Today our most valuable commodity is our time. If you are lucky enough to get people in the same room together, don’t waste their time with reports and updates that could easily be shared in writing before or after the meeting. Instead, focus this valuable face-to-face time on items that can really benefit from discussion or are of strategic importance to the organization.
Think about it. What is more likely to engage you? A report on last month’s financial data or a brainstorming discussion about what opportunities there might be to use social media to generate new revenue?
If you want to unlock the expertise, knowledge, and experience of those in the room, skip (or reduce) the reports and engage them in thinking about opportunities, solving problems, or brainstorming new strategies. The energy they will bring to these discussions will be dramatically different than what they bring to giving or listening to reports, and you will gain greater buy-in while you do it.
So, the next time you are planning a meeting agenda, take a look at what reporting might typically take place. Ask yourself (and be tough), “Do we REALLY need to provide this report at this meeting?” Each report you can eliminate (or provide in writing instead of verbally) buys valuable time. You’ll then be able to ask:
- What is it that we really need to accomplish?
- How could the collective brain power of this group help me move something forward?
- What might we do together?”
If you give your board meaningful work to do during your meetings, you’ll be surprised at just how energized and engaged they will become and how much more valuable these meetings will become for you too.