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#1 Clarity on goals and roles

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Imagine you're leading a team meeting where everyone genuinely values their time spent there. The atmosphere is charged with enthusiasm, marked by hearty laughter, and encourages lively, meaningful debates. Each team member makes a distinct and valuable contribution, demonstrating exceptional listening skills and minimal repetition, allowing ample room for diverse viewpoints. These meetings conclude promptly, not lingering longer than necessary, maintaining an enjoyable pace. Most importantly, they yield tangible results, advancing steadily towards the primary objectives.
Do such meetings exist? Absolutely. Throughout our careers, many of us have participated in team gatherings that exemplify this high level of effectiveness and enjoyment. The good news is that, with deliberate effort, your current team meetings can ascend to this exceptional level of performance within a mere three months. How can you achieve this? By diligently mastering the fundamental principles:
Ensuring clarity regarding goals and roles.
Embracing and celebrating discipline.
Making a steadfast commitment to actionable outcomes.

Cover the basics before the meeting– clarity on goals and roles

1. The shared goal is clear
A team is a team when it has a shared goal to achieve. People are placed together with the expectation that they will work together towards something. A goal, a result, a KPI, an event, you name it. When this shared goal is not there, it is hard to call the group a team. The why and what are unclear, not helping the how and the when (often the core content of a team meeting). Team meetings easily result in endless updates from the one team member to the others. It takes every bit of self control to not reach for your phone.

Tip: when your team struggles to get clarity on the shared goal try turning things around. Ask yourself the following questions: what would kill us? When would we lose our reason for being? Rephrase the answers to those questions into the positive goals that will guide the content of your team meetings.

2. The contributing roles are clear
A team truly embodies its essence when it rallies around a shared objective, a common purpose that unites its members. People are brought together with the expectation that they will collaborate harmoniously to attain a specific goal, whether it's a target, a key performance indicator (KPI), an event, or any other objective. Without this shared goal, it becomes challenging to label the group as a cohesive team. The 'why' and 'what' become obscure, hindering progress on the 'how' and 'when,' which are often the core topics of team meetings. Consequently, team meetings can easily devolve into monotonous updates from one team member to another, testing one's self-control to resist reaching for their phone.

Tip: If your team grapples with defining a shared goal, consider reversing the perspective. Ask yourself these questions: What could potentially jeopardize our existence? When might we lose our sense of purpose? Reframe the answers to these questions into positive goals that will provide clear direction for the content of your team meetings.

Ideally, these two fundamentals of clarity should be firmly established even before the team meetings kick off. However, they are equally valuable as problem-solving tools when your team is already in motion and facing challenges. When a team in distress reaches out to me, my initial inquiries are straightforward: What's our shared goal, and how does each role fit into the bigger picture? Surprisingly often, I find that these questions go unanswered.

In the upcoming blog posts, we'll delve deeper into mastering the essentials. We'll explore how to infuse discipline into your team meetings and emphasize the importance of committing to action post-meeting. Stay tuned for more insights on navigating the intricacies of effective team collaboration.
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