Why do you have meetings?

Are you looking forward to meetings? Many people hear a firm No inside. Meetings are often associated with wasting time and practicing patience. In many organizations, they are the opposite of fun, learning, true connection, positive awareness, and shared purpose. Hence, they do not contribute to a positive culture that needs these four ingredients.

Game your meetings

As Daniel Mezick says in The Culture Game: good games have a clear goal, a clear set of rules, a way to receive feedback or “score” your progress and opt-in participation.
That is often lacking in conventional, regular meetings. Meetings happen because they do, there can be a fuzzy process where some talk and others mentally check out, there’s not always follow-up to action and they are often mandatory.

Hotspots of Culture

Yet, meetings are hotspots of the current culture: it is a very visible platform. Culture is developed and sustained here: people copy each other (aware or not), correct one another (jokingly or seriously) and coach anyone who doesn’t quite fit in.

An intervention in meetings interactions is thus very visible and influences the group dynamics and culture. Imagine the difference if meetings would exemplify positive awareness, connection, learning, and action, and strengthen the shared purpose and meaning. That would enhance a positive, productive culture!

Let’s assess what we see and then review possible interventions “to game your meetings”. Some of these might need formal authority. If you don’t have that, persuade your leader to give these interventions a try. Or propose them and vote in a meeting to try them. You can do a lot more than you think and that’s why we discuss these meeting interventions here and not in Chapter 8 for leaders.

Why meetings?

Many corporate meetings can be seen as rituals. They routinely happen but the real decisions might be made in the hallways, at the coffee machine or in one-on-one conversations. Informing and influencing are done elsewhere, but people attend this “meeting circus” nevertheless.

Observe and ask why people attend meetings. Because they have to? Because they feel important and part of the in-crowd? Because they learn new information, either formal or social? Because they can influence important decisions? Because it matters to be seen by the boss? Or to listen and learn?

What’s true for your organization?

Which of these reasons play a part in your current meetings? Click To Tweet

From a conventional point of view, there are four reasons to meet:
to exchange information (even though status information can be read),
to coordinate tasks
to brainstorm ideas and form an opinion (through discussion or dialogue),
to decide on a topic (either top-down after consultation, by vote, or by consensus).

In a positive organization, there are two added reasons:
to sense what else is possible and what might want to emerge in the organizational system or its surroundings
to follow “the energy” and together take action on what feels urgent or important.

Which of these reasons play a part in your current meetings?

This is book post #68 – Part “WE”

For more insights and advice, order my book Developing a Positive Culture

Check out the online Positive Culture Academy. Let’s be Positive Agents who do revolution by evolution: one interaction at a time, one person at a time. Subscribe to the Academy’s mailing list so I can keep you posted!

Here’s the earlier post
Here‘s the next post

If you’re confused, check the Positive Power overview and read the Positive Agent Manifesto.

By the way, if you want to contribute to a positive workplace culture, my next open workshop on Positive Culture Change Leadership is scheduled for September 2018! More information and registration is only a mouse click away.

© Copyright Marcella Bremer, 2018. All rights reserved.

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