Culture Is…What Happens When Things Get Intense.
Culture Is...What Happens After the Meeting
What if your meetings worked for you rather than against you?
You’re managing a team and pursuing important goals, so you know how important team meetings are. Sure, we’ve all been in meetings that should have simply been summarized in an email. Those meetings are a big waste of time and can quickly deflate drive and innovation. But you’re not like that. You spend time ensuring your meetings are valuable and dynamic, but what happens afterward? Sometimes even the best run meetings leave you feeling like you’re just spinning your wheels.
It all comes down to culture. The corporate culture your organization is operating out of determines how well people pursue goals, follow through on tasks, and continue to innovate new and better solutions. Taking stock of what happens after team meetings is a great way to evaluate if your culture needs an overhaul quickly.
Think about it like this: are your people excited about the work they are doing? Do they respect and enjoy their coworkers? Are they interested in what other departments are achieving?
If your work culture is poor, then people drag their feet to those meetings. They don’t really care about what is happening in other departments because they’re not sure they want to be there anyway. They will do the bare minimum required of them, and that’s not good for anyone.
When culture is strong, people come to meetings eager to share what is happening in their department and excited to hear what other work is happening. They are more likely to identify problems and develop innovative solutions without needing their hands held. You can tell someone is not thrilled with their corporate culture when they need to be micromanaged just to complete any project. Instead, meetings should be a place to recenter everyone on the big vision and stimulate new and productive ideas to move everyone forward.
WHAT DO YOUR MEETINGS SAY ABOUT YOUR CULTURE?
I’ve been in meetings where no one feels like they are on a team. We talk about calendars and upcoming projects because it feels obligatory, but everyone simply catches up on emails the whole time because “Other projects don’t pertain to me.”
I’ve also been on teams that can’t wait to meet. Meetings are a place to celebrate the bigger picture and bring up problems that would benefit from having the entire team brainstorm innovative solutions. Most importantly, people follow through and do something in response to the meetings.
ASSESS YOUR TEAM MEETING CULTURE
This is not an article telling you how to run your meeting. Instead, this is an invitation to pause and use your team meetings to assess the overall health of your work culture. There are a few easy ways to do this during the meeting and immediately after.
DURING THE MEETING, ASK YOURSELF:
- When others are present, are people “multitasking” (i.e., checking emails and not paying attention)?
- Do people seem genuinely invested in the other team members and projects?
- Do your meetings produce innovation and increase productivity?
AFTER THE MEETING, ASK:
- Are people following through with their tasks? (Do you repeatedly have the “same” meeting because some things aren’t getting done?)
- Are they coming up with new ideas and creating new projects?
- Do people need a lot of hand-holding, or do they take the initiative?
Reflect on the last few meetings you’ve led or been a part of, and use questions like this to assess the overall strength of your work culture. Culture is the most important driver for innovation, employee retention, and productivity. If things aren’t working at your organization, your culture might need an overhaul.