personal productivitystrategy

Meetings don’t make decisions … Leaders do.

This week we’re exploring some organization changes that we’re making around our “meeting culture” at Liquid Church.  We’ve been inspired and motivated largely by the work of Al Pittampalli and his book “Read this Before Our Next Meeting.

As we’ve been tackling improving our “meeting culture” around here at Liquid . . . one of realities that we’ve had to face up to is that often meetings are places that people go to hide from making decisions.  They should function as places where conflict is worked out . . .where we fight for the best ideas . . . but often they are just places where we go to diffuse responsibility and not actually make decisions.

Here are some places that I saw that we were using meetings in the wrong way in our organization.  I’d love to hear from you about places that you see meetings blunting an organizations impact!

  • The Update Meeting – “We have an event coming up soon . . . we want to make sure everyone knows what’s happening right?  Let’s pull ’em all together and talk about it.”  But there are way more effective ways to update your team . . . remember “memos”?  No need to meet just to update people . . . find a more creative and effective way to do that.
  • The “Let’s Think About That Stuff” Meeting – “We have some stuff coming up that we’re not sure what to do about . . . let’s get in the room and talk about potentials.”  Rather than a focused brain storming session with a specific outcome . . . these meetings just seem to meander from one thing to another.   If there isn’t a clear outcome we’re talking about . . . let’s not meet.
  • The “Task & Relationship” Meeting – “Hey man . . . let’s not make this all business around here . . . don’t you know the church is all about relationships.  Let’s mix relationship with task!”   I strongly believe that relationship and community is über important in the church.  I just think we should be really clear that there are times to focus on the relationships totally and not muddle that time with tasks to do.  Take an afternoon off with your team and go see the movies together . . . have fun together . . . but make sure that you don’t try to mix task in with that.

Meetings are tools used by leaders to push the mission forward.  What God is calling us to is so much larger than the time we have to complete it.  We need to leverage our time together to be pushing the mission.  If it’s not clear at the end of the meeting how we helped our church reach more people or develop more disciples than the meeting was probably a waste.  What other meetings have you seen happen in your organization that don’t push the mission forward?  [I’d love hear from you!]


  1. Weekly or recurring meetings almost always have portions of the meeting which could be memo-ized. In my experience, informational meetings are a time-suck because if done on a one-on-one basis, almost always, it would go much faster.

    How do we broach the subject of getting rid of recurring meetings and/or getting facilitators to start distributing the slides or notes instead of walking through it together?

  2. Wow, I can total relate to this! I spend half my work time in committee meetings, advisory meetings, board meetings, prayer meetings, leadership meetings, staff meetings, volunteer meetings, etc. And I always leave feeling I have more to do, but no time to do it. I love your thoughts on this. Not sure if I can change the “tradition” of where I work, but I can certainly implement new ideas. 🙂 Thanks!

  3. Great article. I have spent a number of years in corp / church meetings and here are the two things that I have felt critical to meeting times.

    1. Standing Meetings – This is a secret of the most successful meetings. IF you need to get everyone on the same page (even daily), but don’t want to waste half an hour, try this: Get everyone together, but DON’T SIT DOWN. If you sit, some people turn off, some start chatting, and you all relax into / out of the meeting. If you STAND, you will look each others eyes, talk about the important points, and everyone wants to finish so they can go and sit down somewhere. These meetings are typically 5 minutes, which sometimes can replace 30 minute meetings.

    2. Simple Agendas – Even in church, we need to be organized, EVEN if that means that we are putting the first agenda item as Testimonies / Encouragements. If we know where we are going, and what we need to accomplish, we can move on to the next topic because everyone is on board. Hour long discussions about a certain topic may be good, but if we haven’t accomplished our objectives, we’ve failed overall.

    PS – love the idea of having signs up that set objectives – great reminder!

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