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For effective meetings, try skipping the discussion

Jim and Michele McCarthy are teamwork experts. They’ve spent the last 15 years codifying the best practices of high performing teams, and then teaching them to others in a “teamwork lab” they call Bootcamp.

For the past few weeks I’ve been listening to their 138 episode podcast series – the McCarthy Show.  It’s an easy way to pass the 15 minutes of drive time to the office in the morning – almost as if Jim and Michele had been recording the episodes for my commute!

In Episode 3, Discussion Should be Illegal, they make the case for skipping discussion in favour of action.  Their observation is simple: in many meetings, the discussion before taking a decision doesn’t contribute to getting agreement on the decision. In many situations, the group has already decided!  So ask for the decision before discussing.  If everyone is already in agreement, then skip the discussion and move onto the next agenda item.  It’s a simple idea to achieve results, and radically shorten meetings.

Try it.  I certainly plan to.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Ryan @ Used Shelters November 4, 2010, 5:55 am

    I might have to mention this to my company. It seems like our meetings drag on far too long when everyone is just talking about things we all agree on. I might have to give the McCarthy Show a listen as well.

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