Quick Research Project: How often do teams meet? And how often should they meet?

Apr 6, 2020 by Elise Keith in meeting design (4 minute read)

How often should your team meet? We're collecting data from teams around the globe to find out! Skip to the survey to add your answers!

Research Background

This isn't a question researchers can easily answer, because the answer depends on so many factors.

When we've looked at this question in the past, we had to rely on the published advice of business consultants and process experts, most of which was designed for teams meeting as part of their business-as-usual operations.  

In our own research, we've talked with groups that meet just once per year because they must; it's mandated by law. Otherwise they wouldn't bother. We also spoke with one retired general who once had his teams run After Action Review meetings every 30 minutes during an especially intense training drill.

Finally, we know that in times of emergency, the group in charge of a coordinated emergency response will keep their communication channels open all day. Think of the war rooms you see in movies, or mission command, and you'll know what we're talking about.

These observations suggest that when you need to get people working together in a complex, rapidly evolving situation, you should meet a lot. We've recommended daily meetings at a minimum under these circumstances.

On the other hand, if there aren't many surprises on the agenda and you don't really care that much what the other team members do (think of Home Owners Associations as an example), then you rarely need to meet. Meet often enough to maintain the group's existence, or when you see an opportunity to do something fun together, but otherwise don't bother.

While there are other factors that can guide how often you meet, the key drivers seem to be:

  • Interdepence: How much do the people in the group rely on one another to achieve their goals?
  • Uncertainty: How predictable is the work? If nothing ever changes, there's nothing to talk about. If, on the other hand, your working environment is impacted by all kinds of complex and unpredictable goings on, meet more.


Recommended Meeting Frequency Based on Nature of the Work

RegularOccasionalRegularFrequentUncertaintyInterdependenceHighLowLowHigh
The nature of the team's work should drive the meeting cadence. 

Meet More in Times of Rapid Change and Crisis

We recently hosted a webinar with the founders of the Mission Critical Team Institute about what business teams can learn from the meeting practices of first responders and other mission-critical teams. In the webinar, we recommended teams meet more frequently in times like these.

When asked for specific guidance for business teams, Coleman (a former Navy Seal and current mission-critical team performance expert) shared this recommendation.  

  • Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 2pm

This is similar to the pattern we often use at Lucid, which is:

  • Every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 9am.

Our teams do different kinds of work with different types of clients, which accounts the different time and day recommendations. Our teams also both cherish uninterrupted time for client work and deep focus work, so we share a dedication to reserving some "no meetings" days.

Most importantly, both of our teams are very busy right now. That said, we're not rescuing people from burning buildings or otherwise standing on the bleeding front lines. Our work pace has increased, but the nature of our work hasn't become radically unpredictable, nor has our interdependence on one another changed.

In short, our recommendations work for the kinds of teams we lead.

Raising the question: what works best for the kind of team you lead?

As far as we know, there is no research on this topic, so we need to ask. 

How often do your teams meet?
How has that changed during the Covid-19 pandemic? 

Please take a minute to fill out this fast, anonymous research survey. As we've done in the past , we promise to share the results. (Examples: 1, 2, 3, 4)

Survey Deadline: April 24, 2020
(Right about when the economy is supposed to open again. Ha!)

Note: If you work on more than one team, feel free to fill this out once for each team.


 

Also -please share this survey with everyone you know!  We'd love to have a wonderfully robust set of information to share with you all, and we're extremely grateful for anything you can do to help us all get there together.

Thank you!

 



Recent Posts

Find this useful?