Team Meetings – Too many or Too Few?

Team Meetings – Too many or Too Few?

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Team Meetings - Too Many or Too Few?

Hi my name is David Arrington, and welcome to the leadership show that has no name. So today I'm answering a question I've heard a number of times. And if you want to get your question answered on the leadership show that has no name simply do this; just tweet at me @DMackArrington and hashtag it #AskDrDave. And I'll answer your question right here on the show.

Team Structure Matters

So today's question is simply this; how many times do I need to meet with my team? Leading meetings is a key leadership skill and by the general loathing for meetings, most meetings are ineffective. So most leaders try to minimize the number of meetings with their teams because they are already in wall-to-wall meetings. Is that a good thing for the team though?

Well you're not gonna like the first part of this. Because it depends on how your team is designed, who's all your team, where they're located. Is it a virtual team, a global team, a collocated team, an ad hoc team? Because all of these are gonna play a factor into the number of times you meet. So there really isn't a one-size-fits-all.

There are general ideas out there, once a month, once a week, things like that. But don't get caught up on the number of times you meet because you probably aren't meeting often enough. When team members make mistakes, yes it can be a skill or competence gap, but often it's that they were unclear on the leader's desired outcome. The problem isn't the meetings but how, who and what happens in them.

You probably need more meetings. Yeah I said it and no I'm not a masochist. I think you may be having the wrong types of meetings. Some soul-crushing meetings: update meetings (seriously send it to me in an email), time wasting meetings, meetings where most of the people aren't even speaking, meetings where people dominate and derail or cubical drive bys which aren't even meetings.

I talk about this a lot when I'm brought in to discuss how accountability increases performance. One of my favorite John Kotter quotes is that managers under communicate and not by a little bit (I'm paraphrasing). So gauge the number of meetings you think are necessary by the scope and importance of the project you are tackling.

The number of meetings is not an indication of low intelligence levels on your team but the under communication, miscommunication, and misunderstanding that is common everywhere. When the stakes are high, it's more important than ever that everyone is on the same page.

Rule of thumb: the higher the priority and the more important the outcomes, the more meetings you need to have to ensure you have everyone on the same page.

Gauge the number of meetings you are having by the scope and importance of the project you are tackling.

What Are You Trying To Do?

Here's the second point; you need to focus on the results you're trying to achieve. So if you feel that everyone is clear on what you're trying to achieve, you might be able to get away with meeting once a month. Everyone understands what they're doing and everybody stays on task. Awesome!

Then there are other teams and that doesn't have the same drive and focus. You may need to meet with the team as a whole and or individuals once a week to make sure they stay on task and that things are moving forward. So what you don't want to do is think about just the number of meetings. You want to stay focused on the results you're trying to achieve. Because after all the meetings are to facilitate the results.

Meeting Outcomes

Understand that these meetings serve a purpose. And as you go have your meetings, you have to remember that each meeting needs to have a specific outcome. I personally don't think you should have a meeting just because it's on the calendar. If you can't achieve the outcomes for the meeting, postpone it or cancel it. Don't have a meeting if it serves no purpose.

Don't have a meeting and waste everybody's time if you're just going through the motions, because we need to have a meeting. That ends up reducing people's desire to go to meetings. It ends up reducing their there their buy-in to accomplishing the end goals.

Bad Meetings Kill... Morale

Bad meetings not only waste time they squander engagement. If you don't believe me, believe the Harvard Business Review. That was number three, you you can have more meetings but you really just need to be focused on the results you're looking to get.

And finally, it's going to depend: how many meetings you have depends on what you're trying to accomplish, and how your team is put together. So, if you want to get your question answered on The Leadership Show that has No Name simply tweet at me @DmackArrington with the hashtag #AskDrDave,  and I'll answer your question right here on this show.

So until next time,

Make today count.

About the author 

Dr. David Arrington

David a husband, father and the principal of Arrington Coaching. He and his team work with leaders, teams, organizations, and entrepreneurs. He regularly speaks and writes on leadership development, team alignment, and peak performance.

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