Death by Meeting

Patrick Lencioni presents a very comprehensive meeting model in his book Death by Meeting.  I certainly recommend a little customization for each unique situation, but the Lencioni has done a marvelous job laying a foundation. 

The basis of Lecioni’s model is to do multiple meetings instead of cramming multiple purposes into one standing meeting.  Skip to the back of the book if you’d like to digest the model without alliteration.  Page 249 says almost everything.

Book Notes:  The two problems with most meetings is that they lack drama and contextual structure.  You can add drama to meetings by framing the urgency/stakes of the topic at hand, and then fostering an environment where opposing ideas are welcomed.  Regarding contextual structure, you should aim at four different meetings instead of one that does it all: 

  1. Daily Check-In (5 min)
  • Team members disclose what they have on their plate for that day.  This avoids confusion and inures that staff priorities are acted on.
  1. Weekly Tactical
  • Lightening Round: 60 seconds from each team member on priorities for the week
  • Progress Review: Reporting metrics that evaluate desired performance.
  • Real-Time Agenda: Spontaneous discussion of 1) what we need to fix this week, and 2) what we need to flag for strategic review.
  1. Monthly Strategic
  • Analyze, debate, and resolve the most critical issues of the organization.
  • Schedule lots of time and few issues. 
  1. Quarterly Off-Site Review
  • Includes Team Review (maximizing staff potential), Personnel Review (the best and worst employees), Competitive Industry Review (trends and happenings)
  • Don’t use these meetings to lecture or waist them with social “fun-time” distractions.
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2 responses to “Death by Meeting

  1. Ericka Howard

    Hmmm…just looking at my role as home mananger, and considering how this information applies to me.

    Not that in a marriage we need to have formal meetings, persay…but Brent and I already do this sort of thing to some extent. We try to talk for a couple minutes daily about logistical things–who’s doing what when. Then weekly we attempt to make a point to sit down with our calendars to talk about priorities and upcoming things.

    I’d like to see us add in the monthly and quarterly reviews in some form, though. I suppose our date nights function in this way at times, but if we were more aware of preparing ahead of time to occasionally use our date time together this way, that would be good.

    Our communication system (that we’ve stumbled into over the years!) keeps us like-minded in our priorities and moving in the same direction. When we are diligent about setting time aside for this type of communication, our relationship and teamwork just gets better and better. In the times when we let it slip, we tend to have more conflict and frustration.

    Thanks for the review of this book!

  2. Ericka,

    Great application! I hadn’t tied the book to family dynamics while reading it, but you’re right on. There’s no tighter team than family, and therefore a need for the strongest communication.

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