If you haven’t thought yet about meetings as a platform to propagate ideas then I don’t want to attend your meetings. Because that’s what a good meeting is! And if your meeting is not a platform and do not propagate ideas then I am pretty confident it is a boring, one-direction firing of messages. (Unless of course you’re a great showmaster, but then you should definitely reconsider your career.) So then, why is a good meetings a platform for ideas? It all boils down to one simple equation.
The good meeting equation
If ideas = genes then meetings = sex
Meetings should invite out ideas and thoughts and let them travel from mind to mind. So they can be used, recombined, broken down, forgotten, reused and father novel ideas and thoughts. If ideas would be genes, then meetings are the sex.
So let me ask you this straightforward question. If the sex would be as bad as your standard meetings what would you do?
Meetings are intended to propagate ideas, but they hardly do so. If they would, then meetings would give us energy, make us feel happy, inspire us and enrich the world of ideas we’re carrying with us in our heads.
From that point of view, a good meeting is a consciously created platform where the process of propagation is accelerated. Why else would different brains join together in one room and discuss about weighty and important issues? Meetings are organized because we want things to run quicker and more smoothly, because we need the propagation of ideas.
(And pushing the comparison a step further… sadly enough we’re mostly using just one position in our meetings. And that is sitting behind a table. But the kamasutra of good meetings is far richer as you can see here).
A good meeting in the 21st century
This brings me to my previous post in which I proposed 4 levels for 21st Century Meetings. It’s at these levels that you need good meetings, that you should create an abundance and propagation of ideas.
Let me quickly review those 4 levels.
- The day-to-day work is done on team level. That means the leading question for this meeting is: ‘are you executing on what is needed?’ It’s the perpetual what-question of your team: ‘we stand here now, what’s our next to-do?’ Concrete ideas that give insight on and track the progress of your work are the ones that should travel here.
- The organisational level gives purpose and values to your work. This is all about the why and how. And the importance to have a conversation around those should not be disregarded. Organising a meeting around the purpose or the values of your organisation is all about setting-up a platform. Ideas that travel here are the ones that connect the organisation’s goals to everyone’s personal motivation.
- On the level of alignment and mastery you become better at what your doing. And becoming better at your work is a more than a valid reason to exchange ideas and thoughts. It’s where innovation (incremental of disruptive) starts. The ideas travelling here are best practices, failures (any size), spontaneous thoughts.
- And last but not least: connecting with the broader world is the closing step of the whole meeting cycle. It’s the broader world, the ecosystem around your organisation, that gives you the licence to operate by buying your products or services. The platforms you create here with your meetings are all about listening and getting feedback on your products or services.
It’s with those 4 levels that a 21st Century Meeting can thrive. And it’s within those 4 levels that ideas and thoughts should travel from mind to mind; be used, broken down, forgotten, reused and father novel ideas and thoughts.
My ambition for leadmeetings.com is to help you, as a leader, with simple tools to design the good meeting. And that means a meeting that fits each level.