Tick Tock – Valuing People's Energetic Capital

As an executive coach and facilitator with an inside view into organizations, I see people's time and energy wasted every day. What is one of the biggest time drains in the workplace? (You know this ...) Meetings!!

Recently while serving on a clergy search committee for my congregation, the Chair took me up on my offer to run our meetings. The committee members, whom I don’t know well, are thrilled. I hear feedback such as, "This is going so well!", and "I’ve never served on a committee that was running so smoothly!"

I’m happy to bring value to this group and it gives me a huge insight I have to share.

If time is money, then wasting people’s time is wasting their money. Think of our time as energetic capital. As a leader, running effective meetings is an opportunity for you to value people through your actions. This can be a HUGE motivator.

Here are some easy to implement tips that can boost energy and productivity. Plus, they apply to both team & one-on-one meetings. At the end, I have a few questions I’d like you to ask yourself.

  1. Have an agenda. Of course! Before you roll your eyes at such an obvious suggestion - do you provide an agenda to people 24 hours or more ahead of the meeting? It can be short, a bulleted list with start and end times. Having enough time to review the agenda before the meeting gives people time to think of additional ways to contribute. They won’t feel caught off guard, and can come prepared.
  2. Start on time. If people aren’t in the room, they will get there when they get there. Starting on time encourages them to arrive promptly for your next meeting. It almost goes without saying that YOU need to be at the designated time and place, whether it’s virtual or in person, prepped and ready to begin.
  3. End on time or EARLY. The leaders I work with often have back to back meetings. When you run over you create resentment as people dash out to their next event. PEOPLE WILL LOVE YOU if you end five minutes early. They will practically high-five you as they skip out of the room. Not only did you value their time, but you gave them a gift they didn’t expect. If you do only one thing from this list, try this!
  4. When you start the meeting ask for additional agenda items. Listen for what people want to add. Sometimes people come with new information. If it’s relevant and there’s time, make space for it. If not, be sure to capture the topic and address it next time. People love to have what’s important to them included in a meeting. The point here is to value their time and ideas through your actions.
  5. Be clear about what to bring. I worked for an organization with an unspoken cultural rule that whoever called the meeting would supply copies. Not everyone got the invisible memo. Imagine the frustration when someone spent time printing and organizing materials, only to walk into the room and see a stack of copies. Instead of it being helpful, this turned into an immediate gripe. Bottom line – tell them what to bring and expect.

Meetings are a major part of our work lives. Being intentional about HOW you run them can have a huge impact with little additional effort. Now it’s time for those questions I promised.

There’s little doubt that you’ve seen lists like this before. Here are questions I want you to honestly ask yourself:

  • Do you do all these things when planning and running meetings? Even in one-on-ones?
  • How could implementing some of these tips ignite the energy of your team?
  • What’s one meeting action you intend to implement? By when?

I’m curious! Please let me know what you do and how it goes.

I conclude here so as to not take up any more of your energetic capital. (See, how does that feel?)