Meetings – the most important process

The effectiveness of your organisation will be determined by:

  • The level of insight you gain into your ‘customers’ and how you can best add value to what they are doing
  • The quality of your strategy to deliver this, and its use of appropriate levels of creativity and experience
  • The commitment of your people to provide their best in delivering the strategy and serving your customers
  • How well you identify where things are suffering unexpected issues, understanding these, and dealing with them effectively
  • Building your abilities in all of the above areas

All of these things are delivered, one way or another, by meetings, and the quality of those meetings determine the quality of the result. We accept this, but how many organisations actually measure the efficiency or effectiveness of their meetings in ensuring the best answers in each of these areas?

Meetings are the cerebral cortex of the organisation. They are the key channel for determining the needs of the organisation and for translating it into action, and for interpreting signals from all of the corporate organs and appendages back into strategy. They are such a crucial feature of organisation that they represent 2/3 of all management activity (see right).

And yet, perversely, they are the Cinderella of business thinking; a process which is readily overlooked, and even disregarded as a nuisance.

Meetings are the synapse that sparks new insights; the flow of consciousness that inspires culture; the spiritual energy that breeds commitment; and the connections that make the organisation what it is. Or… they are a deadening headache, a drain on commitment; and a millstone to your culture. And the difference lies in how well your meetings are designed to achieve the former. But the problem is that most meetings aren’t so designed.

In general, people see meetings simply as a standard way to yield an answer, without realising that it is the journey to that answer that will determine the extent to which it is treasured, understood and passionately pursued. The journey is crucial to your people’s part in innovation and progress, and the meeting is the vehicle in which it happens.

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