July 8, 2020

Why meetings produce little… and what you can do about it.

What to do about meetings

Haven’t you gone to organizational meetings that managers attend in the hope of getting something accomplished, maybe walking away satisfied that projects will move forward, results will be produced and no more sleepless nights to had. However, As a senior executive performance coach, I have heard from many executives over and over that when they go to meetings they hear debate and debate on what to do, what actions to take, what is wrong etc etc etc… and it is a painful waste of time. Little get’s done, people talk and talk about the same issues, and no clarity or commitment to move in an aligned direction to create a strategy to follow. And, furthermore some people sit there thinking of other matters, working on their computers, jotting notes on their other concerns and are not even following the conversation.

Why…….? What’s missing is the distinction of “speech acts” and how to use them.

To produce something you need “to master “speech acts”: “language rituals that build trust between colleagues and customers, word practices that open your eyes to new possibilities.” Speech acts are powerful because most of the actions that people engage in — in business, in marriage, in parenting — are carried out through conversation. But most people speak without intention; they simply say whatever comes to mind. Speak with intention, and your actions take on new purpose. Speak with power, and you act with power.” (*taken from a quote of Fernando Flores)

And, what’s even more powerful is that the conversations you engage in create the culture and reality in which everyone you work with lives. Change the conversations and you change the world

To be effective manager, leader, executive you must learn the language of authentic commitment. You must be able to make bold promises and have the integrity to deliver on them or say you will not. You must be able to make requests of others and put aside your concern for looking good or not being admired. One of the most insidious addictions we all have. You must be willing to use language with an intention to move the world forward and not just engage in streams of thoughts that become the chatter for the day.

You can use of language to be a powerful tool for mediocrity or impeccability. It’s your choice.

“An organization’s results are determined through webs of human commitments born in webs of human conversations.” –Fernando Flores, philosopher, former Chilean minister of finance

“Well-planned meetings are a key to an organization’s effectiveness. It is through meetings that the organization establishes its identity, formulates policies, makes decisions, and discusses ideas.” –Meetings That Matter, Revised (NASSP)

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