How to improve your meetings

"Death By Meeting" by Patrick Lencioni focuses on different ways to improve your business meetings.
Death by Meeting on table

Death By Meeting

By Patrick Lencioni

How many meetings did you have this week? Three, eight, eighteen? Meetings are a necessary evil for any professional. Most people I speak with agree that we have too many meetings, but what can we do about them? Vital decisions and meaningful communication happen at some meetings while others are wasteful and frustrating. I’d be willing to bet that most of your meetings fall in the latter category.

Death By Meeting by Patrick Lencioni is a remedy for unproductive meetings. Lencioni’s book was published in 2004 and is written as a business fable. The story aspect holds your attention and reveals the actionable content without being boring. I found myself relating to a few of the scenarios in the book as the story unfolded. I’ve been on both sides of the situation when the meeting is supposed to start and only one person is in the room ready to go.

The end of the book turns more into a traditional business book by detailing the steps and advice needed to rescue your meetings.

The book begins as an executive faces a cultural problem at his company. He takes steps to rectify the issue and is amid a profitable buyout from a public company when his staff meeting performance is put on center stage. His new boss from corporate wants to observe some meetings. He comes to a harsh realization that something has to change to save his job and continue to run his company. Help comes from an unlikely source, a temp executive assistant. Together, they manage to create quality meetings and strengthen the company along the way.

If you don’t want to read the story, then you can skip right to the “Executive Summary” on page 223 and the following practical action steps that follow.

Lencioni describes two problems with meetings. First, they lack drama. I’ll admit that statement makes me cringe. I don’t like drama, but I can agree that meetings (and effective teams) need some conflict to be productive. The second problem with most meetings is they don’t provide contextual structure. To solve this problem, Lencioni provides four types of meetings: daily check-ins, weekly tactical, monthly strategic, and quarterly offsite review. Discussing and executing the right things at the correct type of meeting will solve the drudgery that comes with poor meetings.

Meetings are everywhere. I have been self-employed, consulted for other companies, managed inside a Fortune 200, and worked in small businesses. Every single instance had meetings; some were better than others (and often were my fault)!

Reading and using the information in Death By Meeting can help improve your business meetings.

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About Phil Klutts

Phil is an Edmond native and has managed to keep his wife here instead of traveling the world, which they both enjoy. They have two boys who love the outdoors, adventures, and learning new things. Phil is a problem-solver at heart and enjoys connecting people to the resources they need.

Phil founded the CK Group LLC after working for large and small businesses in the Energy, Construction, and Fitness industries. He focuses on helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their systems and processes. CK Group LLC's mission is to eliminate chaos and create clarity for small business by connecting vision, strategy, and implementation.