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There are various reasons to hold meetings, such as promoting coordination and discussing problems. Meetings increase engagement and collaboration. When led well, meetings offer participants the opportunity to provide valuable perspectives, input, and ideas. And through guided conversation, the meeting achieves its goal – which is typically to exchange information, discuss issues, and arrive at a solution. And when meetings effectively decide on the issue at hand, it lessens the need for future meetings. Here are the building blocks for meetings that get results and achieve good decision-making:

Define the Purpose: The “Why”

When you start with the “why,” it’s easier to forge a consensual decision because everyone begins with a shared purpose.

Why are we here? Understanding the “why” clarifies the “what,” which is the result of the work. Defining the work’s intent and purpose helps guide your decisions because it helps give meaning to the goal. The “why” is usually driven by values, policies, philosophies, and company culture. Therefore, the “why” also relies on the “who.”

It may help to kick off any meeting meant to build consensus with a short reminder of what the company strives to achieve as a whole and through its decision.  

List Ideas without Discussion  

Mark Twain once said, “There is no such thing as a bad idea.” It’s also been noted that “there are no bad ideas, just bad decisions.” After discussing the problem and the decision you need to make, encourage participants to contribute their ideas. List them down without any discussion. By not discussing these ideas as you list them, the others don’t get distracted and discouraged, promoting brainstorming.

Reasons for Deselection

Instead of calling out ideas on the list for being “bad,” agree on deselection criteria. This may include human resources, budget, skillset, and other mandatory requirements. For example, a meeting has been called because you want to expand by offering a new product. Ideas from all the meeting participants pour in, and you’ve listed them on the board. By creating criteria, you can deselect ideas that don’t meet the basic requirements. Some criteria that may relate to new product development include “must target the same audience as our flagship product” or “must not require hiring an external software developer.”

Discussion, Agreement, and Selection

Once you’ve eliminated the ideas that don’t meet the mandatory requirements, you’re left with a list of options that you can discuss immediately or at a follow-up meeting. Encourage discussion and allow people to object to ideas they can back up with specific reasons. Reaching consensus is always challenging, particularly with a large group of participants with different skills, experiences, and backgrounds. However, the diversity of the team can lead to more ideas and productive discussion. Meeting facilitation is key because it ensures everyone participates in coming up with proposals and agreeing on a final decision. 

Please let me know if you are interested in pursuing a conversation or need more information on the topic above. There is never any cost for a discovery call which you can schedule right here: 

I look forward to chatting with you.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734