What is a meeting

I would never write about what a thing is not, without clarifying what the thing is.

Meetings are where information goes to grow. 

Bringing two or more minds together is about producing a new idea that one mind on its own would not be able to create. 

At the end of every meeting, each participant should have new information and new actions to perform. This includes whoever called the meeting. Meetings are not to share one-way communication: that is a memo. 

How does this apply to the three scenarios discussed last week?

Task Delegation

When you tell somebody what to do, what usually happens? Do they do things the you wanted?

Task delegation is rarely about delegating tasks. It is usually about delegating responsibility. 

A responsibility can not be delegated with a task list, it requires a conversation. 

To delegate well start at the end. First determine what result you want the person to achieve, and then think about how they might do it. Then call a meeting with the person or people who will be doing the work, and explain the desired outcome and available resources and tools. Let everybody in the meeting ask questions and give new ideas. 

When you leave the meeting you should all know who has to do what. You, as the leader, should know how you will monitor that things are getting done well: always by results rather than activity. 


Do not call people away from their day to day work and cause interruptions and wastes of time, just to tell them something they can read in a memo. 

On the other hand, when you telling your team about change or a major decision, that should never be a memo. 

The best reason to have a company or team wide meeting is precisely to discuss opportunities for change. Present the situation to your people and get their input. Anybody who is affected by the change should have a say in how the change is brought about. 

Explain what is in place, what has yet to be decided, and what the desired outcomes are, and make the meeting a brainstorming session. 

When you leave this meeting, everybody should have knowledge they did not have when they first entered, and a decision should be made for precise next steps. 


Numbers, tasks, and activities are not a performance. 

The outcome of those tasks are a performance. 

Reporting on what a person does is not useful information. It is like saying a ballet performance is about the number of pirouettes each dancer makes. This type of information should be available to all involved via a dashboard or some form of written report. 

In the performance meeting, you can avoid talking about numbers and actions and talk instead about what to improve and what to praise. This should be a discussion about what worked well, what did not, what were the surprises, and what new things were learned. 

When you leave this meeting you should have a new set of expectations, and your employee should have new targets or actions he can work on and try. 

Round Tables

Think of every meeting as a round table event: each person at the table is of equal importance and has equal participation. 

Use meetings to create something new, and always walk out of the room richer in ideas than when you entered.