Better Meetings–More Money: Reduce Post-Meeting Work

How many times have you come out of a meeting with more work than you had before you went in? And just having lost an hour or two or more of time in which to get it done?  It’s no wonder busy people hate meetings!

The answer to that dilemma is to change the way you and your team think about meetings.  They are times to get work done, not just to talk about what needs to be done or report on things that have already been done.

Yesterday I designed and facilitated a meeting for leaders in a small, fast-growth company.  They want to build The Whale Hunters Process™ into their company to accelerate their growth with major accounts.   I don’t call it a “meeting”: I call it a “collaborative event” or “workshop.”  Nevertheless, they came expecting “a meeting” that was scheduled for 6 hours–basically their entire day.  First off, that’s an expensive meeting.  Not only the personnel costs, but also the cost of flying in people from different places, hosting an offsite event, etc. So this cannot be a meeting about “what we need to do”–it has to be a meeting to “get a lot of it done.”

Here’s how it worked:

Commitment: Leadership is committed and conveys that commitment to all
Preparation: Reading, exploration of topic, completed in advance
Environment: 3 teams, seated at 3 round tables, each with a flip chart.
Materials: workbooks prepared, filled with group activities and work sheets
Method:  external facilitator skilled at putting teams to work for desired outcomes

In the meeting, we completed an entire series of chunks of work:

Overview/map of the process

Defined company culture features and determined where to improve

Conducted and concluded a Brand Promise Audit

Built three Target Filters and combined them based on consensus

Determined Scouting Plan

Defined “whale signs” of readiness to buy

Listed all the ways in which they might scare a prospective customer

Developed “fear buster” ideas/recommendations

Learned how to train Subject Matter Experts to participate in a sale

In accomplishing this work together, the team engaged in stimulating, purposeful discussion, learned from each other, and were surprised at how fast the day had gone.

Next step? The facilitator provides a quick turn-around on pertinent documentation, sets up online collaboration space to share and comment, and the team takes on the next chunk of The Whale Hunters Process at a similar meeting in one month.

It’s true that some of the meeting participants came out of that meeting with new ways to do things and perhaps even some new short-term things to do.  But mostly, we focused on what to give up in order to devote time to higher-value activities.

So my advice of the day about meetings is this:  use them as times and places to get your team’s work done, not to talk about getting it done!

Post #7 of a 10-post series devoted to “How to Get More Work Done in Meetings and Make More Money.”  Stay tuned for the rest of the series.  I welcome your comments and suggestions–what are your favorite tactics for getting work done in a meeting?

For more resources devoted to building a fast-growth sales and business development culture, join The Whale Hunters online community.


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