Meetings happen more often than ever and cause as much consternation and complaining as ever, if not more. Yet despite all that hand-wringing and general disdain, we may be missing the biggest problem with them. Have you thought about the connection between meetings and team culture?
As I’ve said many times (and we wrote about in The Long-Distance Team), “Culture is the way we do things around here.” Since meetings are often where communication, collaboration, and decisions happen, they are a significant part of your culture.
How Are Your Meetings?
With the right examination, meetings can tell you a lot about your culture. And not just your in-meeting culture, but your overall culture as well.
Whether your meetings are awful, mediocre, or awesome, these questions can help with that examination, giving you some tangible talking points about the often-elusive topic of culture.
- In general, what do your meetings say about your culture?
- How does positional role and power factor into your meetings? Is it helpful or a barrier?
- How freely do people share their ideas in your meetings?
- Do people feel supported when they share their ideas?
- Is there true discussion in meetings, when needed, or is the conversation dominated by a few people?
- What role does the leader play in meetings? Is it helpful or stifling?
- How well planned are your meetings?
- Do people come to your meetings prepared?
- Do action items identified in meetings get completed? On time? If not, is there accountability for completion?
- Are your team meetings significantly different than others in the organization (better or worse)? What does that tell you about your culture(s)?
Meetings and Team Culture
Beyond these questions, and others you might think of, I have three other bigger questions for you to consider. They are related to our 3C Model for Team and Culture Design:
- How would you rate communication in your meetings?
- How would you rate collaboration in your meetings?
- If others observed your meetings, how cohesive would they say your team is?
Simply remembering the connection between meetings and team culture is a start. Using these questions can give you a better way to look at more than meetings, but also your culture. Thinking about these questions yourself is helpful. I encourage you to share and discuss them as a team as well. It can be a powerful way to start intentionally creating the culture you want on your team and in your organization.