Updated: May 26, 2022
Knowing how to run effective leadership meetings may be the missing link to improving efficiency in your workplace. If you’re hoping to increase your team’s productivity and engagement in meetings, it’s time to take a closer look at your approach to facilitation. Even if you don’t have employees, these same principles apply when working with outsourced vendors or others on projects and goals.
As 67% of employees report that ineffective meetings hinder them from reaching their peak performance, shifting to a human-centered approach to facilitation can change everything. 93% of businesses note experiencing significant improvements to their company culture after making such a shift in their facilitation style. With the help of facilitators that are equipped with the best tools and strategies to lead effective leadership meetings, you can target workplace complacency, improve productivity and experience overall results.
5 Steps of Effective Leadership Meetings
Effective leadership meetings don’t happen by accident. They are the byproduct of a well-intentioned framework, highly motivated facilitators, and engaged team members. Running an effective leadership meeting can be broken down into the following steps:
Identifying the Goal Begin the meeting by identifying a fixed goal for the session
Choosing the Framework The framework is the blueprint that ensures the meeting is efficiently executed
Encouraging Ideation with a Design Sprint The facilitator runs a sprint in which the leadership team breaks their main objective into smaller goals to achieve a unified solution
Examining the User Experience The team gathers valuable feedback from the end-user to further ideation
Identifying Next Steps The facilitator and the team agree on a solution and focus on identifying action items for the future
Effective leadership meeting facilitation starts with an intimate knowledge of the above process. Read on as we break down the key components of facilitating leadership meetings.
Identifying the Goal
To run an effective leadership meeting, the meeting must first have a clear goal. What are you seeking to accomplish? Determine the end goal of the meeting and all participants are on board.
With a clear objective, you and your team will have a better idea of the direction and next steps of your meeting.
Make sure your team understands and agrees with the purpose of the meeting. As you identify the goal, it's important to also determine the scope or the amount of work that needs to be completed to achieve your end goal. This way, you’ll be able to gauge when your goal is achieved.
Choosing the Framework
Developing a solid framework and following it is the next step in facilitating an effective leadership meeting. Remember, facilitators are the engineers that ensure a meeting flows perfectly. Without a framework in place, running a successful meeting is impossible.
The secret to selecting the right framework is understanding the type of meeting you are running. To run an effective leadership meeting, consider the following framework:
Begin the meeting Start the meeting by introducing all participants and identifying the goal
Break into groups Encourage participants to engage with each other by forming breakout groups
Finalize the meeting End the meeting with a cohesive solution to the initial goal and discuss the best way forward.
Encourage Ideation with a Design Sprint
Effective leadership meetings are powered by the strength of ideation. As a facilitator that prioritizes human-centered leadership, encouraging ideation is an essential part of an effective meeting. Running a design sprint is one of the most constructive ways to encourage ideation amongst your team. A design sprint makes it possible to achieve your goal in any leadership meeting as it encourages creative problem-solving.
Essentially, a design sprint is an ideation phase in which your team members adopt design thinking to develop new ways to approach a problem or project based on specific models, concepts, practices, or principles. A good facilitator possesses the leadership skills necessary to lead a sprint that encourages vulnerability, improvisation, creativity, and fearlessness.
During this phase, expert facilitation is crucial. The right facilitator must set the stage for creativity, free-flowing ideation, and flow state. By letting go of preconceived ideas or restrictions, participants work together to develop a cohesive solution that is most beneficial for your company’s growth.
What to Expect in a Design Sprint
In a design sprint, facilitators will take each team member’s roles and ideas into consideration and create a cohesive strategy to solve the problem at hand. Do this by asking team members to participate in activities to encourage ideation and decide as a group which path forward is the most efficient.
Additionally, pay attention to how and where team members’ ideas overlap. Intersections are an essential guide to creating a unified solution that combines the best ideas into one path to your end goal.
In your sprint, focus on the following strategies:
Promoting cross-team collaboration
Facilitating the free flow of information
Encouraging participation from all team members
Transforming ideas into solutions
Using storyboarding to map out each idea
Choosing a final direction forward before moving on
Examining the User Experience
The next step in running an effective leadership meeting is to examine the user experience. With the proper collection and interpretation of the end-users' data, you’ll encourage further innovation and ideation that will trickle down to every aspect of your company. With your main goal in mind, use this time to determine how your team can better serve the end-user by analyzing every aspect of the user experience. Remember, this information is vital to future developments and should be used to further ideation and inform problem-solving efforts.
During this phase of effective leadership meetings, facilitators may encourage testing prototypes and products from the ideation phase with the end-user. Through ideation and prototyping, you’ll be able to test your ideas and potential solutions with actual customers as you gain invaluable user data.
To get the best results during this phase, assign an interviewer to engage the users while having other team members focus on gathering data. The users’ feedback will show key areas of strength and weakness that will be essential to future projects.
Consider the following main components of data collection:
Gather as much information as possible
Identify strengths and weaknesses of ideas, prototypes, or products
Challenge or confirm all your team’s assumptions
Use customer feedback to improve ideas, prototypes, or products
Identifying Next Steps
Ultimately, this last stage in effective leadership meetings allows your team members to identify the best path forward. During this phase, team members choose the most cohesive solution that will best accelerate company growth. These effective leadership meetings ensure the efficient use of time, money, personnel, and all other essential company resources.
During this stage, you’ll determine whether or not you’ve achieved the initial goal of the meeting. Take this time to ensure that the scope of work has been completed and to identify action items for future meetings. Ultimately, the deliverables of a successful leadership meeting should include:
Improved rapport throughout the team
Increased alignment of goals
A cohesive solution to the initial problem
New action items to further company growth
Expert Facilitation Changes Everything
Implementing the above components of effective leadership meetings will enable you to unlock the hidden potential of your leaders and your team members. As you aim to transform your standard gatherings into more engaging team meetings, keep these key elements of leading an effective meeting in mind. Likewise, a facilitator that is well versed in design thinking will lead the most efficient and effective meetings.
With a capable and passionate facilitator in place, you’ll be able to launch effective meetings, encourage a vulnerable and engaged company culture, utilize each team member to their best abilities, and implement a human-first approach to all meetings and product development going forward. Ready to run effective leadership meetings at your workplace?
Jared Earl, IFEL Community Engagement Manager