“We already have too many meetings around here and they are a waste of my time.”
This was the proclamation of one member of a newly formed leadership team as he entered the room just before the start of our first meeting. From the expressions and body language of those already around the table, it was clear that others shared that same view but were not ready to be so transparent.
The first item on our agenda that morning was purposefully designed to begin to build cohesion (trust and transparency) in this team – as each team member shared a portion of his or her story of their journey to leadership. The team began leaning in as people told parts of their story that many others around the table had never heard.
As we moved through the remainder of the agenda, we were careful to clarify what we had agreed to, what action item(s) came out of our agreement, who would be responsible, and by when it would be accomplished. As we concluded, we asked: what needs to be communicated and who, how, and by when will we communicate it?
I would like to tell you that by our second meeting we were off and running smoothly, with every team member fully engaged. But that was not the case. However, month after month, incrementally but steadily, this team grew in effectiveness and productivity through a consistent focus on:
- Building cohesion and trust among the team
- Engaging in productive conflict and ensuring that every voice was heard
- Building clarity (What are we doing? Why are we doing it? How are we following through?)
- Intentional communication both within the team and throughout the organization
We knew we had turned a corner when, seven months after our initial meeting, the team had to decide whether to skip or reschedule a monthly leadership team meeting. The team member who once proclaimed that meetings were “a waste of time,” now proclaimed, “We can’t skip the meeting. We have too many things to talk about and can’t afford to miss a month!”
A consistent focus on cohesion, clarity, and communication CAN transform individual leaders and teams into highly effective and productive individuals/teams. So don’t resist meetings – just make your meetings count.
North Group would be honored to work with you and your organization in developing a strong, cohesive leadership team.