How to Identify and Eliminate Meetings That Waste Your Team's Time

Aug 4, 2020 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation (8 minute read)

In previous articles, we explored ways to determine the best-fit meeting cadence for your team. An effective meeting cadence means your team is talking often enough to maintain momentum and build solid working relationships, but not so often that they have trouble completing other work. 

Looking at the many examples provided in these articles, I hope we can agree that most teams have some meetings which are required to successfully achieve their goals. If we accept that we need at least some meetings, we can reject the lazy idea that we'll fix our unproductive meeting problem by just cancelling lots of meetings.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation

How to Find the Most Productive Meeting Schedule for a Team Like Yours

Aug 4, 2020 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design (11 minute read)

Too much time wasted in unproductive meetings. This remains a top contender on the list of workplace complaints, as it has been for at least 700 years.


Some folks wrestling with this complaint assume that the solution is to simply reduce the amount of time spent in meetings, ideally through the elimination of as many meetings as possible. This is a tidy, easily measured approach, which can yield a quick claim to victory.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

Tips for Taking In-Person Training and Workshops Online

Apr 7, 2020 by Elise Keith in meeting technology, leadership & facilitation, remote work, meeting design (10 minute read)

If you're a trainer, workshop facilitator, faith-community leader, event planner, or consultant, you convene groups for a living.


You've probably designed your work assuming you'll be in the same room with the group you're serving.

Now, like everyone else, you need to figure out how to deliver your services online.

You're working fast and feeling a lot of pressure to have an answer for your clients now. You also want to keep your existing contracts intact as much as possible. It was hard enough to get these sessions scheduled in the first place, so you really don't want to have that discussion again.

Unfortunately, this desire to keep the transition from in-person to virtual as simple and direct as possible is driving many experts to make some poor choices. They're also missing some big opportunities.

Here are three of the most important mistakes we see experts make when they first redesign in-person events for online delivery, and some tips about what to do instead.

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Topics: meeting technology, leadership & facilitation, remote work, meeting design

How To Establish an Effective Decision-Making Process for Your Team in 5 Simple Steps

Sep 16, 2019 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design, strategy (24 minute read)

Many teams lack a clear process for making decisions. Others create decision-making processes that are plenty clear, but take forever. Most employ a confused mix, running some decisions through an agonizing gauntlet of analysis but leaving others up to the leader-of-the-day's whims.

These teams waste money and time. They also undermine the group's confidence and trust.

Who wants to work on a team where nothing gets done, because no one ever makes a decision without first checking and re-analyzing 97,000 times? Not me. Not you, I'm guessing.

None of us wants to work with a leader who makes arbitrary decisions based on secret criteria, either. While executive mandate sounds powerful, in reality it means that the leader couldn't get anyone else to back that decision with them, so they chose to bully it into being instead.

What works? And if your team doesn't have great decision making habits, how do you get started?

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design, strategy

6 Reasons Most Efforts to Fix a Bad Meeting Culture Fail and How You Can Beat the Odds

Mar 14, 2019 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, training (13 minute read)

Earlier this week we announced the opening of Meeting School, the world's only online educational marketplace dedicated to meeting skills education. Meeting School offers courses taught by the team at Lucid and by meeting specialists, scientists, and experts from around the globe.

At Lucid Meetings, our mission is to make it easy for teams to run successful meetings every day. Teaching teams the skills they need to run successful meetings seems like an obvious way for us to fulfill this mission, and yet we're just now opening our first courses to students.

For years, when I shared the Lucid mission with new people they would say "Oh, so you do training? Workshops and things?" They assumed that a group looking to run better meetings would need workshops.

But we'd seen too many organizations invest in failed quick-fix meeting improvement programs, and we weren't interested in creating yet another well-meaning but doomed-to-fail batch of meeting training.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, training

Transforming Expertise into Mastery

Sep 19, 2018 by Paul Dreyer in leadership & facilitation (3 minute read)

The Lucid Meetings team is thrilled to introduce Paul Dreyer.

Our founder Elise Keith met Paul when visiting Zingerman's. At the time, Paul was visiting Zingerman's to see how they'd evolved their training practice, and Elise was conducting research for Where the Action Is.  

They got to talking about the Conscious Competence Ladder, a tool they'd both used for training meetings. Paul shared how he'd developed an updated version of the model for use in his work - and yes, it's way better! He's generously agreed to share this updated model with the Lucid community. Thank you, Paul! 

When I first learned about the "Conscious Competence Ladder” of becoming an expert, I loved it.

I immediately added it to my leadership and communication tool box. Whether I was learning something myself or facilitating a training on leadership development, I would often point to this model as an effective and powerful awareness tool.

Sometimes also referred to as the "Conscious Competence Matrix” or the "Four Stages of Learning," this model helps us  better understand the struggling landscape we must travel when learning something new.

Of course, I was not alone. Since it was developed in the 1970s, the Conscious Competence Ladder has become a widely used and loved tool. From classrooms to boardrooms to best-selling books on communication (i.e. Malcolm Gladwell's Blink), this model seems to show up everywhere.

Unfortunately, it's incomplete and actually not a good model. Let me show you how to transform the model into something better.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation

The 4 Meeting Agendas that Drive Strategic Execution (Plus Guidebooks for Each)

Aug 18, 2017 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, strategy (28 minute read)

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Dual Cadence of Leadership Meetings
  3. The Leadership Team Meeting Agenda Templates
  4. The Operational Management Meetings
    Driving Day-to-Day Execution
  5. The Strategic Management Meetings
    Driving the Correct Course of Action
  6. How the Leadership Cadence Meetings Work Together
  7. Next Steps
  8. Additional Resources
Get all of the Guides

1. Introduction

When we started Lucid Meetings, it wasn’t because we were all excited about meetings.

It was because meetings are the most powerful tool, but also the most neglected, underdeveloped, and misapplied tool, we can use to create a healthy business.

The meetings aren’t the goal. It’s the well-run business that we're after.

Recently we’ve been exploring the science and theory behind what makes meetings successful.

You can read all about the core function of meetings, the underlying structures that make them work, and the science behind effective decision making in meetings on our blog.

Today, we’re putting all that into practice. This post covers the core meetings that drive effective business management.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, strategy

The Leader's Guide for Making Decisions in Meetings

Apr 20, 2017 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design (56 minute read)

I used to believe that everything was a choice.

Whether I ate healthy food or not: a choice. Whether I obsessed over past slights or whether I forgave and moved on: a choice. I believed every action I took, and every action everyone takes, began with a decision to act.

I believed this choosing applied to organizations too. Do you run decent meetings, or do you ignore the ineptitude and hope it will go away on it’s own? That’s a choice.

Image credit: Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash

Yep. That sounded right to me. I’m big on self-responsibility that way.

Lately, my conviction has been shaken. I no longer believe every action follows a choice.

Now I believe instead that every action is a reaction. This goes for actions taken by organizations and those taken by individuals.

Begging the question: a reaction to what?

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

Coping with travel restrictions: When meeting face-to-face matters (and what to do when you can’t)

Mar 17, 2017 by Nancy Settle-Murphy in leadership & facilitation, meeting design (14 minute read)

Introducing Nancy Settle-Murphy
It’s my pleasure to welcome renowned virtual collaboration expert
Nancy Settle-Murphy to the blog.

Recently I gave a talk about taking government meetings online, and was asked how to succeed when the meeting was particularly sensitive. I didn’t have time to give the question the answer it deserved, so afterwards, I started looking for better information on this topic. I found Nancy, and knew she had the answer we needed to hear.

Nancy’s been answering this exact question - when you should meet face-to-face, and steps to take when you’re forced to meet online - for many years in her work for companies and organizations of all sizes. I’m thrilled she agreed to revisit her guidelines with us and share them here.

– Elise Keith, Lucid founder

Whenever possible, I recommend in-person meetings.

I know travel can be expensive and time consuming. Sometimes it's worth it.

Successful meetings connect people to the work at hand and to each other. We forge connections more easily with people we can see. While video conferencing gets better all the time, it can’t compete with being there.

Yet despite our best intentions, meeting in person isn’t always possible. Weather, politics, injury, family – everyone has a lot of life to juggle, and meeting travel gets dropped.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

7 Insights about Conversation, Relationship, and Being Remarkable

May 31, 2016 by Tricia Harris in leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques (17 minute read)

We recently co-hosted a Q&A webinar with Paul Axtell, and didn’t know exactly what to expect.

He gave such a great presentation – useful tidbits about meetings, great conversations, and life in general - that we decided we owed it to our audience to share.

Watch the recording, or read below for excerpts and the transcript from the webinar.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques