When is a team meeting NOT a team meeting?

Q: Does your manager cancel it if they cannot attend?
A: It’s not a team meeting. It’s the manager’s meeting.Q: Does your manager set and send out the agenda?
A: It’s not a team meeting. It’s the manager’s meeting.
Q: Are you expected to attend by default?
A: It’s not a team meeting. It’s the manager’s meeting.

This is not a feature purely of generic team meetings, it applies to any regularly timed meeting in a normal ordinary command and control organisation.

Think of people who need to meet to solve some kind of mutual problem. They self organise and decide individually whether they should or shouldn’t go. The things that need to be talked or decided grow out of the shared problem. If somebody can’t come at that time or date, then the nature of the problem and the degree and nature of the missing person’s involvement in it would be the criteria that decide whether the meeting is rearranged so they can come later or at a different location.

Essentially the problem itself that causes the meeting, dictates the meeting.

On the other end of the scale from problem-driven meetings are hierarchical meetings. These are total crud. They happen because. They happen because of the features of a command and control hierarchy, such as the existence of managers, decisions made separate from the work dropping vertically from above, performance monitoring, “planning” in the absence of knowledge etc

The hierarchy dictates the meeting, who attends, the content, the form and how decisions are made within it.

Here’s the test of a meeting, whether it is a manager’s meeting or a problem solving meetings….

Does the law of 2-feet apply?

The law is simple…

If you are in a meeting and are not contributing anything of value or getting something valuable, you have the responsibility to use your 2 feet and walk away.[link]

If you cannot use the law of 2-feet, because you’re expected to be in the meeting due to because, then you’re in  a manager’s meeting.

If you can, congratulations. It’s a real meeting. Enjoy!

This entry was posted in command and control, systems thinking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to When is a team meeting NOT a team meeting?

  1. John Wenger says:

    Hear hear! I happily worked in a place where our team meetings WERE team meetings. Halcyon days.

    Liked by 1 person

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