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Posts Tagged ‘Group Operational Meetings’

I’m summarizing and excerpting from Ken Thompson’s The Networked Enterprise. Ken is a leading expert on teaching small to medium sized businesses come together to form Virtual Enterprise Networks (VENs) to enable them to achieve scale through collective projects.

Ken’s Guidelines for Effective Group Operational Meetings:

1. Sterile Cockpit: In meetings this means focus exclusively on the agenda. Ken borrows from the aviation term for restricting all discussion in the cockpit during take-off and landing to those tasks and nothing else. Even if an interesting topic comes up, don’t allow the meeting to be distracted.

2. No Telling Stories: “Give the absolute minimum facts to allow the meeting to determine the correct action”.  Any stories inevitably lead to defending or justifying.

3. Reveal Don’t Conceal: Put everything on the table without being asked. Don’t force others to deduce or uncover information.

4. The Four Task States: Task may only be: Done, On Plan, At Risk, or Missed.

  • For Done or On Plan tasks: congratulate and end discussion, unless there is a challenge.
  • For At Risk or Missed: Team must find a new commitment that they really rely on.

5.  The 5 meeting roles: to be allocated to participants before the meeting.

  • Customer: The participant with predominant need for a successful outcome.  This role decides the success of the meeting.
  • Facilitator: Leads the meeting to make sure the customer gets what they need.
  • Timekeeper: Self explanatory!
  • Scribe: The designated notes recorder and after meeting report with action tiems and minutes.
  • Sensor: Senses how the meeting is going and spots unhelpful moods or agendas.

Last year I helped manage an online community (Greenlight Community on ning) of about 8000 members.  Ialso organized Greenlight Community city groups in 12 cities.  From my experience leading conference calls every week for 13 months, I have not seen more effective and concise guidelines for operational meetings. We learned this mostly by trial and error.

Please submit your own guidelines that have worked for virtual or distributed groups.  Thanks.

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