my holy discontent – bad meetings

in his book “holy discontent,” bill hybels describes a person’s holy discontent as the one aspect of this broken world that, when you see it, touch it, or get near it, you just can’t stand it.

i’m not sure if this is what hybels meant, but today i am fully acknowledging my holy discontent for sitting through poorly led meetings.

here are a few suggestions for leading a great meeting in which everyone feels empowered to contribute:

1. Start the Meeting on Time. this gets the meeting off to a great start and communicates to the group that you value their time and that you plan to lead as efficiently as possible.

2. Don’t Waste Time. it’s easy for groups to get side-tracked or distracted, lead confidently by keeping everyone on topic. if you hear someone say, “i know this is off-topic but..” immediately interrupt by asking the person to save the comment for after the meeting.

3. Introduce & Explain Each Person’s Role. lately i’ve been to a bunch of meetings where i didn’t know the other people around the table, so i spent too much mental energy trying to figure out why each person had been invited and what their specific role in the group would be. help preserve your group’s mental energy by introducing each person at the beginning of the meeting and explaining why each person is sitting around the table.

4. Find the Best Facilitator to Lead the Meeting. and this often isn’t the leader of the group. the skill of facilitating a great meeting is a completely different skill than leading a team. find the best facilitator you can by looking for a person who is focused, a good listener, able to steer conversation, call out the best in people, and determine next steps. once you’ve found a great facilitator ask this person to lead every meeting you are responsible for.

5. Before Calling a Meeting, Ask Yourself 10 times if this Meeting is Absolutely Necessary. often times, we have a meeting – just to say we had a meeting. before calling an official meeting, ask yourself if the work will better be accomplished individually than in a group. I love what Tony Kim says in his blog, “brainstorming is broken”

“…There have been many studies done over decades that conclude the same thing- traditional brainstorming leads to mediocre results. We do it because we are social creatures, driven by guilt, people pleasing, and misconceptions to involve everyone. It ‘feels’ right even though the results are predictable. For example, in the world of inventions, the individual is much more successful than the group. What’s the last invention you can remember accredited to a team versus an individual?”

let’s share stories! what’s the best or worst meeting you’ve participated in?


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by backids on April 17, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Have you read the book “Death By Meeting”? you will find some really great ideas there…
    yup, I had my fair share of bad meetings, but unfortunately they are not getting better….


  2. Posted by amyedolan on April 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    i’ve heard so many great things about that book – but have never read it. thanks for the reminder.. i need to pick it up.

    wish your meetings were getting better! maybe if enough of us speak up – meetings will change forever!!


  3. I’m definitely guilty on point #2. I’ve said “I know this is off-topic, but…”, and also let it happen far too many times in meetings.

    As a verbal processor, its a good reminder to me to question whether what I want to say is truly helpful to what’s being discussed in the meeting.


  4. […] up resources: my holy discontent – bad meetings a previous blog post, death by meeting – a book by patrick lencioni, and meetings – a fantastic blog post […]


  5. […] not a secret that i love to think/talk/blog/tweet about how to lead successful […]


  6. […] have a holy discontent for bad meetings. last week, i launched a new project called build a better meeting. each monday, i’ll  post […]


  7. […] Posted August 23, 2010 by amyedolan in Leadership, build a better meeting. Leave a Comment so, have i mentioned this before? i have aholy discontent for bad meetings. […]


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