Effective Meetings: The mechanics of leadership
Meetings designed for a changing world
The biggest change we are seeing is in how we collaborate. But are we simply responding to that change? Or are we actively thinking through a strategy to make the best of it?
Are we thinking about meetings, or do they just happen?
The traditional meeting paradigm of people sat around a table (still replicated even in virtual meetings) was better suited to a more rigid, managerial mindset. But channelling our current decision making needs through such control bottlenecks is creating stress, overwork and frustration.
We recognise the need for more distributed ownership in our drive to a leadership mindset, and in the idea that leadership can be the responsibility of everyone. But such leadership requires a greater degree of insight and ownership if it is to be effective - and there are many more effective ways of building this insight and ownership than sitting around a table.
The resources available through Inspirometer are intended to equip you to begin to adopt those ways for yourself, and to evolve your own meetings into ones which maximise their leadership impact.
Goal: Inspiring Leadership
Success in conducting effective meetings is not defined by topics covered or decisions made. It is measured by the change in the attitudes, insight & commitment of the people leaving the 'room'.
It is about their empowerment (in the widest possible sense) to do what may be required, and to inspire others to do the same.
Meetings are the place where your organisational culture is created. They are places where: purposes are aligned; creativity sparked; ownership wrought; enthusiasm fired; confidence built; courage engaged; teamwork fostered; values reinforced; and people grown.
Or they are places where none of this happens.
The difference lies in the extent to which the meeting is effective in making these an integral part of how it engages people in the work being done.
Developing powerful leadership requires all of the above to be drawn out of people rather than pushed into them, and the use of effective meeting tools will make a big difference in how quickly and completely this can happen.
You can access a wide range of such tools via the Next Steps (Individual) section below.
Approach: Full engagement
Commitment is born of ownership, and ownership grows through contributing to the shape of the solution, and the ideas within it.
Leadership-ready meetings enable full participation of everyone using simple tools and techniques to draw out everyone's ideas and build collective resolve.
Traditional meetings tend to be single channel in nature. Inputs take place sequentially, using a limited set of senses. This makes them inefficient in engaging everyone all of the time, and makes them vulnerable to being dominated by strong personalities and squeezing out quieter perspectives and styles.
Leadership-ready meetings use simple multi-channel multi-sensory tools to engage everybody in developing a more complete and balanced picture, more quickly, which has full ownership.
The tools are designed to equip the team with the right process at the right time and ensure better answers with greater commitment to taking them forward. These tools can be created in minutes and work equally well in physical and virtual meeting environments.
Means: Self-learning tools
There are literally hundreds of ways to collaborate on a decision. Most of the time we default to two (presentation & debate) mainly because we lack the confidence (or knowledge) to use the others.
Inspirometer provides simple steps for people to confidently adopt and adapt a wider range of best-practice tools and techniques gradually within their existing meetings.
Starting out might be as simple as adopting a different way of gathering people's perspectives on an issue, and seeing how it goes. In this way the organiser can adopt simple fun approaches to different bits of the meeting.
Inspirometer also includes an effortless feedback tool which automatically sets-up single-click feedback for your meetings, and enables you to learn from what is working and what is not.
There are also guides available to help you to review your meeting structure and approach from a leadership-ready perspective. Access to these can be found via the Next Steps (Individual) section below.
Tracking: Automated data
The biggest problem with meetings is that the people who run them are not equipped with the data to improve them. As a result, those who run poor meetings are largely unaware of the fact.
Inspirometer provides a gentle, supportive means by which people can quickly see their strengths and address areas of weakness.
Inspirometer's effortless feedback tool builds up into a complete analysis of your meetings, trending key characteristics, enabling you to track your progress, and guiding you to productive strategies.
And since meetings are the cultural core of your organisation, the data generated provides deep insight into the extent to which you are building a culture which truly values, inspires, develops and supports leadership.
Inspirometer provides the means to track key values across your organisation, and ensure the culture being developed is the one that you want.
Next Steps (Individual)
If you are already aware of how you wish to improve, simply go to the clinic and select a simple strategy to begin to move forward - you will find some initial help on this below.
If you are not aware, or if you wish to track your progress (which will prove key to sustained improvement) install Inspirometer and use it to guide and encourage you on your way.
To begin your journey, we would point out the following helpful resources which are available to you:
- Meeting tool selection chart
- Useful meeting tools and techniques
- The structure of leadership-ready meetings
- An overview of the meetings clinic
- Guidance on (1) setting up, and (2) installing and using Inspirometer
Next Steps (Organisational)
Unlike the performance gains seen in virtually every other business process, meeting performance has remained largely static (and low).
In large part, this is because, unlike every other business process, organisations lack the data to manage that improvement.
Given the increasing importance of collaboration and personal relationships moving forward, it is vitally important for organisations to resolve this issue. Adopting Inspirometer across the business enables this to happen.
No business process has been sustainably improved without data. The meetings process is no exception, and most organisations lack even the basic data, such as how much time is spent in them.
However, Inspirometer uses the data already available through your calendar system, combined with the feedback being generated, to develop a comprehensive set of organisation-wide real-time metrics.
These metrics include time, impact, quality, engagement, travel, mix, productivity (see Workplace Analytics)
Furthermore, the results are deployed in real-time to all leaders in a position to do something about them, automatically building local ownership for improvement.
For guidance on how you can use Inspirometer to access the power of leadership in your own organisation, please contact us.
There is no better time to start
(except perhaps yesterday)
Inspirometer's Meeting Metrics can provide a return of 100x based on productivity alone. But its real value is cultural: engagement; creativity; joy!
Our meeting effectiveness metrics and collaboration metrics address all aspects of how your meetings impact everything that is important to your business: progress; customers; engagement; creativity; wellbeing; travel; and culture.
Our support tools enable your people to select appropriate and straightforward strategies that are right for their teams in their situation, and to build meeting effectiveness from the bottom up.
The productivity gains available are huge - a doubling of meeting effectiveness, leading to a 10-20% time saving for your people. But productivity is probably the least of the benefits that are realised through better, more fulfilling and empowering, more creative and engaging, meetings.