Today’s managers and their employees are busy. There’s never enough time in the day to ‘get it all done.’ As an HR manager or someone who is acting in an HR role, you can help your managers maximize their time and accomplish their objectives. Meetings that begin without a plan go astray quickly and become big time wasters. CAI’s Tom Sheehan shares his tips below to help your managers understand the keys to successful and effective meetings.
Here’s the thing about meetings. They all start off with good intentions. Someone calls a meeting to communicate an important update or new initiative. The next thing you know, you’ve wasted an hour of your time sitting through what appears to be a ‘stream of consciousness’ discussion with no real outcomes. While the exchanges may have therapeutic value, little else is gained.
Follow these four simple rules to improve meeting effectiveness:
1. Don’t hold a meeting without a documented agenda
Without an agenda, you have laid the groundwork for a rambling ‘free for all.’ How will you know if your meeting is getting off track if you never bothered to define the track?
2. Discuss progress vs. goals
During tactical staff meetings, make certain that the start of each meeting is dedicated to a review of how the team is progressing relative to its goals. You may also want to give a quick update on how the company is performing toward its goals.
3. Tactical and strategic discussions should be addressed in separate meetings
Oftentimes, these topics have mutually exclusive participants. By mixing the two together you can ‘cloud’ the discussion. For example, do you really want administrative staff involved in discussions that relate to establishing strategy? Conversely, does an executive leader need to be involved in lower-level procedural tactics?
4. Meetings must end with clear-cut and specific agreements around decisions and actions to be taken
The worst thing that can happen is to walk out of a meeting without confirmation about what has been decided. The reality is that each of us will interpret what was discussed through our own lens. As a result, without confirmation, we will apply our own set of rules to the outcome. A typical response at a subsequent meeting might sound like this…”well we talked about that change, but I don’t think anything was actually finalized.”
CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.
Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team. He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.