The amount of meetings that end with unclear next action steps is huge. The amount of meetings that end with zero communication next steps is even bigger. Whatever the type of meeting (because you should not only have one), today’s rant is about the latter.
While intranets, internal chat, company newsletters, etc. have swept the globe, clear next messages for the company or the relevant teams within a defined period of time after an executive or any meeting for that matter seems to have been entirely lost.
While leaders harp on about unaligned and disengaged employees, the unsexy discipline of effective meeting endings and cascading communication seems too simplistic to help tackle this issue for many. While, in fact, its power lies in simplicity and discipline.
My best guess is: because it’s absolutely free and possible for a child to do it. I can read a “how much are we paying this guy?!” or a “you do realize I have an MBA right?!” of a forehead when I see it, and I can see the results in companies where they do this.
Running tight meeting endings with next steps for cascading communication so leaders can go to their respective teams and communicate things in a personal, simple and actionable manner (and further down) is like oil for your employee engagement engine.
Don’t kill all the sexy stuff, but don’t use it for communicating decisions and actions, and if you don’t trust your own discipline, go ahead and use a meeting tool or appoint a person to keep everyone accountable for meeting endings and communication.
What About Content?
Another thing that plays is a team’s inability to discuss passionately and simultaneously live peacefully with the fact that a company is not a democracy. It would be extremely weird if everyone thinks exactly the same about a certain topic, which is the whole point.
If everything is not out on the table, and if you don’t understand that after a decision has been made, it’s your job to communicate and execute on that as best as possible regardless of your original position, how will the organization experience alignment?
If you’re not sure what you’re committing to, ask! Clarifying how a decision will get made depending on the topic is also helpful to allow participants to step into their responsibility. Management 3.0 thinker Jurgen Appelo invented delegation poker exactly for this purpose.
Running great meetings is not something you learn in business school. It’s not something that will get them ranked #1, although it probably should. This post focused mostly about meeting endings and the how and why of post-meeting communication.
Like stretching, it’s simple, it’s boring, and I refuse to even try and make it exciting, but it’s ridiculously effective when applied with rigorous discipline. Unlike stretching, not doing it doesn’t just affect you, but the engagement of your entire organization.
You know what to do :).
Appelo, J. (2015). Management 3.0. Pearson Education.
Lencioni, P.M. (2015). Death By Meeting.John Wiley & Sons Inc.