When you ask someone what they do for a living, it’s not likely that they’ll answer with “Well, I sit in meetings all day.” But when you look at the average businessperson’s schedule, it’s clear that meetings make up a substantial part of many jobs—especially for those in leadership.
Meetings are often dismissed as a waste of time, but meetings that have a clear purpose and are well run can actually make things go more smoothly and save time.
And what happens after those meetings is just as important.
Dealing with meetings is a frequent topic in my work with hundreds of organizations as a leadership coach. I’ve devised a simple system to help my clients have the kind of meetings they need for the best results possible.
An important part of that system is ending a meeting. Here are the three things you need to make sure you do before adjourning any meeting:
Confirm key decisions. Make sure everyone is on the same page about any decisions that were made. It’s important that everyone comes away with a shared understanding, because it will help focus everyone to move in the same direction. You can ensure this by putting two quick questions to the group:
- What topics did we discuss?
- What decisions did we confirm?
Agree upon next action steps. Have everyone agree upon next steps and what actions will be taken. Make it clear that you expect each step to be fulfilled as agreed upon, and that any changes or unforeseen obstacles need to be discussed as soon as they emerge. Ask the group these questions related to next steps:
- What was agreed upon for next steps?
- What are the deadlines?
Create commitments. Be clear about the commitments and responsibilities that are made during the meeting so you can follow up by sending everyone involved a communication about the key objectives and actions items. The goal is for everyone to commit to accomplishing their tasks on schedule. Make sure to assign someone to check in at appropriate intervals to ensure that the commitments are being kept and, when necessary, re-evaluated in light of unexpected issues. These three questions ensure that commitments are understood:
- Who is responsible for what?
- How will we communicate this information?
- Who will conduct follow-up?
One of the biggest complaints I have from the leaders I coach is that they spend much too much time in meetings, leaving them with less time to do their jobs. But I’ve seen firsthand that a good system for meetings can limit distractions and keep everyone focused on what needs to get done so you get the results you want.
Lead from within: Meetings happen whether we want them or not. It is what we do in our meetings that makes a difference, and with a smarter approach to meetings you can be an even smarter leader.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStockPhotos
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.