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Kan Ouivirach
Kan Ouivirach

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My Notes from the Book, "Read This Before Our Next Meeting", by Al Pittampalli

Read This Before Our Next Meeting

Meetings are expensive. They break workdays into a series of work moments. Interruptions force us to start over each time.

8 Principles of Modern Meetings

  1. The modern meeting doesn't make decisions. Leaders do. -- A meeting might be helpful as part of decision-making process, but it isn't the decision-making process itself. Consult the team without calling a meeting. If the decision is of no consequence, don't call a meeting.
  2. The modern meeting has 2 primary functions: conflict and coordination. -- For low consequence, the meeting is about coordination. Get the team on the same page. Allow the team to ask questions, voice concerns, and propose modifications. For high consequence, the meeting is about conflict. Encourage a robust, honest debate. Have the team submit their own thoughts about the issues before the meeting. Ask pros and cons. Let the best decision prevail, even if it's not yours.
  3. The modern meeting moves fast and ends on schedule. -- Spend the time wisely since every minute costs us a fortune.
  4. The modern meeting limits the number of attendees. -- Invite only people who are absolutely necessary. Don't waste the others' time.
  5. The modern meeting rejects the unprepared. -- Prepare the agenda and a set of background materials. Every meeting should require pre-meeting work. If someone comes unprepared, cancel the meeting or hold it without him.
  6. The modern meeting produces committed action plans. -- Actions should be clear for all. If no action plan is necessary, neither is a meeting.
  7. The modern meeting refuses to be informational. Reading memos is mandatory. -- We must commit to reading the memos. Treat this agreement very seriously.
  8. The modern meeting works only alongside a culture of brainstorming. -- Brainstorm is so crucial to the success of meeting. Modern meeting is focused in decision.

Initiate a Meeting?

  1. Determine that the meeting is necessary?
  2. Make a list of people to invite.
  3. Create a detailed agenda.
  4. Ask yourself again. Is the meeting really necessary?

How to Decide When We Have a Decision to Make?

  • Can I make this decision myself?
  • Is this a decision of high, low, or no consequence?
  • If a group is necessary, how and when should I involve them?
  • Does the opinion of someone else matter? Or are facts sufficient?
  • Can I do this with a series of one-on-one conversations instead of a meeting?
  • How much time should this decision take?

This book helps me a lot and I hope it does the same for you. 😃

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