Are meetings about meetings killing you softly? Everyone is talking over each other, or repeating the same thing, or refusing to listen…perhaps all of the above. Well, what if there was a tool that could possibly give you insight into how to run a meeting efficiently AND ensure everyone feels heard and well utilized? In this Lucrative Lookback, we’ll pull one of our all time favorite tools out of our toolbox, StrengthsFinder!
Our meetings suck!
“We meet about meetings to plan meetings.”
“Here’s another wasted hour!”
Sound familiar? But… why are meetings a perpetual problem?
There are a ton of books on the subject, communication courses, college classes, seminars, etc. Google the word “meeting” and you’ll get millions, yes MILLIONS, of hits. Yet, our meetings suck! Grrrrr!!!
A strengths-based culture offers opportunity for success.
Consider your team’s strengths. Is the team balanced with Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, Executing, and Influencing strengths? Does it need to be balanced? Reference the following table from Gallup:
**********************Word of caution here! ***************************
Strengths is a POSITIVE tool meant for use in a manner of sophistication and abundance. The objective is to allow people to flourish by doing what they do best. Combinations of various talents and sophistication of an individual’s understanding of the tool all play into application. Unsophisticated use shows up as labeling and stereotyping = NOT the correct use of the tool. The domain or specific talents that an individual displays don’t directly relate to the tasks that person does best or wants to do. Knowing this info does provide the opportunity to have a safe discussion with the individual about applying their talents to specific tasks.
***********Now that we’ve established this critical point, let’s continue!**************
Now consider the case of a meeting to brainstorm new product design.
Meeting objective: Brainstorm new product ideas
- Strategic thinkers can’t wait for this meeting and are ready to talk and discuss all day. Yes, ALL DAY.
- Relationship builders may struggle for purpose in a product meeting and tend to focus more on the team and interactions.
- Influencers may tend to dominate the discussion causing the strategic thinking folks to shut down.
- Executing participants may quickly bore of the conversation and start checking emails on their phone being the focus is brainstorming versus actions.
Enter the strengths tool!
Let’s rewind and apply strengths with sophistication. Reference the table above.
- Strategic Thinkers: The objective being “Brainstorm new product ideas”, is the first clue. Brainstorming fits right in the sweet spot for Strategic Thinkers! We want as many ideas as possible, well thought out, detailed, and creative. No doubt, we want several of these folks in the meeting.
- Executing: Probably not interested in “talking” all day. What if we lean on the Executing themes by asking them to keep the meeting moving, keep us on track to time and to capture important notes and actions? Now we’ve engaged what they love doing and given them comfort through clear purpose!
- Influencing: They will love the idea of talking and sharing AND may overpower the strategic thinkers without realizing it…YIKES! What if we strategically utilize Influencing themes by giving them the role of meeting facilitator, making sure ideas are clearly communicated and energy stays high?
- Relationship Building: We want input from everyone, nobody left out of the conversation, and we want it safe. Hmmm…what if we leverage a person with the Relationship Building theme and assign them the role of keeping everyone engaged and watching for when safety is violated?
Yes! The roles of all participants should be clearly defined from the beginning. Without this understanding, people tend to develop stories about motives, individuals and actions which can undermine all you’ve just strategically set up. There’s a lot more here and a subject for another time on our Trybal blog. For now, the Learners reading this may choose to grab a copy of Crucial Conversations by Vital Smarts (another tool in the Trybal Toolbox).
So, let’s wrap this up. Next time you plan a meeting, carefully consider the objective and the strengths of the individuals you need to make it a success. You may find it’s a different mix of people than you originally thought OR you may find you need to adjust the agenda and ground rules, maybe all of the above!
You might just hear:
“We actually finished on time!”
“Wish all our meetings went that smoothly!”
Celebrate what makes you genius!
Check out our 34 StrengthsFinder Theme Backgrounds, based on The Genius and Beauty Found Within.