The meeting rooms of the world’s businesses are haunted by the ghosts of good ideas that were agreed as the way forward – but never put into practice. Why? Simply because people left the room without agreeing on an action plan.
Could some of those lost ideas have made a critical difference to a company’s fortunes? Absolutely. So here’s a summary of what you can to do make sure your ideas find their way out of the meeting and into the real world.
Decide what you want the meeting to achieve, and plan a process that will get you there. Have a structured approach for coming up with ideas, making decisions, and agreeing actions. Agree the stages you will work through during the meeting, set a time limit for each, and make sure you have a strong facilitator who can keep you moving through the stages in the time allowed.
Focus on Ownership
An action that doesn’t have an owner is an action that won’t get done. But how do you decide who is responsible for what? Should it be voluntary, or imposed? Consider which approach is most likely to get the action done successfully.
Agree Target Dates
If an action has no date against it, other tasks will always take priority. The best person to set the target date is the person who owns the action, because they can plan it to fit in with their workload. As soon as someone feels an unrealistic target has been imposed on them, they cease to be a willing partner and start resenting the new task – which doesn’t bode too well for the success of the project.
Confirm What’s Been Agreed – Immediately
Send colleagues away from the meeting with a clear action plan. That way, people can start working out what their next steps are while the discussions are still fresh in their minds. If it takes a few days to type up notes, you lose momentum – and the action chart becomes just another email attachment that people might read as and when they have time.
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