Have you ever walked away from a lengthy meeting or conversation, one chock full of discussion and strategizing, and later thought to yourself, “Wait, did we actually decide on anything?”
Often the answer is fuzzy. You may have thought you decided on something, but aren’t sure how the others saw things. Maybe there was consensus on a decision, but no follow-up steps. Or you don’t know who would be tasked with completing the assignments that said decision would imply.
It’s not uncommon that one of two things happen – that either nothing gets done, despite everyone agreeing on a particular decision, or that the topic comes up again in a subsequent meeting where all the original points get rehashed again. Maybe people argue over what was said or done and you end up digging through old meeting minutes to figure it all out. Either way, it’s not very efficient. And the cycle often goes on and on and on.
But there’s a simple fix to this meeting madness. To make sure there’s no more ambiguity or time wasted we suggest the following procedural questions at the end of any meeting or conversation to assure decisions are solidified and acted upon.
What did we decide upon, or did we decide upon anything?
It might be yes, we’ve definitely decided on something, or that the decision is to continue the conversation at a later point. Either way, it should be noted and understood by all.
Who is affected by this decision if we decide to make it?
This could involve individuals or departments, or even clients. Try to figure out all the ripple effects of the decision made, and perhaps whether other decisions need to be made as a result of what was decided. By spending a little time thinking this out, you can prevent against unforeseen roadblocks that prevent progress.
Who will inform whom and by when?
A decision might impact a slew of people, so it’s important to designate people to disseminate the information and assign tasks. Likewise, the “when” assures that everyone knows the timeline and can plan accordingly.
Follow up all your meetings and conversations with the simple questions above and we guarantee you’ll get more things done – and you’ll be just a bit saner for it.
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