The $ cost of unnecessary meetings.

January 20, 2017

It has been estimated that unnecessary meetings cost $37Billion annually. What can we do about it? Create Purpose!

Here is a case study on why having a solid Purpose can save heaps of money and energy as well as a list of tips on identifying when a great Purpose is created.

 A dear colleague and friend recently interviewed me about the power and importance of Group Purpose. We were sitting in another meeting, planning and preparing an upcoming conference. We were tired and not very motivated to get into the nitty gritty stuff of planning an event.

 Our team only met once every two weeks and we are all doing a million other things. Sounds familiar? So why are we here? Why are we spending another 2 hours on this event? What is it all for?

 Through the work I do with Zenergy Global I know that one reason for a lack of energy and motivation in teams is the lack of a clear aligned Purpose. Perhaps people don’t know why they are there,  why others are there, they are really there for their own personal agenda. When someones personal agenda is kept hidden, it can manifest as a roadblock / energy sucker on the whole team’s project. So, I stood up and suggested “Why don’t we spend a little time on talking about why we are here and what we want to create together? Why are we even doing this event?”

 These were great questions and the ‘lights went on’ a little bit, however spending time  aligning around a Purpose can often be seen as time wasted.

 Well I know that having a Purpose brings energy back into the team. Decisions are made faster and ideas come quicker and the tasks are done in far less time than without a Purpose. So I insisted that we ‘give it a go’ for 30 minutes.

 The process I used was:

  1. Go for a 5 minutes walk on your own and contemplate what you would like to create and on why you are creating this event.
  2. Come back. Pick a piece of white paper and some coloured pens and draw a picture  envisaging your perfect event. You have 5 mins for that.
  3. Share your images and ideas on why you are creating the event and what you would like to create. Note any key points on a white board. (Although this is optional. I often prefer to just listen to each other)
  4. After everyone has shared, ask the group, “What do you think the purpose of the event is? What do you think our group wants to create?
  5. We used several open rounds of brainstorming ideas until a ‘Purpose statement’ emerged that everyone felt excited about.

The energy of the whole group shifted and in our ‘completion round’ people said that they left the meeting with more energy than when they came. And that is after a 3 hour meeting. Wow.

The energy we created in that 30 minutes process drove everything we did from that point forward. Our Purpose manifested,  and the event was successful and fulfilling for the organisers as well as the attendees.

 Listening for the ‘Purpose statement’ as it emerges from team is a real skill and it requires a number of facilitation skills that we teach on our Zenergy Global programmes.

Common questions are: how do you know that you have the ‘right’ Purpose? How do you know that everyone is really aligned and did not just ‘give in’ to make it easier?

My answer to this is: only when everyone is on board can the energy flow. A successful Purpose gathers it’s own momentum.

 Here are some tips on knowing when the Purpose has emerged:

  • Everyone nods their heads or smiles in agreement at the moment the purpose is spoken
  • The energy level of the group shifts up.
  • People are eager to get into action with fresh excitement and inspiration
  • Ideas are bursting out

Skills required:

  • Powerful Listening,
  • Being With (Presence with others),
  • Alertness to Energies in the group,
  • Skills on how to shift levels
  • Whole person awareness,
  • Purpose and intention,
  • Self facilitation

Some great off the shelf processes and theories are in the book “The Art of Facilitation: The Essentials for Leading Great Meetings and Creating Group Synergy” by Dale Hunter et al – Get Kindle Version here

By Simone Maus.

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