Flawless Execution: FLEXible Meetings

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Tom "Mad Dog" Friend

How Flawless ExecutionSM (FLEX) Can Keep Your Meetings on the Road to Success

Meetings matter because they are the heartbeat of an organization’s culture. They are the time and setting of which teams have dedicated face-to-face interaction. The dynamics of meetings have a large impact on how an individual is included in an organization and gives the individual a feel for how much they matter.

If you have the same routine meeting patterns, led by an apathetic leader, the individuals will be un-empowered and feel uncared for. The result of a meeting dynamic such as this will reinforce a boring company and an unconnected team. Meeting dynamics can generate and reinforce positive or negative messaging about an organization and about team members.

The 3rd wave of the internet is competitive in nature, and trends towards organizations which are as fast, tough, lean, and efficient as possible. Digital services have only furthered this trend. Many assume this means that there would be fewer meetings on a team, but the truth is actually the opposite. As more information, knowledge, and work centers around teamwork, the number of meetings is likely to increase rather than decrease. Without a plan to achieve actionable goals, these meetings have a high potential to run off course.

This is where Flawless Execution (FLEX) comes into play. FLEX is a simple, easy-to-learn agile methodology. The FLEX practices are designed to rapidly transform meeting dynamics in an organization. When applied they bring meetings back onto the road to success. In short, it can address dysfunctional meeting dynamics.

At the tactical level, setting the tone for a mission plan can bring immediate, tangible improvement in day-to-day operations while reinforcing your desired cultural characteristics and building a sustainable organizational culture at the strategic level.

How to set the right tone for your mission plan:

Meetings without clear objectives and advance preparation

  • Individuals who don’t take meetings seriously
  • Individuals arriving late and/or leaving early
  • Meetings which run over time
  • Individuals who wander off topic
  • Meetings which don’t become actionable decisions
  • Meetings which enable decisions to be postponed
  • Meetings that don’t improve because there is no feedback loop

As bad meetings perpetuate themselves in an organization, they have a staggering impact on the bottom line of an organization. They drag individuals down side roads which are unproductive dead ends. It can affect an entire organization’s productivity. Consider these numbers associated with meetings in the United States.

  • Knowledge worker individuals spend 33% of their work time in meetings
  • Approximately 1/2 of team members consider meetings unproductive
  • 39% of meeting participants admitted to dozing off during a meeting
  • Over 66% of people admit to doing other work in meetings

This adds up to between 25-50% of time spent in meetings being wasted. In this case, more than ever, the maxim “Time is Money” holds true. Last year, in the United States, the estimated cumulative monetary loss from misspent time and lost opportunity was over $200 billion.

Using the FLEX methodology, meeting productivity can be increased by an estimated 20%-50%. This brings individuals, teams, and organizations back onto the road to success through relatively small, focused investments in team building training and coaching. FLEX improves meetings by:

  • Reducing the number of unproductive meetings
  • Shortening project cycle time
  • Increasing the quality and quantity of business decisions
  • Increasing engagement on teams
  • Enabling and promoting peer-driven accountability
  • Enabling high performance in new teams
  • Accelerating innovation

If your organization suffers from poor meetings that stray from success, I would encourage you to consider applying the FLEX framework and practices. It is a minimally invasive, lightweight framework to ensure your meetings are interactive, efficient and productive. It will help focus your team and keep them on the right path. Your organization, programs, projects, and teams can all benefit from better meeting dynamics and FLEX is the tool you need to achieve this.