Death By Meeting is yet another book by Patrick Lencioni that has valuable lessons for business executives and managers. Although the book is in the form of a fable, the situations it portrays are all too real for any organization and C-suite executives and above. From the lack of leadership skills to inefficient meetings, Death By Meeting discusses the daily blunders we make without realizing it. If we dissect the book, the following are the top take-outs.
Table of contents
1.Add A Splatter Of Drama to Your Meetings.
Turn your meetings from boring to scoring. Meetings need conflict and drama, where participants can challenge each other’s ideas and suggestions. Such conflict brings out the best ideas and is ultimately beneficial to the business. Similar to movies, the first 10 minutes of a meeting is crucial to hold the attention and arouse the interest of the attendees.
2.Base Your Meeting On A Structure.
Like everything else in life, things fall apart when it doesn’t have any structure. To add structure to your meetings, identify the topics to be discussed, the approximate duration, and the objective of the meeting (inform, approve, or update). Depending on the issues, your meetings should have a pre-set duration. To stick to this, you need to eliminate small talk, discourage latecomers, ensure the meeting agenda is adhered to without going off on a tangent, and let everyone have their say. These are best done by a facilitator who’s aware of the business problems and can steer the discussion in the right direction within the stipulated time.
3.Organize Meetings According To Their Types.
Perhaps one of the best take-outs from Death By Meeting is learning how to categorize meetings according to duration and objective. The author crystallizes this information in the following table.
|Purpose and Format
|Keys to Success
|Share daily schedule and activities
|Don’t sit down.Keep it administrative. Don’t cancel even when some people can’t be there.
|45 – 90 minutes
|Review weekly activities and metrics, and resolve tactical obstacles and issues.
|Don’t set agenda until after initial reporting.Postpone strategic discussions.
|Monthly Strategic (or Ad Hoc Strategic)
|2- 4 hours
|Discuss, analyze, brainstorm, and decide upon critical issues affecting long-term success.
|Limit to one or two topics.Prepare and do research. Engage in good conflict.
|Quarterly Off-site Review
|1 – 2 days
|Review strategy, industry trends, competitive landscape, key personnel, team development.
|Get out of the office. Focus on work; limit social activities. Don’t over-structure or overburden the schedule.
4.Efficient EAs To The Rescue!
The Executive Assistants are as important as their bosses to turn things around in the organization. They must be armed with the current business knowledge and past trends so that they can share insights and draw the attention of their boss to the right issues. Besides, EAs must have empathy and sympathy for the Executive and put themselves in their shoes. Last but not least, they must have an excellent network with other EAs to get great insights.
5.A Dose Of Extracurricular Activities Helps!
If you take an interest in sports, movies, painting, cycling, hiking, or any other activities outside of work, that helps to put a fresh perspective on your business and the way your organization is run. As Death By Meeting reveals, Will’s interest in movies plays a significant role in how he draws a parallel between movies and meetings and makes a successful and convincing case out of it. Moreover, if your extracurricular activities are related to the products that your business markets, that’s a bonus since you can offer views from a consumer’s perspective.
6.Leading From The Front.
Another key take-out from the book is how leadership skills can make or break a company by affecting the morale and motivation of their employees. While being flexible, the leader must be firm, steer the company in the right direction by weighing the industry trends against company goals, face sticky situations instead of brushing them under the carpet, and encourage healthy debates and conflict.
Death By Meeting is a must-read for Executives who spend an unnecessary amount of time in fruitless meetings.