If you like me – you have attended far too many work meetings over the years. They can be productive. Many of us have attended meetings with no clear agenda and they tend to be a waste of productive time. In many cases, the actual meeting is used for gathering or given information and the exchange really doesn’t make any important decisions. We all realize that decisions can be and are made outside of meetings. As leaders, before we call a meeting, we have some choices to make:
- Can the decision be made by the supervisor alone?
- Does the decision require input from others before you made the final call? – If so, a meeting should be necessary.
- Does the decision require direct collaboration with others to help you make the final call?
- Should the decision be made by a consensus of people where mutual support is given to a particular direction?
We all have had these types of decision making steps. So how can we make our meeting times more productive and meaningful?
1. Leaders, don’t waste people’s time to discuss an issue you have already decided. If you never take their advice – this will erode their trust in you as a leader.
2. If you do need input – what kinds of data or information do you need to make the decision? Invite those to the meeting who can truly help with that information.
3. Who will be impacted by this decision? In some cases, bring them into the loop will avoid making the wrong decision. There are so many cases of leaders being angry on the final decisions because they were not consulted during the process.
4. How important is it to communicate big decisions in a way that others understand the rationale and purpose? The public sector uses hearings or forums to gain support or feedback before decisions are finalized.
People usually support changes that are done with lots of input or they see the benefits in doing it. There is a fine balance in establishing trust for solo decisions and getting group input for important changes. Big changes are sometimes difficult to make especially if they involved budget cuts and everyone wants to protect their resources.
Do your meetings include a decision?