Does running meetings make you cringe?

If your meetings are a free-for-all, then you’re probably lacking good structure. Here’s are a few ground rules to make your meetings more focused and productive.

Last week I was speaking to a CEO friend of mine and he was talking about his holiday break. He and his family had a great time skiing out in Colorado, but what he couldn’t stop complaining about was having to visit his in-laws in Texas.

He complained about the weather, he complained about the food, and he complained about the travel. While he seemed to genuinely like his wife’s family, visiting them was fraught with pain and frustration for him.

When we switched to the topic of his upcoming annual planning retreat with his executive team, things got even worse. “Don’t remind me,” he said.

He went on to explain that each January they plan a two-day retreat to work out their annual goals and targets. And each year, it’s a disappointment for him. Things start out okay, but the meetings quickly deteriorate into griping session and people start rehashing closed issues. Instead of focusing on long-term planning and goal setting, these meetings end up going down rat holes and chasing shiny random ideas.

Ironically, he said that he’d rather stay in Texas another week than come home and run that meeting.

While I was limited in my ability to help him with visiting his in-laws, I was able to help him with some ideas on how to make his annual planning session more productive.

The key to these types of meetings is having a good set of ground rules.
Ground rules help you establish the expected behavior during a meeting so that you can stay focused on the agenda and the topics at hand. By getting everyone’s agreement up front, you create a powerful tool to help the team self-monitor their actions.

You can make any ground rules you want. Just make sure you agree to them up front, before you need them. Trying to put a rule in place after you’re in a mess is hard and people will resist. It’s better to lay down the foundation first.
I have a broad list of ground rules that I use for different types of meetings. I will often customize them to specific situations and many of the teams I coach have unique ground rules for their companies and culture.

Recently I made a video that explains three key ground rules I almost always use: Vegas rules, tackle issues--not people, and assume positive intent.

I also wrote an article on about ground rules. It covers a bunch more that I often use and that you might find helpful.

Running a Great Meeting Is Difficult. These 8 Ground Rules Will Make Your Job Easier

Honestly, I think meetings get a bad rap. Understandable, but unfortunate. That’s why I write about them so frequently. Want to try a different type of meeting? Take a peek at this approach which has no agenda...

One of The Most Powerful Meetings You Can Run For Your Team Has No Agenda. Here’s Why.

Do you dread meetings with your team?
In my experience, ground rules have been very effective at shaping up my meetings and making them more productive. If you’re struggling with your meetings, let’s set up a call to discuss which ground rules would be most beneficial to your teams and meetings. Book a call by clicking here.

And if you need some help with your annual planning session, you can find out how I run mine on my website. This page has a video on how to run an annual planning session and has a link to my standard agenda.

Annual Planning Meeting Agenda

Hope 2019 is starting out strong for you and your team.

Bruce Eckfeldt

P.S. Whenever you’re ready... here are three ways I can help you grow your business faster, and with less drama:

1. Take my Growth Readiness Assessment
Download the 24 questions, send me the results, and set up a free one-on-one call to review the results and identify where you can accelerate your growth with the right focus. - CLICK HERE

2. Check out my Leadership Team Intensive
Every team can get into a rut—leadership teams are no exception. My half-day intensive helps the top team take a step back and see what’s working, what’s not, where they can develop new, better habits, and where they can break old ones that aren’t working. It’s like a B12 booster for your entire company. - CLICK HERE

3. Let me facilitate your next annual or quarterly planning meeting
Want to kick your planning sessions up a notch? Have me come in and we’ll work together on your annual or quarterly plan. Set goals that will really drive strategy, and create an action plan that will make sure everyone has clear accountability for results. - CLICK HERE