categories: communication
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November 20th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Half the Meetings, Twice the Productivity

Over time at Life Church, our systems became more complicated and our communication more challenging.

To help people become better informed, we started adding meetings. Unfortunately, more meetings led to more inefficiency. (This may not always be the case. But it often is. Read Death by Meetings by Patrick Lencioni.)

We tried a radical experiment and cut the frequency of our meetings in half. If a group met once a month, we moved it to once every two months. If they met four times a year, we moved it to twice a year. If they met once a week, we moved it to twice a month.

Here is what happened:

  • Instead of less communication, we had better communication. The infrequency of meetings forced us to be more intentional with our communication.
  • Instead of planning out one week, we had to plan two. This forced us to become more organized.
  • Instead of the meetings seeming dull and boring, people came more excited to be together.
  • Instead of longer, more drawn out meetings, people worked harder, faster and smarter.
  • We freed up a ton of time for other important ministry.

It might be a slight overstatement… if so, not by much. I honestly think we cut our meetings in half and doubled our production.

Thoughts?

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categories: communication
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November 19th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Tips for Running the Effective Meeting

A skilled leader will effectively moderate and guide a meeting toward productive decisions and action. Here are a few tips I’ve learned.

  • Keep the discussion moving. You’ll want to maintain a sense of polite urgency. You want to push hard enough to keep the meeting moving but not too hard that you don’t allow time for adequate discussion and thoughtful consideration.
  • Encourage participation. Often the quiet attendees have the most to offer. They simply need some encouragement. Ask direct questions to keep everyone involved.
  • Compliment ideas and contributions. Whenever possible, make someone else look good in a meeting.
  • Press for a decision. Many meetings become a “talking circle.” People talk around the ideas, but never make any decisions. Press for decision.
  • Create an action plan. Once a decision is made, you’ll want to decide who does what.
  • Set deadlines. After each assignment is made, you’ll either want to set a deadline, or ask, “When do you think you can have this done?” Once a person commits, you’ll want to hold them to the deadline.
  • Plan your communication. Since you’ve intentionally kept your meeting on the smaller side, there will probably be several (or many) people who will need to know some of the content from the meeting. Ask “Who needs to know what?” Plan your communication strategy and execute it well.
  • Summarize the decisions made and the action plan. As you’re wrapping up the meeting, you’ll want to summarize what you’ve covered and who will take what action. Leave adequate time for a complete summary. (If the meeting is more formal, you’ll want to make sure someone takes good notes and distributes minutes.)

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November 18th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Setting the Tone for Effective Meetings

The start of the meeting generally sets the tone of the meeting. If people trickle in slowly, engage in extended small talk, and don’t have a plan, you’ve just set the tone for a bad meeting. Today, we’ll talk about how to set the tone for an effective meeting.

  • Assign a start time and honor it. If you don’t start on time, you’re communicating that the meeting isn’t important.
  • Ask your team to refrain from emailing, texting, or taking calls during the meeting. If you have everyone’s full attention, you can make significant progress quickly. Emailing, texting, etc. is very rude to those who aren’t.
  • Set an agenda. You might want to establish the agenda with a group ahead of time, set it yourself, or open the floor for agenda items. However you arrive at an agenda, make sure you have one.
  • Make the agenda visible. Write it a white board. Project it on the wall. Email it to your team members. Whatever you do, put it in writing and follow it.
  • Decide what topics you’re communicating and which needs decisions. Part of the meeting will be devoted to communicating and part to deciding. I like to cover communication first, then devote specific time to making decisions.

Thoughts?

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categories: time management
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November 17th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Meetings

If you’ve been around churches for any time at all, chances are you’ve been a part of some inefficient, ineffective, and downright painful meetings.

This week, I’ll share some tips I’ve learned the hard way about how to lead effective meetings.

My first and biggest recommendation is this: Work to keep your meetings small and communication from meetings large.

Too many ministries make the mistake of including too many people in too many meetings. The purpose of the meeting should determine the size of the meeting.

If the purpose of the meeting is to make decisions, keep the meeting as small as possible. Our Directional Leadership Team (the group that runs the church) consists of five people including me. Many have suggested that we make the group larger. I simply won’t budge.

(I also like odd numbers. To me, 3 or 5 is better than 4. For some reason, relationships seem to gel better in odd numbers.)

If you have a board or elders, I would work to keep the group no larger than 12. In my opinion, 9 is better than 12, 7 is better than 9. (We have 11.)

This doesn’t mean you don’t seek tons of outside input. What you’re doing is building a cohesive team that can move quickly.

More to come.

Thoughts?

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July 30th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Think Fast

In today’s world, by the time you are 100% sure an idea is good, you are often too late.

Many people over-process decisions. The more they analyze it, the more the options bog them down.

Some studies show that people make better decisions when they are fast decisions.

By fast, I don’t mean sloppy or irrational. A great “decision maker” often takes in the facts and can intuitively (or supernaturally) sense what the right decision is.

I’ll often force a decision with a staff member. When she is stalling, I occasionally pull out a quarter and say, “By the time this lands on the ground, you’re going to tell me what you think is right.” As I flip the coin into the air, she’ll generally give me her decision.

Think fast.

How have you seen this play out in your world?

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