Successful Meetings: It’s All About The Finish

A Critical Doer is willing to lead 

A Critical Doer understands following 


Successful meetings, just like a successful race, are all about the finish.  I saw a presentation last weekend that used the following vignette to highlight the importance of maintaining focus all the way through the finish…take a look.

Article and Video from 2015 Pac 12 Track and Field Championship Steeplechase

How tragic to have worked so hard in developing the skill to have that kind of lead only to lose not because speed was lacking, but because the runner failed to focus through the finish.  Unfortunately this is also played out in the world of work when it comes to meetings.

In a recent Harvard Business review article, writer and business consultant Paul Axtell penned a really good article outlining guidelines for conducting a successful meeting.  The guidelines in his article are applicable whether your meeting occurs in the boardroom of a major or with your family around the supper table.

You should take the guidelines to heart and apply them, but there’s something wrong with the assumption that begins the article that we should discuss as Critical Doers.  The assumption is that the chairperson of the meeting is solely responsible for a successful outcome, and on this point we distinguish ourselves as Critical Doers.

The point of a meeting is to reach decisions or inform people so that action can take place.  A meeting that produces nothing is generally a waste of the most precious resource…time.  A thinker alone will walk out of a poorly run meeting and espouse a splendid oratory of why the meeting failed to bear fruit.

A Critical Doer, knowing a meeting needs to produce something to be of value, will employ active listening skills we’ve discussed in previous posts to fight for those nuggets that will enable action that would not be possible at the conclusion of a poorly run meeting that failed to follow Axtell’s guidelines.

Take this opportunity to review the 4-part series on active listening.  You’ll find that willingness to apply the principles in this series of posts to be a powerful antidote for a poorly run meeting.  Remembering our philosophy that the only future we have is the one we’re willing to make for ourselves, a Critical Doer will not succumb to the temptation to be a mere “problem identifier” who criticizes the meeting without attempting to salvage value from it.

Take the lessons to heart and increase your capacity to do through planning and executing effective meetings of your own…and using your active listening skills to salvage value from those that are not.  Focus and finish; it’s what a Critical Doer would…do!

Active Listening (Part 1): Learning To HEAR

Active Listening (Part 2): Beating the Faulty Logic Of Mutual Exclusion

Active Listening (Part 3): Listening for “Why”

Active Listening (Part 4): Mirror, Mirror…In My Ears???

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Updated: May 6, 2015 — 11:22 am