The Most Important Thing #72

by Sue Hawkes

The Most Important Thing #72

Often as we go about our busy days, many people don’t prepare for meetings. Why?

I see teams prioritizing preparation for things like client meetings – where they believe it “counts;” and I don’t disagree. Why we don’t prepare for all our meetings, especially with our leadership teams, I’m unsure. Daily I’ll ask my clients how they prepare for their meetings and the responses range from “I didn’t prepare at all” to “I have too many priorities and there’s no time to prepare.” A rare bunch prepares. The same applies to leaders in peer learning/round table groups. They arrive and tackle top of mind subjects and don’t leverage the brilliant minds they have at the table once a month. Lost opportunities abound, and over time, these same leaders leave their groups because they aren’t realizing the value of the group.

Think about it. Your internal meetings are the most costly, especially involving your leadership team. Calculate the hourly cost by what each person makes an hour and it is a considerable investment. Add in the energy and time, and it factors even higher. So why do we approach them so casually and rest on our stories, excuses, reasons, justifications and explanations for why we don’t?

I ask clients to think about themselves the same way they think about a meeting for a game changing client opportunity. Ask yourself these questions as you prepare:

  • What is the most important thing we should be talking about today?
  • What issues do we need to dig into to remove the most friction from our team or business?
  • What are you hoping I won’t bring up?
  • What’s the most important decision we’re facing?
  • What’s in the way of us moving forward with ease?
  • If nothing changes, what’s likely to happen?
  • What decisions do we need to make today to make business easier?
  • What am I/are we avoiding?
  • What do we need to accomplish today during this time to realize equal to or greater than the value I’d receive by doing other work?
  • How will I create maximum value for myself and others by contributing at this meeting?
  • If I/we were ultimately successful at this meeting, what would happen?
  • What solutions would have the biggest impact on our time today?
  • What is the purpose of this meeting and how can I contribute to that value?
  • What 3 issues do I want to solve today?
  • What’s the focus of this meeting?
  • What can I do to facilitate us being effective with our time?

If we don’t prepare for our interactions with others, we should lower our expectations with regard to the outcomes. Preparation is required for greatness.

Sue HawkesThe Most Important Thing #72