Making Meetings Worth It

By David Cook

Everyone has been to those meetings – there’s no clear cut agenda, no objectives and no leader.  The time ends and everyone walks out asking, “What did we just accomplish?  What are our action items to complete from this meeting?  Was that a waste of my time?  Did we resolve anything or are we going to have to schedule another meeting?”  The result is that people don’t want to attend meetings because they’re not productive.

So what do we do with the fact that communication, focus, creating trust, and a clear vision for company’s future are all necessary for a company to be successful?

We turn bad meetings into good ones.   The book “Traction” by Gino Wickman describes the ideal, a Level 10 Meeting.   Wickman suggests one meeting a week with the executives or leaders in the group for one and half hours (or 4% of your work week) with a clear cut agenda. I know you’re thinking that this is a lot of time, but an affective meeting can make huge strides in productivity.

The Level 10 meeting is set up as follows:

  • Opening -5 mins
  • Scorecard – 5 mins
  • Rocks Review – 5 mins
  • Employee and Customer Headlines 5 mins
  • To Do list 5 mins
  • Issues Discussion 60 mins
  • Conclusion cascading messages.
  • Meeting Rating – 5 mins

(Wickman, Gino. Traction. Dallas: BenBella Books, 2011. Print pages 190-191.)

The scorecard is the main items that are tracked from week to week.  For example, looking at sales for the week, amount of tasks completed since last week, etc.

The Rocks are main goals for the quarter that are being work towards.  This number should not be more than 5 Rocks to make sure that focus is achieved.

The to do list is items that were assigned the previous meeting and need to get an answer of completed, yes or no.  If no, no explanation why, it just gets added to the next weeks to do list.  If to do was important that can be put as an issue to be discussed in the issue section of the meeting.

In the issue discussion, everyone gets a chance to put in their opinion but there is no opportunity to lobby for your view.  The leader of the meeting gives everyone a chance to speak.  At the end of the issue discussion a decision is made as to what to do next.  The leader makes the decision.  There is not a decision by consensus. This is placed on the to do list and the meeting moves to the next issue.

At the end of the meeting you as a team have resolved the issues and have action items to accomplish. Not every issue needs to be discussed in the meeting, only the important ones. Some can be held over until next time.

Level 10 meetings help to facilitate great meetings and help a company or group move forward towards its ultimate goal of success. With this format, everyone knows the expectations, what they agreed they would do, progress is made and time is saved in the end.

Happy meeting everyone!