, questions to build commitment, insights into meeting behaviour, facilitation methods, tips for generating consensus, templates for drawing out insight … simple proven solutions already exist and can be incorporated effortlessly into your meetings. For examples visit https://clinic.inspirometer.com
Furthermore, it is now possible to gather meeting data almost effortlessly, and this empowers leaders with the means to sustainably improve their own meetings, using approaches which suit their own particular style and requirements, and which build on their strengths. >>
Calendars already contain the key information required to understand meeting spend and to provide context for understanding feedback. Easy to install add-ins can collate this information in the background and configure simple mobile apps to record single click feedback data. As a result, leaders can see how they spend the organisations time in meetings, and how well that is fulfilling their leadership goals. They can then use this insight to determine the most helpful things to change and identify small practical adjustments to bring this about.
In this way, meetings can be as flexible as the situations they are required to address.
In other words, by setting up the right environment, organisations can enable a situation where meeting improvement is a natural, distributed, form of leadership self-development.
Inspirometer is all about helping you to set up that environment. We provide a wealth of easy to adopt strategies to improve meetings, and enable your people to adapt their approach at their own speed, step by step creating meeting environments which fulfil their leadership needs. And we provide individual and collective measurement systems so that people can identify which strategies will be most powerful for them and then track the impact of these strategies and adapt them until they are fully effective. >>
We provide simple dashboards for each user giving them real-time information on their meeting spend and the extent to which it is creating the desired impact. Analysis of meeting strengths and areas-for-development link directly into a menu of appropriate strategies which can be easily adapted and adopted to the needs of the situation.
That same measurement system also enables the organisation to see its overall progress on improving meeting effectiveness, and the impact that is having on culture, productivity and its people – equipping it to develop broader strategies and provide input and coaching where it is most needed. >>
Our comprehensive system of meeting data, although effortless to obtain, contains a wealth of insight into how well your culture is adaption to the stresses and strains of operating in the new business environment. It enables you to identify systemic solutions (such as training resources or policy/system changes) and to target support where it will be most effective. It can be fully integrated into your management reporting tools and used to deploy responsibility for maintaining a diverse, inclusive, creative, healthy, ownership culture consistent with empowering your organisation to not only survive its VUCA environment, but to utilise it constructively, and ultimately to drive it as a force for good.
Our approach to working with clients is based out of the system itself:
- We initially deploy calendar add-ins as a survey tool, enabling you to determine the benefits available to you and to define a vision for the cultural, operational, and financial differences you want to bring about through meeting effectiveness
- We work with you to develop a deployment strategy which will engage people positively in improving their own meetings (both as leaders and as attendees) and configure the system and its resources to bring this about
- We help you to establish the system as an integral part of how you work, sustaining meeting effectiveness as a means for leadership development and as an active agent for change and a self-transforming organisation
For further information, contact us here.