Meetings can be used to develop the culture of the team, or they can be used to deteriorate the culture of the team. Meetings can be used to develop people, or they can be used to demoralize people. There really is no such thing as neutral meetings. They either develop or deteriorate. Here are five characteristics of meetings that develop:
1. The mission and values are present.
When the mission and values are really guiding the culture of the team, they are present in meetings. They may not be on the agenda, but their presence is felt in decision-making, in what is celebrated, and in what is prioritized.
2. There is learning.
In meetings that develop people, there is learning. It is sometimes formal, such as when the leader teaches or the team discusses a book. But it is often informal, such as when the team learns from their collective victories and mistakes, learns from what others are implementing, and seeks to improve.
3. There is feedback.
A meeting with feedback on the progress toward a goal, feedback on an initiative, helps people adjust and learn through the adjustments. Without feedback there is little learning; therefore, meetings without feedback are often meetings without learning, adjusting, and growing together.
4. There are action steps.
Meetings that develop provide action steps so people know what they are responsible for as the meeting ends. Leaders want a culture of execution where people get things done, where what has been assigned is accomplished. A culture of execution is built through actually getting things done, not through meetings about getting things done. But meetings can be an important mechanism to ensure the right actions are taking place.
5. There is honesty.
So much time is saved when team members tell each other the truth in a meeting, when there are honest and respectful conversations. Honesty builds trust and trust creates speed for a team. When there is honesty and trust, decisions can happen much faster. When there isn’t honesty around the table, pre-meetings and post-meetings abound and time is wasted building alliances and covering one’s own backside.