Our Team Meetings Suck. Here is how we SOLVED

Consulting and coaching a marketing team of young, competent, successful, fun people I kept wondering why they told me how much their meetings suck.

In the 1 on 1 coaching meetings and even as I saw them interact with each other, there was energy, enthusiasm and discussions…

meeting room and solution focused

Until I attended their meeting

It had all the necessary components needed for a good meeting:

  • Competent Manager
  • The right people in attendance
  • A clear agenda
  • A purpose
  • List of what decisions had to get made and how they will get made
  • etc…

I watched these young, bright, energized people turn into meeting zombies the minute they walked in the door. It was like a magical field, outside there is discussion and laughter – then they walk in the room and lifeless depression hit them.

I asked loudly, “What’s going on?! who are you people?”

Here is how we SOVLED it.

Situation – What do we want to have happen?

  • The meeting to be fun
  • For us to have the same amount of energy and drive inside this meeting as we do outside this meeting
  • To actually want to come to these meetings again

Observer – If someone was to walk into this meeting, and you are doing what you mentioned, how will they know these things are happening?

  • See flip charts filled with post-it notes and ideas
  • We will have our ties loosened and actually be laughing and yelling and discussing the topics and decisions
  • Instead of checking our phones under the table, we will forget we even have them because we are engaged in the meeting
  • Marie the Manager will be talking less and we will be talking more

Level – On a scale from 0 – 10; With 10 being these things are happening and 0 being the opposite where is this team?

  • 3 we actually received a bunch of numbers…and then the team agreed together they were at a 3

Exceptionsthis is where we found the solution! Based upon what we have shared is any of this happening, even a little bit?

  • YES! all the things we listed and many more are happening daily outside this meeting-room.
  • When we meet in  conference room ‘C’ our meetings are much more fun.
  • Last week I held a team meeting in the staff lounge. That is where we developed the tag-line for the Grambel account.
  • This same thing happens in the manager meetings, that also take place in this meeting room. We all become boring and no one talks. Yet, when the managers all meet in Dennis’ office you cannot get us to shut up.

Decisions & Direction – Based upon our discussion what is our next step? and how will we know what worked, plus share we we learned?

  • It sounds like this room is cursed! I vote we meet in a different meeting room.
  • I agree this room has always creeped me out. Anytime you are given bad news they always have it in this meeting room.
  • Our next step will be to meet in a different room. We will see how that works and keep trying to see what works.

The team met in a different meeting room and it was one of their best meeting in months! I am not really not sure if it was the meeting room, or just a change in scenery they needed to make their meeting better and it worked.

We associate certain behaviors, actions, and scripts with specific locations. The environment and location can be powerful and sabotage and change for better or worse interactions.

If you are finding your team and yourself stuck in a rut, try meeting or working in a new location, and see what happens.


What do you think?

How do you improve your team meetings? What about the sequence and questions made sense to you? Have you ever experienced something similar?

Team Building Leadership Innovation expert Michael Cardus

michael cardus is create-learning

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