Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable
Karen Wendt, SFTL President & expert in responsible, impact and sustainable investing
Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable
If you feel like you’re in the wrong movie when you’re in a meeting, then today’s book tip is for you.
Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable works out what distinguishes good meetings from bad ones. Patrick Lencioni’s leadership fable, Death by Meeting, tells the answer to the question , what must good meetings look like. This also has a lot to do with the question of how to build a good meeting culture. His message: Good meetings are like good movies – in the best case exciting with a good portion of drama! If you are part of “Dailys” “Scrumm Meetings ” and “Strategic Meetings” you will like this fable.It really shows how to establish a thriving meeting culture.
Will, an unconventional consultant with a background in entertainment. Will’s fresh perspective becomes a catalyst for changing the meeting culture at Yip, as he compares the lackluster boardroom interactions to disappointing and poorly scripted television dramas.
A Dramatic Approach to Meetings
While highlighting the ills of Yip’s meeting culture, Will proposes a radical solution – to treat business meetings like compelling narrative dramas or gripping movies. Drawing on his experience in cinematography, he emphasizes the need for conflict and resolution—two elements missing from the company’s current meetings. He argues that good stories captivate their audience, and to captivate attendees, meetings should bear suspense, dramatic tension, and conflict.
Using this dramatic approach, Will introduces a structure of four distinct types of meetings: the Daily Check-In, the Weekly Tactical, the Monthly Strategic, and the Quarterly Off-Site Review. Each meeting type serves a unique objective, and together they create a comprehensive meeting system that accommodates various discussions, conflicts, and resolutions, and ultimately, facilitates better decision-making.
Implementation and Transformation
The management team at Yip initially feels dubious about this unconventional approach. However, they decide to implement Will’s meeting structure. What follows is a transformative process that shakes up the organization’s tedious status quo. The new meeting formats incorporate human drama in the form of constructive arguments, challenging decisions, and robust debates, injecting life into what was once a monotonous routine.
The Weekly Tactical meetings now focus on resolving immediate issues, while the Monthly Strategic meetings provide a platform for intense strategic discussions. The Quarterly Off-Site meetings enable team members to review their performance and identify trends that could potentially change the game. The results are more engaged attendees, more effective decision-making, and a more vibrant company culture that celebrates diversity and conflict.
Revitalizing Meeting Culture
It becomes clear that dramatic tension is not the enemy of productive meetings. Rather, it turns out to be an unexpected ally that combats monotony and disinterest. With the right balance struck, the meetings at Yip become dynamic tools for team coordination and strategic planning. The transformation visibly trickles down from the meeting room to everyday work, improving work satisfaction, efficiency, and eventually bottom-line results.
Patrick Lencioni’s Death by Meeting makes a compelling case for the reinvention of meeting culture and strategy. It advocates a blueprint for turning boring meetings into captivating, productive, and decision-driven gatherings. When done right, meetings can be powerhouses of strategizing, collaboration, and conflict resolution.