Time is precious. For many of us, meetings take a huge percentage of our time. I am often struck by how often a meeting’s—

  1. Purpose is unclear
  2. Agenda is a list of topics to report on or discuss.
  3. Attendees are many, with significant variance in accountability and value-add.
  4. Discussion is presentation-debate-adjournment, only to need another meeting.

And, we complain about our calendar packed with meetings, double- and triple-booked.

How do you set the agenda for your team?

Here are some ideas to consider. Have your team’s agenda focus on:

  1. Working on a specific problem or opportunity that could use some new thinking or is particularly gnarly.
  2. Making critical, complex decisions, especially with cross-team accountability.
  3. Diagnosing cross-functional efforts.
  4. Informing/educating/aligning the full team on a deeper level about a key initiative.
  5. Building relationship strategies that cut across the team.
  6. Understanding top talent capabilities and interest.

Two common tendencies to reconsider

A couple of general recommendations:

  1. No more round-the-table updates, unless you can make them truly meaningful. Have another way to share information and progress updates.
  2. Carefully consider which items can be accomplished with a subset of the team, saving meeting time for other members.

I am currently thinking about this topic as it relates to my own work with teams. In reflection, I think the real magic of teams rarely occurs in a formal meeting. Rather, it occurs in working with each other. Of course, work does often need to get accomplished in meetings. But, I think we can all do a much better job of ensuring meetings are productive, and working our teams in the right combination of roles.

What agenda do you think would support your team’s success?