E6S-008 Running a Team Meeting

In this episode number 8, we discuss the how to facilitate a project team or project selection committee meeting.  We discuss what to look for in group dynamics, and when to change direction.

I.       Start with Meeting Basics

A.    Schedule Ahead of time

B.     Pre-schedule with key attendees

C.     Coordinate meeting space

D.    Phone numbers & Web meeting spaces

E.     Arrange meals

  F.     Send Agenda ahead of time with a clear meeting goal.  Reference www.manager-tools.com for specific recommendations on meeting agendas (no afiliation, just good stuff).

G.    Communicate any pre-work needed

H.    Pre-test any Audio/Video equipment

II.    Facilitating a Committee

A.    Be consistent with team members, meeting times/agenda, and frequency

B.     Groups that seldomly meet will struggle with alignment and decisiveness. Overview of team phases FORMING, STORMING, NORMING, PERFORMING… If the team only meets a couple times a year, and they are differently engaged in the company, you won't make it through the norming phase and struggle to perform.

C.     Create Ground Rules and revisit at the start of each meeting to ask for commitment

D.    Keep the meetings short (2 hrs max).

i.        Many people (especially Executives) have short attention spans (High D’s)

ii.      Meetings are expensive (2 hour meeting with executives could cost $1500 in labor hours--- i.e. other work not getting done)

iii.    Quality of the meeting will wane and the room energy will fall out.

iv.    Discuss some exceptions (using time consuming tools like FMEA, or you bring in or are a resource on a trip for this project, or performing some sort of stand-down event.)

E.     Maintain a “living” project idea list and status report on open projects.

III. During the meeting

A.    Facilitate the LSS Tool (whatever tool you’re using)

B.     Understand underlying agendas

i.        Different people have different agendas when coming into a selection meeting. "DiSC models. Agendas, Group Dynamics.  Key Players.

ii.      Read the group dynamics

iii.    Who’s the alpha? What is their agenda?

iv.    Agenda examples:

a.       CFO - Share holder value, Stock Market Standing

b.      General Manager - hitting his bonus targets, growing the business, overall profitability

c.       Line manager - preserving his status (protecting his turf), keeping his people, keep job

d.      All of them - avoid embarrassment, find a way to look good (for most, this is more powerful than what is best for the company)

v.      Is the discussion and debate healthy moving along or a stalemate and gridlock?

a.       Be the one to get it back on track.  Reference the agenda and ground rules when necessary.

b.      Know when to quit or change direction with your tool

1.      If the meeting is going to long or if it’s clear where everyone’s head is, common pet peeves, then forego the C&E and go to a group vote or affinity.

2.      If the meeting is a stalemate on a project level and it’s difficult to come to a consensus with Affinity or voting, then break it down into CTQs and debate the CTQs individually with a C&E.