Who likes meetings? I’d guess a majority of people don’t. That’s likely due to them being so poorly run and called for the wrong reasons. Yet, leadership REQUIRES meetings. Leaders get things done by influencing others. They can do it one-on-one meetings, possibly as a mentor or guide or just a check-in meeting for accountability or career planning. They can do it in a meeting they lead with lots of other people in attendance—a one to many opportunity to influence and direct. We don’t want to go to a boring meeting, but attending an inspiring speech with hundreds or thousands of other people is great. Then there is the working meeting where you need input from others or others need to share information, or work together in some fashion. The Rose Parade in Pasadena was held today. Imagine all the planning and working meetings required to achieve the beautiful floats with all those flower petals.
Another meeting type is the board meeting. Here the chair person, often the CEO of the company, shares information with the board and answers questions. He/she might also be questioned deeply about decisions from finance to strategy to environment to people. Unfortunately, many board meetings appear to be cursory and don’t get into the meat of the issues. Otherwise, we would not have organizations to review the effectiveness of boards and CEOs that get caught doing things not allowed and being unceremoniously dismissed.
Another meeting that has considerable value is the Peer Advisory Council meeting. Put a group of similarly positioned and experienced, non-competing individuals together to help each other review challenges, opportunities, problems, and ideas (COPIs). It’s not a new concept, therefore, I’d argue, it must work. Benjamin Franklin in 1727 created the Junto or Leather Apron Club for mutual improvement to debate questions of morals, politics, natural philosophy and to exchange knowledge of business affairs. Our current extensive list of cabinet appointments as advisors to the President of the United States goes back to the founding of the country and the writing of the constitution with the first cabinet appointment by George Washington in 1789. In the late 1800’s Andrew Carnegie regularly met with a group of individuals to help each other, especially him. Another notable example is the kitchen cabinet of former President Teddy Roosevelt over one hundred years ago. Since 1957, a number of organizations have been established to bring the concept to more and more business people at all levels, from startup entrepreneurs, to those under 40 years of age, to women.
Leadership REQUIRES meetings. Learn from some of the best and be part of a Peer Advisory Council that is well run, possibly executed virtually, with an agenda that is both fixed and flexible, and provides all members the opportunity to learn and improve themselves as leaders and the businesses they run.