Bad meetings lead to bad decisions which lead to mediocrity

Yup. That’s the money quote from Patrick Lencioni’s “Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business“.

Lencioni writes business books as fictional stories (“fables”). The stories start with the protagonist, usually an executive with a heart of gold, facing a major crisis that forces the company to adopt a more enlightened way of doing business, one that’s grounded in the way people are… people. If you don’t like digesting the more typical how-to type of business books but want to be exposed to some of these ideas, I recommend Lencioni’s books in audio form.

In the beginning of the story, the executives at the fictional company have settled into a endless parade of mind-numbing, ineffective internal meetings that they try to skip as much as possible. Sometimes physically, mostly mentally. The idea of trying to change it doesn’t occur to them because they think that’s what meetings are like.

In actuality, meetings are like most other things in the world. There are great ones, good ones, so-so ones, and bad ones and it depends on where you sit. As organizers and attendees of meetings, we can stop accepting that there can be less than good ones. You have better things to do but most importantly… see the title of this post.

A meeting is face time with the people you’ve chosen to work with (in one way or another), and when it’s done right, it’s an intense, invigorating exchange of the minds and hearts that leads to a decisive, collective move with the best possible foot forward.

What would the potential impact of your work look like, if all of our meetings were like that?

Photo taken September 22nd, 2007 at a hole-in-the-wall pool hall in Tokyo.