Accelerating Business Growth

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"How to run focused, structured, action packed meetings!"

One of my friends called me last week in a state of flux – it was their team meeting the very next day and they were in the middle of doing their planning and preparation.

Well I say planning and preparation as it was 5.30 in the evening! Perhaps lack of planning would be a more appropriate description.

They asked me for some ideas, which I was only too happy to help with – however what was apparent was they had no real structure to the session.

As it was the first meeting of January they also wanted to hit the ground running and really focus their team for 2007.

So, that kind of got me thinking and I shared with them a model which I have used for years. It creates structure, focus and guarantees you keep on track every time!

Now, like with all my ideas it’s really simple and is based on just 6 quality questions.

Where can you use this model?

At Pti we use it for team meetings, as the framework for consultancy days. We also use it for coaching sessions – both one on one and group. In fact as you review the questions I’m sure you’ll be able to see many practical applications of where you’ll be able to apply it.

So let me share with you the six questions:

Where are we now?
How did we get here?
Where are we going?
Why do we want to go there?
What are some of the possible obstacles?
What are we going to do next?

Let me give you my thoughts on each of these and why they are so important.

Where are we now?
The foundation, the starting point of the entire process. Whether this is where you want to be is another matter – however this is the ‘reality checker’, acting as the spring board to move to where you want to be.

How did we get here?
I’m not one for living in the past, however can learn so much great stuff though just by spending some time analysing the journey and the actions which have brought us to where we are now.

And I don’t just mean the negatives – in fact the most important part of this stage is analysing and catching the successes, the positives, the things that have gone well. Why? So we can replicate them and so we can make the ideas work for us moving forward – ‘fast tracking’ or accelerating our success!

Where are we going?
Focus is so important in this fast paced world that we live in. There’s so many distractions on our time it’s so easy to loose focus and be pulled off down different tracks and roads.

The great thing about this question is you set the timeline. If it’s a coaching session you might be looking at where you’re going today, for a team meeting the next month or if you’re reviewing your strategy for the year you might break it down into bite size chunks. At Pti when setting the strategy for the year we work on a 30/90 day and year end model.

Why do we want to go there?
For me, one of the most important questions: Why do we want to go there? In my experience we do not spend any where near enough time answering this question – if at all. And yet it is the critical part of the process on the premise motivation is an inside job. If we don’t find out the why for our people and the internal motivations aren’t in play then we’ll leave them behind on the journey of getting to where we want to be.

When looking at the why I mean looking at the why for the individuals? What’s the why for you? For the Customer or Client? The why for the stakeholders or sponsors? The team why? For our business partners? The list goes on!

I urge you to really think carefully about this question – making sure you build enough time into the process to truly answer this question in depth.

What are some of the possible obstacles?
Another great question! It is so easy in life, particularly business to become reactive. By ‘brainstorming’ in a pro active way some of the potential obstacles that could appear and throw you off track in delivering your goals and vision then perhaps we can avoid them before they even come into play.

What are we going to do next?
And finally the last and final question: What are you going to do next? Life is all about massive ACTION. What’s critical is knowing the right actions to take. By following through this model you’ll arrive at the actions which really will make the difference in short circuiting your journey to success.


So, there you have it! A simple model for you to follow and use for reviewing your strategy, for team meetings, for coaching sessions etc.

Try it today!


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