Death by Meeting Book Study, Week 5

So, what do we conclude about meetings? They’re critical, they’re painful, and they must happen in order to reap the rewards that make this time together a good thing.

Here’s a recap of the model outlined by author Patrick Lencioni on how to have effective meetings that will lead to higher morale, faster and better decisions, and greater results. As you review these principles, think about how you’ll implement them into your meetings with leaders and volunteers in the upcoming weeks and months.

Dramatic Flair
Lencioni claims that meetings are inherently boring and the statement is typically very true. Usually, we run from dramatic situations but in a meeting, a little bit of conflict can produce interest, engaging conversation, productivity, and even a little bit of fun. Leaders need to be “mining for conflict.” That is, looking for issues and topics that spark conversation on both sides of an issue.

Think On This: How can you mine for conflict to keep conversation in meetings stimulating and productive? How can this be a scary move—especially in ministry? What is one issue that you can talk about at your next meeting to bring a bit of controversy and fun to your meeting?

Setting Up for Success
One of the insights in the transformation of meetings at YIP was in structure. Lencioni hits it on target when he says this: “The single biggest structural problem facing leaders of meetings is the tendency to throw every type of issue that needs to be discussed into the same meeting, like a bad stew with too many random ingredients,” (p. 235). Here’s a game plan that may take some time to establish but, once it’s rolling, it will produce meetings that are worth attending.

  • The Daily Check-In: A quick five minutes is all it takes to start the day out with productivity. Team members get together, report on what they’re doing for the day, and then get back to work. Everyone feels communicated to, valued, accountable, and this can eliminate a lot of confusion and unnecessary emails or schedule coordinations.
  • The Weekly Tactical: A time for everyone to gather for a couple of hours each week. A lightning round report on what people are working on or highs and lows and then on to key personnel reporting on progress in areas such as budget, weekend attendance, or other issues that have an effect on everyone present. Then, based on these two reports, set a real-time agenda for one or two topics that appear to be key issues.
  • The Monthly Strategic: This is a monthly meeting where key leaders or executives grapple with, analyze, debate, and decide on critical issues that will affect the church or ministry in fundamental ways. This meeting addresses strategy and allows key leaders to table critical issues at the weekly tactical knowing with confidence that there will be time to tackle them at this monthly meeting.
  • The Quarterly Off-Site Review: Key leaders take time away to address key issues that require reflection and review. This is a time to look at team and personnel reviews, overall strategy—including goals and vision, and grapple with trends or what is and isn’t working. Although this meeting takes place off campus, it should limit the social activities and provide adequate time to focus on work.

Think On This: How can we implement this meeting schedule into our ministry/church? What will be our challenges? What will be the rewards? How can we assure buy-in from team members as we make these changes?