June 02, 2008
You are in a meeting in which the conversation is ineffective, unfocused, and dragging on and on. (You may or may not be the one in charge).
Leaders take initiative. This is a great opportunity to show some.
Use re-directing statements and conclusive observations such as:
It sounds like we have reached a conclusion.
We just heard several ideas for solving this. Can we write those on the white board?
I have heard the same thing 3 times. Let’s acknowledge that and move on.
We are onto a tangent from the objective of this meeting. Let’s capture that as a “parking lot” issue.
Variation: train your staff to use the same methods and award “points” for implementing redirecting statements (Like Drew Carey points, they may mean nothing…but people like the competition).
Short Story (A brief story from a short person)
The Terror of the Leader: Overcoming Self-Doubt
by Katie K. Snapp
When I first began facilitating workshops and meetings 20 years ago, I was anxious, but determined to overcome the steep learning curve. My first nightmare occurred after I had been working steadily for several months, then took a little time off. What if I regressed and could not come back to where I left off?
My nightmare was classic (although I was not naked). I was suddenly standing in front of a group of 25 leaders, all perched intently on their chairs, gaping at me to launch the session into productivity. I had no idea who they were, no evidence of any agenda or workbook for guidance, and not an inkling of the objective of our gathering. To top it off, I looked to my side and caught a glimpse of my co-consultant standing next to me. It was my little sister, whose only job at that time had been a cocktail waitress in a tex-mex restaurant in Kansas City. She too looked at me expectantly.
To wiggle out of the dilemma, a brilliant idea came to me. Why not turn the attention to the group for action? So, I began the session with a brainstorm discussion entitled “What do you think we are here for?” It was a win-win. The group created what they thought would be a worthwhile agenda. Since then, I have never been nervous in leading a meeting or workshop.
Leadership is not about having all the answers. Leadership is about knowing how to extract the answers.