SuddenTeams™ Program>

Description: Meetings are unproductive, cause complaints, or are poorly attended.

First, review the section on “Meeting Facilitation” with the team and align the team’s practices with it.

If the issues continue, use the statements and questions below to diagnose and address the problem.

  • “We have too many meetings.”
    • Is work being done in team meetings that could be done by subteams or individuals?
    • Are issues being discussed that could be handled via e-mail or other means?
    • Is it time to cut back on the schedule? Regular meetings are important. But if you are meeting simply because a meeting is scheduled, reconsider the schedule. Also, agree on criteria by which a regular meeting can be cancelled (such as, no critical action items are due, and no new issues have been raised that require quick responses).
  • “Our meetings go on too long.”
    • See the first two items under “too many meetings.”
    • Are other time-wasters occurring in the meetings? If so, develop rules and enforcement methods to address them per the “Meeting Facilitation” section.
    • Would it be better to meet more often but for shorter periods? Consider adding 15-minute “stand-up” meetings each day for status checks, as described in the “Meeting Schedule” section.
    • Download the Meeting Agenda Template, and update and follow it for each meeting.
  • “We do not get enough done at meetings.”
    • See the first two items under “too many meetings” and the items on “time-wasters” and the meeting agenda above.
    • Make sure you are starting on time and holding to your break schedule. This makes the maximum use of your time, but also helps to keep people focused.
    • Enforce the rule of “Silence or absence equals consensus”; in other words, do not wait for certain people to be there to make decisions.
    • Assign actions to subteams and individuals, then move on.
  • People are frequently skipping, arriving late, or leaving early.
    1. Ask them why this is happening.
    2. If applicable, refer to the questions/statements above.
    3. Otherwise, determine if:
      • The meeting time needs to change.
      • Individuals need help with their other job requirements in order to attend the meeting.
      • For project teams, the project manager needs to speak to the members’ functional managers about priorities.


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