How to Organise Strategic Meetings With Impact


Meetings meetings meetings. The bane of business life sometimes. But have you ever considered what meetings have made an impact? I've been reading "Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change" by Chris Ertel:

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Do you like meetings?

  • What business meeting do you remember?
  • Do you like meetings?
  • Would you be able to remember any meeting that had an impact?
  • Ever done strategy at a meeting?
  • Did that meeting have an impact?

Not many people like meetings. Most of us accept that a lot of them are useless. Organisations can live with that. What businesses cannot live with are meetings about strategy that do not work.

Strategic conversations

In a VUCA world, where you try to cut cubes out of fog, you need meetings with impact. Actually, you do not need meetings. You need strategic conversations. To do that properly you need to do a few things.

Slow flow

You need to slow down. If you move at 100 miles an hour, any mistake can be fatal. When things are happening very fast, it is even more important that you stop and take the time to think deeply.

Engage and make it experiential

You also need to engage, you need to make it experiential, you need multiple perspectives, you need to harness the best thinking, you need to create a common platform, and you should use storytelling as a tool.

The tips

The book takes the learning from a wide range of angles. Neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, system dynamics, design, etc. and is full of tips. Here are a few:

  • Only focus on one purpose
  • Framing is important
  • Make it experiential (an agenda is not an experience)
  • Discover, don’t tell
  • Focus on assumptions, not conclusions
  • Be diverse as possible in your selection of participants
  • Pure reason does not work. It has to be emotional. A room full of Spocks will not work.
  • Focus on desire (strategy does not work because nobody cares)
  • Detail is important (venue, food, distractions)
  • Watch out for the Yabbuts (politics, short-termism, the Hippo and karaoke syndromes)
  • Interview participants in advance and listen
  • Inertia is the most powerful force in the universe

Meetings with impact are essential

Being strategic is important. Increasingly so. The faster you go, the further you need to look ahead. So you need meetings with impact. You need to get the best out of your people. You need their engagement and their acceptance.

The Trinity

This book combined with “Future vision” and “Exponential organisations” will give you the Trinity to have some very interesting conversations.

Final thoughts.

We like this book. It is part of our professional development. It has given us food for thought. It also confirms some of the core principles of Bookbuzz. The slow flow, the conversation, the different perspectives, the importance of framing. The key lesson for us that we need to make our sessions even more experiential and emotional.

Time for us to re-read “Infinite possibilities” again.

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