What is this meeting about?

I was coaching someone yesterday on preparing to lead a meeting that will happen in a couple of weeks.

“This is what the meeting’s goals are,” s/he said, “to inform…. to share… to get opinions on…”

I asked what should be different when the meeting was over. “The projects we’re working on will be more closely aligned with the company goals.”

Bingo.

We started again with that frame in mind. Suddenly the agenda went out the window, the carefully crafted insights into the structure of the department, the rambling about what the teams were working on, how they were spending their time, the protective bulwark around their headcount.

Now s/he looked at the project list through a different lens: what were the company goals and how did the projects support them? What helped the company make more money, save more money, reduce risk, lay groundwork for future strategies?

It became clear that s/he would need to revisit the project lists with the people s/he was representing in that light, ask more questions, help them recognize their strategic importance.

Suddenly s/he was excited about the meeting – a meeting that had been dreaded was now eagerly anticipated, and preparation became something s/he was looking forward to.

After the initial questions that I had asked to provoke thought, I didn’t have to do much but listen as s/he figured the rest out independently.

I love conversations like this.

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