The meetings we endured and designed, added to frustrations and stress in an already caustic work place. Gary Hamel reminds us that only 20% of employees globally – engage fully in their work, and perhaps the routine ways that meetings kill incentives, contributes to this aversion so many feel. Barry Goldwater said: “The only meeting that can succeed is the meeting that never takes place.” James Kirk added – “A meeting is an event in which minutes are taken and hours are wasted.”
Inspired by results from our brain based meetings, where people engage and agendas act as advanced organizers we reconfigured regular staff meetings to become innovation labs for invention. We noticed how meetings were harbingers of innovative change when participants were enabled to show more intelligence than meeting leader, and innovative ideas sprouted from every corner.
The monotonous meeting that started that day, ended any hope for innovation or adventure that week. Has it happened to you?
Bruce Corns turned off both hearings aids minutes into the meeting and slept with open eyes, while the rest of us envied his advantage. Most people simply suffered in silence, while the leader rattled on like a motor that refuses to spark on a chilly winder morning. Person after person slipped in late, as pacifists might drag themselves into a discussion room where war heroes bragged about badges won.
The HR director passed around notes to people who were otherwise too busy to stop and converse. A wannabe director mimicked politically correct answers, told stories that positioned himself as hero and implied how villains from his department foiled his top talents. A bully rolled his eyes and waited for the best opening to strike.
Two senior sales reps, who’d both been demoted for lack of sales, vented about too much to do, in too little time. Others whispered about killing time at useless meetings like this one, when they’d likely be at work late tonight - again.
To pan faces around me, was to catch expressions of frustration, boredom, and straight out agitation, as the session droned on for hours. Do meetings freeze brainpower where you work? Or do they stir novelty and fire up innovation?
The meeting design proposed here - suggests doable MITA brain based approaches to lead meetings, where all participants accomplish things never before accomplished by using parts of the brain never before used.
Meetings made me and other leaders stressed out and frustrated while I saw brain based strategies work in other areas of leadership, so I began to formulate facilitation practices to lead meetings, and suggest to others.
Dr. Robyn McMaster encouraged me to write the brain based strategies out and we are about to publish a book titled: Meetings are not the Enemy of Innovative Change.
Designing doable tactics to lead meetings where humor and fun might replace dry and dead, and innovation results for most topics raised. That meant finding practical ways to engage people across diverse departments, cover key topics well, and expect valuable dividends to result for all participants.
Refining the Process so that real questions were addressed in our brain based meeting design. We gathered peoples questions and responded with brain based solutions that increased innovation as a takeaway. People asked 1). Doesn’t it waste time if you get everybody’s ideas? What does the brain have to do with meetings? Do visuals such as PP slides lead to more innovation? How can I avoid daydreaming at work during weekly meetings? What about people who have good ideas but who dominate? What difference does and agenda make? How can you quit on time with so much to cover? People who disagree or vent often spoil meetings – any solutions? What would it take to draw more diverse insights into resolutions at meetings? Why is it so hard to concentrate at most webinars - what can help managers to focus more on innovative possibilities?
Creating the Brain Based Leader Guide to Meetings – we designed strategies where the facilitator adds feet and wings to participants’ insights. We suggested methods to harness doable contributions, survey participants for feedback, and encourage novel opportunities for growth. We laid out brain based tactics for keeping an agenda on track without diminishing a dissenter at the same time.
Transforming Boring Meetings that Waste Time into Labs for innovative Opportunities.
- Solution – Design interactive charts to sketch big ideas
- Solution – Email agendas ahead and invite input from all
- Solution – Arrive at meetings early and greet people as they arrive
- Solution – Encourage humor - discourage cynicism in favor of creativity
- Solution – Engage opposing views and model good tone for diverse ideas
Participant Engagement –
- Most participants speak during our meetings and many offer novel ideas
- Approaches at work change and improve based on what people offer.
Productive Meetings –
- Feedback reminds us frequently that people who hated meetings – now engage well
- Reflections during meetings allow us to measure productivity against set agendas
Performance Opportunities –
- We won an award for excellence in NY
- We facilitate many meetings in where conflicts become calm communications
- Meetings can awaken innovation and stir top talents
- Great meetings mimic Dagwood sandwiches with diverse ingredients
- Meetings can lead to mind-bending action plans with feet and wings
- Surveys show where to increase innovative brainpower
- Invite questions and answers about how meetings can improve
- Earmark problems that still need solutions after meeting ends
About MITA Brain Based Meetings – Open to people’s suggestions and facilitate responses that take advantage of new brain facts that help to optimize innovative brainpower.
Meetings are Not an Enemy of Innovative Change by Ellen Weber (PhD) and Robyn McMaster (PhD) Book - In Press)
Current Blogs on MITA Meeting Possibilities - at Brain Leaders and Learners http://www.brainleadersandlearners.com/?s=meeting