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Need ideas for outcome based team meetings

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  • Need ideas for outcome based team meetings

    Greetings!

    I have a small team of psychologists (4 others besides myself). In the beginning it seemed as if we were pretty goal oriented, focused, and got things done.

    It seems as if we are now much more discuss/analyze and never seem to come to a resolution on things.

    Anyone have any team meeting agenda formats that would lead us to not only discuss/analyze but then to come to resolution? E.g., our desired outcome, who does what, when, etc.

    THANKS!

  • #2
    Agenda don't matter: Chairs matter a lot

    What you need is firstly an effective Chair. With an effective Chair, meetings run smooth, fast, and productive. Without an effective Chair, meetings wiffle on interminably, get bogged down discussing minutiae, and never generate any Next Actions or assign responsibilities.

    In a little more detail, the Chair needs to:

    1) Limit discussion, so that everyone can have a say, but discussion is cut off if it starts to repeat itself or diverge from the agenda item;

    2) Compel the team to generate at least one NA for every agenda item;

    3) Make sure the NAs are assigned to individuals to do, and have follow up dates (like the next meeting);

    4) Ensure that, at the next meeting, the NAs have been done, and that more NAs are generated based on the results (ie making new agenda items from the last meeting's NAs).

    That's about all I can think of right now. Hope that helps.

    Comment


    • #3
      What if, in the next meeting, as soon as the discussion turned to meandering analysis, you leaned forward and said, "So, what's the next action we could do on this?" Do you think that might help?

      Comment


      • #4
        Wow! You're describing so many threads on this forum

        Thanks for raising this question and the checklist for the role of chair! So often the threads on this and other forums meander off of the original request into endless analysis and opinion mongering. Are there any best practices for forum participants to keep threads from becoming so much stuff that we have to wade through with diminishing returns? I'm fairly new to posting on the internet so don't know how high my expectations could be. Is it feasable for forum participants to self moderate?
        Pack Matthews

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        • #5
          A couple of general meeting management techniques...

          Develop an agenda ahead of time with estimated time allocations for each topic. The chair should then review the agenda and time allocations at the beginning of the session. If anyone wants to tweak the agenda, now is the time to do so. This should take only 1 or two minutes max.

          The chair should assign someone to take notes of decisions, NAs, etc. Most of the planner companies have reasonable effective "meeting forms." As a previous response indicated, the key is to agree on a NA, person responsible, and due date.

          Someone should also be assigned the responsibility to monitor time. When 5 minutes or so remain of the allocated time on a topic, the "timekeeper" should let the group know to wrap discussion up in the remaining time.

          I'm not sure it's applicable in a small session such as yours, but I distribute "ELMO" cards to all participants in meetings and training sessions. Anyone can discretely hold up his/her ELMO card to catch the chair/leader's attention. ELMO is short for "Enough, Let's Move On."

          Comment


          • #6
            I love the ELMO cards idea! That is great. Maybe I'll take my kid's Elmo doll with me to our next manager's meeting and sit him on the table in front of me when it is time to move on!

            Comment


            • #7
              Dead Horse, Bunny Trail

              I was not in the meeting, but I understand there were a series of meetings at my company where people were given signs for Dead Horse and Bunny Trail. When anyone felt that the group was "Beating a Dead Horse", they held up that sign. When they felt they were going down a Bunny Trail, they held up that sign.

              Also, I know we've had meetings here when something was being reviewed where the rules were, if you agree with everything on the page, don't say anything. Only speak up when there's something that needs to be changed. (Otherwise you can have people commenting on and on in agreement with what's already completed work.)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by unstuffed View Post
                2) Compel the team to generate at least one NA for every agenda item;

                3) Make sure the NAs are assigned to individuals to do, and have follow up dates (like the next meeting);

                4) Ensure that, at the next meeting, the NAs have been done, and that more NAs are generated based on the results (ie making new agenda items from the last meeting's NAs).

                I really like a minutes format with the following columns:
                Open Issue or Item (This may start as an issue and migrate to the desired outcome)
                Original Date (Date the item was first on the agenda)
                Due Date
                Completion Date
                Who (Person responsible for the Next Action)
                Status (Dated entries showing the progress of the action. Most current listed on top. These can get cleaned out when they're stale. A quick read of the items should give you a sense of the history of the item and what's happening right now.)

                this document then serves the next week as the agenda for "old business". We've moved to a prettier document that's intended to be a status for management. I miss this old format which was very good for getting a team to Get Things Done. (It's really obvious when someone isn't making progress and every week their update is I'll do that next week.)

                Also - Put a list of the invitees in the minutes somewhere with attendance at that meeting noted.

                Once an item is completed, Note it as complete and keep it in the minutes for a week so you have it as a record.

                And although people should be able to jot down their action items in the meeting, getting minutes out quickly helps remind people what they committed to do.

                Even if you're an attendee and not the chair, you can push for the NAs. If someone is going on and on, you can say, I'm not sure I'm following, what is it you're recommending as the next action? If they're moving on to the next topic, "so to recap, who's doing abc and when will it be done?" Always need an action, a person and a date.

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