Teams outperform individuals in virtually any setting. This phenomena is driven by the fact we are certainly smarter together than we are independently. I’m sure these statements don’t surprise you if you have ever been part of a high performance team. What may surprise you is this: I’ve never seen a high performance team who did not have great meetings. Today’s Challenge: Should all our team meetings follow the same structure?This could be the shortest post I’ve ever written – the answer to the question is, no, all your meetings should not follow the same structure. Any questions?? I’m just kidding. I have worked with many teams over the years that have struggled with this same question. The truth is, the meeting design should follow one simple guiding principle…

The structure of the meeting should be determined by what you are trying to accomplish in the meeting.

For some of you, this may be disconcerting. The implication, you can’t just crank out agendas without thinking about each one individually. I use the term “design” in the previous paragraph intentionally. The good news: you can probably develop some templates based on different types of meetings. Here are a few for you to consider. (A quick brainstorm revealed ten different types of meetings! Therefore, I’m going to break this post into two installments. Check back next Friday for the balance of my list.)

Performance Management Meeting – This is the first on the list, because it is the meeting with the highest likelihood of a standard agenda. This is the meeting your team has on a regular, frequent basis. It is also the meeting most people think about when the term Team Meeting is used. Your standard agenda may include: Join-up, scorecard update, and a review of  previous action items. The bulk of the meeting is devoted to solving the problems which impede performance. The magic in these meetings is a focus on improving results. A good rule 0f thumb for these meetings is to devote at least 75% of the allotted meeting time to performance management.

Problem-solving Meeting – The best teams use process to solve their problems. If you think of the collective talent, energy and creativity of your team as a locomotive, a problem solving process is like the tracks for the engine to run on. Without the tracks, the power resident in the engine is unrealized. For many teams, a meeting will be devoted to running down the tracks to solve their most challenging problems. If your team is facing big challenges, you may need to devote an entire meeting to problem solving.

Strategic Planning Meeting – By definition, these meetings have a longer time horizon. Depending on your organization, the time horizon could be 3 years, 5 years, or longer. These meetings usually begin with an environmental scan. Often this is in the form of a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). This is work done outside the meeting and presented to the team to start the process.

Annual Planning Meeting – These meeting often begin with annual goals or strategic priorities. These may have been created by the team or by the organization. Your focus is moving the ball down the field over a 12-month period of time. The outcome is a tactical plan that answers the question: who will do what by when?

Check back next Friday for the rest of the story…[GLS_Shield]

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Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.