Making Meetings Work for All

From planking to pizzas has some interesting ideas about how to reduce meeting madness and make meetings more productive – ban powerpoint, stand up, lock up your phones, read papers beforehand, know why you are there, and so on.  All of these are worth a try and there are the basics too, like setting an agenda, sending out papers in advance, keeping to time, noting actions, following up after the meeting and so on.

Important as these are, it is often the behaviours displayed in meetings, which sabotage them – people turning up late, not contributing, criticising colleagues, making unhelpful remarks, working on their laptops, looking at their phones, being defensive.

What we need is advice, not on the mechanics of running meetings, but on how to participate in them.  And a knowledge of what drives and stresses your colleagues when interacting with each other is a great start to developing more productive behaviours and more effective meetings.

Here’s a summary of what drives and stresses people of each of the four styles when they communicate with others:

  They are driven… Stressor
NAVIGATOR to plan how to reach the goal

“I need a course of action”

They get stressed when they don’t know what’s likely to happen – when colleagues throw in too many options and decisions are unclear
MOBILISER to get on quickly with the task 

“I need action with results”

They get stressed when nothing is being accomplished – when colleagues take too long to discuss and make decisions
ENERGISER to get everyone involved

“I need collaboration”

They get stressed when they or others are not involved – when colleagues stay silent or are critical of their ideas
SYNTHESISER to consider all the options for achieving the goal

“I need information to get the best result”

They get stressed when they don’t have enough input, time or credit – when colleagues rush ahead and make decisions too quickly

There is plenty of scope for conflict between people who have different drives and stressors.  But when you know more about your own and your colleagues’ drives and stressors, you can adapt your behaviour to get on better with them.

Read an overview of the four styles here.