Be Brave: Have a Bad Meeting, HBR

Nathanael Yellis By Nathanael Yellis • Last Updated May 18, 2021
These are good.

Be Brave: Have a Bad Meeting - Dan Burrier - The Conversation - Harvard Business Review

It takes bravery on both sides to have a bad meeting that creates great results.

Things to do and watch out for:

  1. Immediately celebrate meetings in which people agree, things are bought and sold, smiles are ever-present, if and only if the ball is moved forward. There's nothing wrong with happiness; just make sure the job gets done.
  2. Also immediately celebrate "bad" or trying meetings in which people disagree, nothing is sold, nothing is bought, brows are furrowed, and the outcome is more work. Doing the right thing is hard work. Sometimes it takes more than one try.
  3. Disinvite those who "really want" to go to the meeting, with no reasons other than "I deserve to be there," "I want MY voice to be heard" or "it's mine." The pursuit of personal approval, organizational advancement or territorial gain never moves the business objective forward.
  4. Clearly define the purpose of the meeting—a specific end goal—not just at the start of the meeting itself, but in the invitation. Online, email-based meeting invites have led us collectively to ruin. Don't use hieroglyphic meeting names. Be clear. Succinct. Purposeful. It will help get the right people in the room. And the wrong people out.
  5. Love iteration, evolution and the gut rule of "too good to be true." There's always the meeting after the meeting, the inevitable change that comes in by email or phone call. This is a complex, iterative, challenging business environment and we may as well learn to love it.

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