Focus meetings just on decisions, wither understanding?

How Larry Page Changed Meetings At Google After Taking Over Last Spring

Every meeting must have one clear decision maker. If there’s no decision maker — or no decision to be made — the meeting shouldn’t happen.

No more than 10 people should attend.

Every person should give input, otherwise they shouldn’t be there.

No decision should ever wait for a meeting. If a meeting absolutely has to happen before a decision should be made, then the meeting should be scheduled immediately.

I really like these guidelines, and I’m tempted to adopt them whole cloth with my team.

My team meeting agenda is mostly updates on what’s happening within the teams and within the larger organization. There’s a lot of value in seeing someone’s reaction to news and having a chance to answer questions and stop misinterpretations before they start in a setting like that.

On weeks when we haven’t been able to meet, I’ve often sent out my notes of news from the organization I wanted to share. Inevitably the next week I take a few minutes to breeze through it and uncover that someone didn’t understand or made a faulty assumption about what I wrote.

(Via. Business Insider)

About Chris

Python developer, Agile practitioner trying desperately not to be a pointy haired boss.
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2 Responses to Focus meetings just on decisions, wither understanding?

  1. I like the spirit of this, obviously, but I find a contradiction in the guidelines “No decision should ever wait for a meeting” and “If there’s … no decision to be made — the meeting shouldn’t happen.”

    I have always found the most success using meetings as a place to build consensus and, as you say, understanding. Decisions, on the other hand, are better made offline, in advance of the meeting, with a subset of key stakeholders, either one-on-one or in much smaller groups. Then you can use the meeting to build broader enthusiasm and cohesion around that strategy and identify any gaps or loose ends.

    This kind of meeting can also useful as a fail-safe against any objections to the decisions that been made by the smaller group (a kind of “Speak now or forever hold your peace” moment), which is one of the things I always found useful about your team meetings.

    • Chris says:

      If you read the article linked from the Business Insider post then you come across this gem:

      “For starters, we noted that every decision-oriented meeting should have a clear decision-maker, and if it didn’t, the meeting shouldn’t happen. Those meetings should…”

      Interesting that Kristen Gil, the VP of Business Operations, makes a distinction between decision-oriented meetings and other types.

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