How to Create a Useful Meeting Flow Model for Your Team

Dec 3, 2019 by Elise Keith in meeting design (10 minute read)

A Meeting Flow Model is a form of process documentation that highlights the main meetings used to achieve a business result. In the previous article, I introduced the Meeting Flow Model (MFM) concept and described some of the benefits enjoyed by teams that use a defined MFM. Meeting Flow Models are super sweet.

You and your team can get these benefits too, but only after you start using an MFM and then work to refine it for your unique needs.

How do you get a useful Meeting Flow Model for your team?

By doing some Meeting Flow Modeling.

Meeting Flow Modeling is a multi-step process that takes teams several days–and often longer–to complete. In our Quickstart program, we walk teams through this process over the course of several weeks. I'm sharing this in case you think the process below looks a little complicated at first glance. Please keep in mind that this isn't something you're going to knock out in an afternoon.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

Why Meeting Flow Models are the Key to Unlocking Your Team's Meeting Success

Dec 1, 2019 by Elise Keith in meeting design (14 minute read)

For every significant goal your company needs to achieve, your team meets. In most companies, these meetings get very little forethought. They're just part of what happens as you do the work.

In other companies, teams plan out the meetings they'll use to achieve their goals. They design each meeting, just like they design the forms they use for capturing data and the reports they'll use to measure progress.

This meeting design work is a critical but often neglected aspect of successful business process design.

Here at Lucid, we call the design of a series of meetings related to a specific business process Meeting Flow Modeling. If you've ever heard me talk about the three parts of an effective Meeting Operating System, you may recognize this term.

Meeting Flow Model
A Meeting Flow Model is a form of process documentation that highlights the main meetings used to achieve a business result.

Read More...

Topics: 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?

Read More...

Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design, strategy

A Framework For Productive Consulting Meetings (and Happier Clients)

Aug 2, 2019 by Michael Zipursky in project management, meeting design (5 minute read)

Introducing Michael Zipursky
The Lucid Meetings team is delighted to welcome our newest contributor, Michael Zipursky. Our CEO met Michael when she was interviewed for his Consulting Success podcast. After the interview, Michael shared how implementing the simple meeting process described below helped the consultants he works with reduce drama and retain happy clients.

It's a perfect example of how powerful it can be when you have a consistent structure for your meetings, and how you don't have to over-complicate things to get great results.

In this post, Michael share the 3-step framework that's helped hundreds of consultants build trust with clients.
— Team Lucid

Do you feel nervous before meeting with your consulting clients? If so, chances are you aren’t well-prepared.

With proper preparation and a specific agenda, your meetings will be productive and stress-free. Not only will this make your life easier, but your clients will appreciate it as well. 

In this article, I’ll explain a simple 3-part framework you can use for your client meetings. This framework works especially well if you’re working with clients on an ongoing basis. 

After reading, you’ll know how to run the perfect consulting meeting — and how to leverage meetings into more consulting work.

Before & After Using The Meeting Agenda: Jane’s Story

Jane never felt quite comfortable during meetings with her client.

Sure, she was delivering on the project just fine — but these meetings with the client were a sticking point.  She wasn’t sure what the purpose of the meeting was. She went into them hoping for the best. 

Without a clear structure to the meeting, it was hard for her client to see progress. They even started to doubt her value. 

She could feel the business slipping away.  

Read More...

Topics: project management, meeting design

Fast, Fun, and Powerful: Design Sprints

Jun 17, 2019 by Douglas Ferguson in meeting design (6 minute read)

Introducing Douglas Ferguson
The Lucid Meetings team is delighted to welcome our newest contributor, Douglas Ferguson. Douglas Ferguson is the president of Voltage Control, an Austin-based agency that specializes in Innovation Transformation.

We were introduced to Douglas through our network as the go-to facilitator to bring in when you want to run a Design Sprint.

What's a Design Sprint? In this post, Douglas tells us all about it.
— Team Lucid

We often know what we should do or what we want to do to make our product and services better. But, we don’t. Instead, what we have to do and what’s on fire at-the-moment usually takes precedence. So, when we want to make big shifts, it’s all about carving out time and focus. Design Sprints give you both.

Let me give you an example from one of my favorite Design Sprints: on-demand meal delivery company Favor asked me to facilitate a Design Sprint last year. They wanted to focus on how to improve the earnings of their “Runners" (the people who deliver the meals) by 10% while also cutting the number of Runners who found the job frustrating by half.

Tackling this problem with design had been on their mind, but they just hadn’t gotten to it. By dedicating time for a Design Sprint, they were able to kickstart important improvements.

"We started with all these ideas about what our users wanted and needed in the next version of our app. The design sprint made us rapidly validate these assumptions instead of getting months down the road and realizing we were designing things our users didn’t want or need. In one week, we were able to build a solid foundation for our redesign from real user feedback."

-Meg Nidever, UX Designer, Favor Delivery

Even better, the Sprint experience led to a renewed dedication to prototyping and user testing for the Favor team.

What is a Design Sprint?

A Design Sprint is like an all-inclusive retreat for your next great business idea. This timeboxed, self-contained process allows teams the opportunity to consider an existing problem or a new idea, gather insights on potential or current users, prototype ideas, and validate them all within about five days.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

Want Better Engagement in Meetings? Take Some Tips From This Fabulous Ship Full of Nerds

May 28, 2019 by Elise Keith in meeting design (5 minute read)

I often find inspiration for better meetings from gatherings outside the business world. I'm curious: what is it that makes someone who grimaces through every meeting pony up good money to gather with other people after work? Why do so many people raise their hands claiming to hate meetings when I speak at meetings they had to pay to attend? 

People don't hate meetings. They hate pointless wastes of their time. So what does success look like?

Successful gatherings of all types share several common characteristics. The JoCo cruise is one such successful gathering.

Mermaids relaxing at a JoCo cruise stop. Pic by Steve Petrucelli

Billed as a "nerdy summer camp at sea," the JoCo cruise is an affinity cruise for lovers of sci-fi, fantasy, board games, and all things deliciously nerdy. More importantly, as John Schwartz writes in the New York Times, the JoCo cruise regularly creates a "floating community of friends."

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

How to Prevent the Opinion Wars That Derail Decision Making

Jan 18, 2019 by Beatrice Briggs in meeting design (4 minute read)

One of the most important reasons for holding a meeting is to make decisions.

Yet too often, the decision-making process degenerates into a battle between competing points of view. Participants become polarized, entrenched in their positions and paralyzed by their disagreements. Unable to resolve the conflict, the group often makes a decision that everyone says they can live with, but that no one really supports. Or worse, no decision gets made at all, and the group misses the opportunity to take positive collective action.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

Maturing The Meeting Performance Maturity Model

Sep 5, 2018 by Elise Keith in meeting design (11 minute read)

The Anna Karenina phenomenon builds on the first line of Tolstoy’s novel, which states:

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

When it comes to how an organization meets, we find the opposite to be more true.  Unhappy organization are all alike; every happy organization meets in its own way.

The organizations that provide the case study examples for organizational excellence, cultural cohesion, and that achieve the enviable combination of economic performance and a healthy workplace have all discovered ways to meet that are both effective and tailored for them.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

Meetings and Productivity: Driver or Drain?

Aug 24, 2018 by Elise Keith in meeting design (9 minute read)

Looking at the ROI (Return on Investment) of meetings provides insight into which parts of the business need to take meeting performance more seriously, and which parts are already working well.

In a recent webinar (click here to see the recording), I shared the four main areas of organizational performance that are most impacted by meetings.

Some of these, like sales and new business development, directly impact our ability to generate new top-line revenue. The ROI of training sales people to run excellent meetings is no-brainer obvious; trained sales people sell more stuff and make more money.

Read More...

Topics: meeting design

5 Steps to Improving Engagement in Meetings

Jul 30, 2018 by Elise Keith in meeting design (29 minute read)

Note: This post is an excerpt from Chapter 8 in Where the Action Is: the Meetings That Make or Break Your Organization, available now on Amazon.com

Participation propels perceived meeting quality. We call it participation when we are attending a meeting—as in, "I had a chance to participate." Meeting leaders often use the term engagement to describe the same thing.

The Spectrum of Meeting Engagement

Engagement is about getting the individual into the meeting, about breaking through the noise and fog of whatever may be going on for each person so they can focus their will on the collective goals. Meeting engagement is observable behavior; you can see whether or not someone engages in a meeting. This engagement falls across a spectrum of behavior that looks something like this.

At the bottom end of the spectrum, you have the Disruptive behavior— things like:

  • Arriving late or not at all, or leaving early
  • Side conversations
  • Interrupting
  • Complaining
  • Excessive negativity and personal attacks

Read More...

Topics: meeting design