Having better meetings leads to better days
Next, we are going to see some tactical ideas for you to try on your team, whether you are part of it, or you are already supervising it. And as we always do from OUR EDITORIAL STAFF, we have gone out to investigate and collect expert opinions that will be very useful when you start thinking about making your next meeting effective and not seem like a waste of time.
We are in a post-Covid era in which remote work has become part of our daily lives, since most of the interpersonal interactions that employees of any company have during their workday are through Slack (it is an application of enterprise messaging that connects people to the information they need By bringing people together to work as if they were part of the same team, Slack transforms the way organizations communicate), especially through email, Google Docs and Zoom meetings. Therefore, it is quite possible that for many employees, their only face-to-face human interaction during working hours is through a meeting. If that meeting is good, then your day is good. If that meeting is bad, then your day is bad.
As people have gradually moved back into a physical workspace over the past few months, this sentiment remains more resonant than ever. Whether in person or via video conference, it’s hard to overstate the impact meetings have on an employee’s daily experience at a start-up, and yet, lately, many of us seem to have more bad meetings adding up to more days. bad.
You have to reconsider how you consult with the other people in the team and with yourself
1º) Avoid the indirect effect between meetings
When one person on a team tells another colleague or the same boss that their meeting was a challenge, instead of asking why, the question is what happened just before the meeting took place.
“Usually that’s where the real answer lies,” says leadership coach Katia Verresen. “Maybe they saw some discouraging data, or they made a bad decision. People go from meeting to meeting without thinking that one influences their performance or responses in another. We give ourselves zero transition time and the result is an emotional transfer.”
That’s why Katia Verresen’s advice to her clients is that if you’re interested in stopping this spillover, be intentional about putting this baggage aside. “I tell my clients to imagine that they are carrying bags and putting them down,” she says. Another tactic? Bring your brain into a more positive mindset by accessing memories, transporting yourself back to a time when things were running smoothly, when you weren’t feeling anxious or overworked.
Going back to a time you were proud of, whether it’s something you built or a project that went well, will cause a psychological shift.
Especially given our tendency to focus on the negative, celebrating and reviewing recent accomplishments is one of our best tools for rewiring our brains for clarity, says Ella Verresen.
2º) Avoid diving into solution mode
Jessmina Archbold (publicly known as Minaa B.) is a mental health advocate psychotherapist and has interesting things to say like:
– Checking in on each other has become an essential part of our pandemic routines.
-He likes to conduct mental health checks at her workshops, asking these questions: “On a scale of one to 10, with one being the lowest, 10 being the best, how are you feeling today? Who can you ask for help? What do you need to feel supported?
She claims that there are people who first ask themselves and then ask them to ask someone else the same questions.
For Archbold, it’s not just about being there for each other, but also about boundaries, which she posits are at the heart of self-care. “The key is to listen and create space, not jump in with advice and try to solve your problem.”
The leader of a team always has to be very attentive to how to act when he observes that the response of one of the members is low, that is, at 1, maybe 2 or also valued at 3, but it is still low. In these situations, the best thing for the boss to do is to ask her if and how she can help before diving into solution mode. In this way he gives you space to ask for what you need, without digging too hard or positioning yourself as the savior.
Most people aren’t honest about their feelings because they get unsolicited advice or intrusive questions. Therefore, you can try to stop that cycle in a team with the culture that is created and the micro-actions that are taken.
3º) Focus on the 3×3
Mutiny co-founder and CEO Jaleh Rezaei is a pro at getting her team moving fast – her framework for accelerating her marketing organization is a must read. But she’s also an advocate of slowing down to build trust and escalate her leadership with intent.
That’s why she recommends dedicating a monthly 1:1 meeting with direct reports to a specific purpose: to get each team member to reflect on what went well and what didn’t. Rezaei then shares her own 3×3 of hers.
The 3×3 technique for team meetings to matter refers to the fact that they must have 3 essential reasons to be effective. And when asked why they fail, it is precisely because they do not comply with these 3 reasons: poor communication, lack of follow-up and lack of purpose.
But in the case of Jaleh Rezaei, she goes much further with this 3×3 concept, because she maintains that “Most of our time in a startup is spent focused. The monthly reflection is when we zoom out,” she says.
Our favorite tidbit is how the dialogue ends on an optimistic note: What are you most hopeful about as you think about the next month? For this reason, Rezaei has a template in which it is essential that it be taken into account in the next meeting, because she believes that you have to think about 3 things that you did well last month, 3 things to improve next month and what else waiting for next month.
4º) Try new things
When it came time to plan Sitka’s first remote external event last year, CEO Kelsey Mellard had several goals, from team-building exercises that would increase empathy to strategy sessions that would get everyone on the same page. “Another goal was to examine our existing routines and create new rituals together. I wanted to have a space where we could be present, thoughtful and appreciative of each other,” says Mellard.
That’s why she enlisted the help of Mike Wang, Director of New Ventures and Learning Experience at Arizona State University, a skilled designer and facilitator of highly intentional experiences, to create a more impactful external site. “As humans, we all crave connection, to feel seen, heard, and understood, but we often don’t have intentional spaces that foster these behaviors,” he says.
Here’s how Mellard and Wang created that space within Sitka’s external agenda items: “Friday morning, we all got on Zoom, put on music in the background, and then spent 90 minutes focused on one exercise: writing a line about each person in the company and what we enjoy working with them,” says Mellard. “Mike then collected all these notes and rounded them up into an email for each person. So each person was able to open an email with an amazing list of thank you points from their colleagues. He really wasn’t sure how that was going to end, to be honest, but he left people in tears.”
Wang agrees. “The point is to try to get people to present themselves in a way that they couldn’t even be in a normal professional environment, let alone on Zoom. But because we did it at full speed (I only had about a minute to write for each person), it felt like a task I could bite into and succeed at. In the feedback we received afterward, many said that this was their lasting take away from the site, that they wanted to improve by expressing gratitude for others. It was an incredible high note to finish.”
5º) Highlight the good and how the most important thing was done in this period between one meeting and another
Meetings are like photos taken at different times in the life of companies. But what happens between them, the real movement is like a movie, in which there are a number of scenes that make up the plot. For this reason, the team leader or the leader of the organization, depending on the level of the meeting that is held, must take into account that we are within a culture of remote meetings that have received a lot of attention in the last two years, But experts like Maggie Leung, former vice president of content at NerdWallet and current executive editor at Andreessen Horowitz, have spotted a small gap that’s often overlooked: managers of remote teams tend to miss out on opportunities to elevate those who stand out. strong examples of best practice.
“It’s not just that someone did it right, it’s the explanation of how they did it that is often lost on remote teams,” says Maggie Leung.
If you just call those people by name and don’t ask them to share your approach, problem-solving skills, challenges, and failures with your team, you’re leaving money on the table.
Offering a specific example of NerdWallet, Leung points to a bimonthly initiative called “What Good Looks Like.” This might require adding a new meeting, but this short story proves its worth: “We were seeing inconsistent approaches that created unnecessary work and burnout. So an individual contributor on our team proposed producing a decision tree to help his pod and others make decisions faster and more consistently,” she says.
“He was the quarterback getting input and buy-in from a few others on our team. Once he was done, he rolled it out across our entire 80-person team. So we highlighted his achievement, asked him to explain to our team how he thought about the problem, he worked to get different perspectives, and we released it. And we explicitly tell team members that this is the type of initiative that we value.”
6º) Change the angle of vision of the problem
Not all meetings go perfectly; sometimes conflict flares out into the open, leading to tense exchanges that seem difficult to resolve. When in your position as boss or leader you cannot agree on a key decision in a meeting, there is an elegant and effective way out: discuss again, but change sides. In other words, go over to the “opposite side” in order to see how it looks from there, which is a recommended practice since it stops being attached to always wanting to be right. It helps you see the other’s perspective more consistently. It brings to light new points, which can make the best choice clearer.
The core of curiosity is understanding that you see the world through a particular lens of your own experience. By having others share your perspective, you collect more data points and arrive at a more accurate view of the truth.d
7º) Accept the open debate
Deal with derailments by fixing the details.
The product review is where a product manager presents the team’s work and earns that coveted executive time, which can often be a double-edged sword, says First Round’s own Todd Jackson (who was a product manager at Gmail during his tenure). time on Google, and in the news section of Facebook).
“You are often immediately interrupted and you have to be willing to engage anyone in an open discussion. This is where a lot of good questions or ideas come up,” says Jackson. But distinguishing between what really matters to leadership versus lower priorities or random ideas is a skill that takes practice.
His advice? Get derailed by great ideas, but not too much. “If they give specific suggestions that you don’t agree with or that sound random, always strive to understand the spirit of the request,” he says. “Sometimes you can strongly disagree with the details, but you really agree with the high-level goals.”
But if those derailments start to coalesce into concrete decisions, Jackson recommends setting founders on the tack. “Ask them directly, ‘So is that a decision? This helps ensure that stakeholders feel heard.
It’s also important to try to avoid the “yeah man” urge and think it through. “Usually if a founder comes up with a new idea in a meeting, everyone nods. So you accept too quickly and then you realize there’s a big problem or it wasn’t as impactful as it seemed at the time,” says Jackson.
You can’t leave any room for misunderstanding, or even for a single person to walk away from a meeting with different conclusions.
8º) Challenge when to go faster
“Remember the last time you were in a meeting and someone said, ‘let’s make this decision before we leave the room?’ How good did you feel? Didn’t you want to just hug that person? We totally agree with Upstart’s Dave Girouard’s thoughts here, first outlined in his now-classic article, “Speed as a Habit,” which is full of advice on how you can be that hero in your own company.
“The process of making and remaking decisions wastes an incredible amount of time in business,” he continues. Here’s a specific speed bump that often slows down startups: “I’m always amazed at how many plans and action items come out of meetings with no due dates assigned. Even when dates are assigned, they are often based on a half-hearted intuition about how long the task should take. End dates and times follow a tribal notion of sunset and sunrise, and too often the default answer is “tomorrow,” says Girouard.
“I’ve seen too many people who never question when something will be delivered and assume it will happen right away. This rarely happens. I have also seen ideas float in the ether because they were never anchored in time.
Deciding when a decision will be made early on is a profound and powerful change that will speed everything up.
To counteract this trend, challenge the when at your next meeting. “Not that everything needs to be done NOW, but for items on your critical path, challenging the due date is always helpful. All it takes is asking the simplest question: “Why can’t this be done sooner?” Doing it methodically, reliably, and habitually can have a profound impact on the speed of your organization,” he says.
9º) Better ideas and learning
In the outside offices of HashiCorp executives, there’s a bit of structure to make the process of brainstorming about company goals more effective, says Kevin Fishner, director of HR. “There are some Harvard Business Review studies on brainstorming that show that when you just get people together and ask them to put sticky notes on a wall or a whiteboard, it doesn’t work as well. So we give the executives two weeks before the external meeting to write down what they think the three focuses should be for the coming year,” he says.
“Then each executive has five minutes in the meeting to talk about his suggestions. Then we put all the suggestions in a list; there’s usually a little bit of overlap, so we end up with about 15. Each executive then ranks five initiatives, five are the most important, one is the least, and then we just do a ranking. ranking from there.”
Here’s why this approach works: “First, allowing everyone to think about goals independently means they won’t get caught up in groupthink. Second, people can often be more thoughtful when there is less of an urgency to come up with ideas in the moment. And finally, every leader gets equal airtime and a chance to have their voice heard.”
Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, agrees that brainstorming is best, pointing to evidence that groups generate fewer and worse ideas during brainstorming than when brainstorming. people work for themselves.
“If you know the group is nervous about ego issues or status hierarchies, you should collect ideas anonymously,” says Adam Grant, adding that “it’s about harnessing the power of the group for idea selection, where people they are actually better collectively, but letting individuals be creative first.”
People are great at generating ideas. Groups excel at selecting ideas using the wisdom of the crowd.