Call a meeting for the right reasons

I was recently asked to evaluate an employee staff meeting that was held regularly.  It is a very busy call center operation and employees do not often get a chance to meet, when the phones start ringing.  In doing my initial review I was told by a senior leader that the meeting was implemented as a way to communicate any critical issues, key customer updates and any other items that management thought employees may have to address that day.  In other words, to prepare them and this made sense to me.

In the first meeting, the manager asked if anyone had anything to share.  Some employees shared their commute stories, others children stories and yet others seemed inpatient.  The second meeting was similar, but this time they went around the room and tell the group what they were working on that day.  Again, some employees had a specific project, but most said they were taking calls.  It didn’t seem to me that this meeting was really a good use of time.  I asked the manager what the goal of the morning meeting was.  She said the morning meeting was something they did before she came to the company and she just kept it going.  My point, everyone is so busy these days, take the time to evaluate the goal and effectiveness of your meetings.  Ask yourself: “What value will this meeting bring to each person in the room?” Base the go/no-go and participant list on the answer to that question.
When you call a meeting, make it a significant event and above all know the goal and be prepared. Even if it is a daily update.  The higher you climb in your organization, the more expectations others have for your ability to conduct yourself in meetings, whether you’re a participant or the leader. Take meetings seriously (or don’t have one).  Nothing special to discuss? Skip the meeting. If you don’t need other people’s input, or if you’ve already made up your mind about an issue, getting others involved will only complicate your plan and be seen as disingenuous.
Do have a meeting if you need to share information with a lot of people quickly. Likewise, if you want input on an issue, need discussion that leads to an agreement, or just want to energize the team. Your meetings should offer a value to everyone involved.