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Conflicts - Encourage or Control – A Leadership Formula for Better Meetings



This week’s newsletter is about meeting rhythms. It’s common for everyone to hate meetings. In Death by Meeting, Patrick Lencioni notes that one of the chief reasons he feels meetings are so dismal is because most leaders avoid conflict. Here’s what Lencioni says about meetings:  “When a group of intelligent people come together to talk about issues that matter, it is both natural and productive for disagreement to occur. Resolving those issues is what makes a meeting productive, engaging, even fun.”
Ask your people which they’d prefer to attend a meeting or a movie? No one is kidding themselves that it would be the meeting. Yet meetings have the potential for more passion and engagement than movies do.   Meetings have several elements that movies don’t. Meetings are interactive, and directly relevant to our lives. You can’t interrupt someone during a meeting and tell them they are wrong. Meetings can change how we will spend our time and energy immediately, while a movie will not. It’s not that meetings can’t do this. They simply don’t. Most of the times that’s due to the subjects chosen for the agenda or by leaders sidestepping differences that arise inside them. Lencioni’s solution – build drama by encouraging conflict. He suggests jolting the participants during the first ten minutes of the meeting. Let them know and appreciate what’s at stake. 
Some of the very best meetings I’ve attended are when the CEO gets very stern and resolute, stating a problem or challenge that the company is facing that if not confronted will cost jobs and the very future of the company.
Here’s the point. In most meetings everyone attending grabs as much caffeine to stay awake as the boring agenda is discussed and very little ever gets accomplished. Employees are looking for a reason to care. And let’s face it, most meetings today offer very little in the context to care about. 
Here’s my challenge to you. Stir up some drama for your next meeting. 
If leaders of meetings learned to master the art of producing and directing terrifically dramatic filled meetings with compelling and engaging conflict, they would still fail if that’s all they did. Explore the big problem with meetings that Lencioni offers in our next blog.

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