Effective Teaming and Meeting Mechanics


Introduction

Meetings are an important part of sharing information and making decisions that help us capitalize on the strengths and experiences of a group of people with common goals. The most efficient and effective meetings adhere to a defined process and agreed upon guidelines that the group follows to execute the goals of the meeting. 

Experience tells us that certain key ingredients are important for meetings to achieve their purpose, for example getting the right people to the table, staying on task, making decisions based on accurate information, problem solving, and executing plans in a fair and timely manner. Each of these steps, among others, are defined in this manual to assist teams to accomplish their meeting goals and work more effectively. 

The Effective Teaming and Meeting Mechanics processes and tools are both universal for all meetings and customized for specific types of meetings so that it will function as a resource for various meetings. 


Full Manual and PowerPoint Handout


Manual Sections and Components

The Effective Team Process section describes how to use Meeting Essentials (components for effective teaming), Meeting Practices (team behaviors), and Individual Accountability Practices (individual team member behaviors) for more effective team meetings. The Effective Teaming and Problem Solving Assessment is a tool that teams can use to evaluate their processes in these three areas and set goals for improvement.

When a team is presented with a problem, it is crucial for the team to efficiently identify variables and develop solutions that result in an action plan. This becomes more complicated when problems are complex or emotionally charged, and the process slows or is halted.  Adding structure to the process through the use of the Meeting Mechanics Problem Solving Process can assist with efficiently developing solutions in these situations. It is especially important to have all relevant team members involved to increase the odds of implementation.   

Meeting Mechanics has some crucial elements: 

  • It involves having a facilitator “run the board,” which means using a whiteboard or chart paper to document the problem solving process.
  • Guiding principles are posted (see the magnets in the manual) for all to see, so that the “rules” of the process are clear.
  • Visual organizers create the problem solving and planning structure for different types of meetings. Specifically, the visual organizers guide the facilitator in how to set up the board.
  • The facilitator follows the six steps of the Meeting Mechanics process: Problem Identification, Problem Specification, Brainstorming, Cluster and Prioritize, Implementation Variables, and Action Plan Development.

Starting with Problem Identification, the facilitator translates the discussion to the visual organizer on the board. One of the guiding principles is to “talk to the board,” especially during times of emotional escalation or when too much discussion is hindering the process. The team then moves through the steps in a timely way to gain a deeper understanding of the problem, identify potential solutions, define resources and barriers, and develop an action plan. 

Meeting Mechanics follows a linear progression and each step should be completed thoroughly yet efficiently before the next step is started. Ultimately, Meeting Mechanics leads to better informed and more creative solutions, and a well-defined plan developed through a collaborative process.


Ordering Effective Teaming and Meeting Mechanics Resource Manuals

Effective Teaming and Meeting Mechanics Resource Manuals are available for $49/each + the cost of shipping. Orders can be placed online through Allegra Printing. Instructions for ordering are available here