Changing a long since established organisational culture can prove a difficult task holding both advantages and drawbacks. A strong culture might be key to the business keeping its share of the market, to deliveries staying on point, and to the hiring of the exactly right employees.
But the culture of an organisation can also be very tangible. It is how we address each other. The consideration we offer each other every day. Putting on a fresh pot of coffee upon finishing the last or occasionally emptying the dishwasher. And culture is the way we hold meetings.
While the former – the matter of how we behave and treat each other in general – luckily, comes naturally to most people, the issue of a meeting culture might be a matter that no one is able to or wants to – or even dares to attempt to change too much. And that is assuming anyone even recognises that it is a problem.
Train to run better meetings
Often, much of what we do in regard to meetings is so routinely driven that we do not even question the configuration. We do not question who calls the meeting, who attends it, who makes the agenda, or who leads the meeting. And we might not even question why we are having the meeting at all.
It could be well worth considering whether you could train or educate yourselves to run better meetings both as leaders and attendants of such. There are plenty of classes and courses available that will make you and your co-workers better prepared for calling, leading, and following up on efficient and good meetings – no matter your individual starting point.
The typical causes for inefficient meetings are:
- The meeting is poorly prepared
- The purpose of the meeting is unclear
- Insufficient meeting leadership resulting in
- Discussions flowing too freely without form
- Schedule being abandoned and the meeting running over time
- Conclusions being unclear
- Insufficient follow-up
This adds up to wasting a significant amount of time with meetings that would otherwise help us achieve an easier and more efficient working day. But luckily, these are conditions that can be easily addressed and changed.
You could send the meeting leaders off to training, initially, but it may make more sense to involve an entire department or team and let them take part in the programme together. There are various suppliers and many of them will be able to fit a training programme specifically to your needs, and although this is a process costing both time and money it may turn out to be a good investment in the light of the cost of inefficient meetings, that is – you guessed it – time and money!
You might also want to read: Become a successful meeting facilitator
Hire a facilitator
Another model could be hiring in a facilitator to run your meeting. Someone like that could be in charge of the entire process from planning the meeting, calling and running it, to following up after the meeting, but a facilitator could also simply lead the meeting itself.
The drawbacks of hiring on a facilitator could be the vast amount of knowledge needed to take charge of the meeting, and you having to expose part of your business to an outsider, something many find difficult and daunting.
Outside consultants, however, are professional individuals and they will contribute with new perspectives, meaning that the sharing of knowledge can – and ought to – be an advantage. Being forced to explain what you do will cause you to reflect upon your own practices giving insights that might not otherwise be recognised.
You should view a facilitator of meetings as you would a couple’s counsellor – having him or her in the room grants the opportunity of bringing forth issues that are otherwise difficult to share openly. Furthermore, a facilitator will not be bound or restricted by any current norms – outspoken or not - of an office making tough choices and decisions easier.