Recently, I worked with a CEO who was frustrated with his company’s current speed of execution. With my assignment, I sat in on their weekly staff meetings. To my surprise, no one was keeping a formal action item list! The meeting expectation had become focused on updates…not results. So, I offered this experience from my past.
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I too have run weekly team meetings only to watch them lose effectiveness over time – whether it had an action item list or not. We all know meetings can be a grind. How can we keep meetings fresh and increase efficacy? Well, I hit on something that has often worked for me: Let the team hold each other accountable for the action items!
In principle, the “around the horn” staff meetings are vital. However, without proper associate interaction they can turn into: “keep your head down,” “try not to get action items,” “only speak when you have to” – or – no one is asks the right questions, and people dodge the answers.
My solution was simple…and it worked: each week a different person was responsible for managing the meeting, i.e. gather input and sending out the agenda, booking the room, keeping us on time, etc. Additionally, another colleague was responsible for the action item list….and guess who managed the meeting the following week? Yep: the action item list person!
What was the result?
The action item list became an effective tool that was driven to completion by employees who knew they were next up. The tone of the meetings completely changed when I stepped back and let others take part in shaping the agenda. The team became far more interactive (lesson learned on my part). Colleagues who once felt topics were getting dodged were empowered to contribute to the dynamic agenda. The meetings became highly efficient, with increased productivity conjoined to the increased involvement. Our group transformed from isolated individuals into an effective team.
And the CEO I mentioned in the beginning? We’re tracking his changes and increases in productivity with his team as you’re reading this, and I appreciate his willingness to allow me to share part of his struggle with you. It’s a common struggle. Hopefully, you too will find results with this solution.
Adding associate interaction (and rotating responsibility) to your meetings will begin that upward spiral in effective meetings with completed action items.
Once you’ve given it a try, let me know how it worked for your group!
Daniel Nix is a co-founder of ThinkWell Consulting, LLC. Daniel writes about messaging, human capital, and culture. Daniel believes that the growth of content, social media, digital, and AI, makes now the most exciting time to be in business and that individuals who harness these tools can be more powerful than ever.