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Meeting Effectiveness – Gaining SMART© Consensus for Productivity and Profitability!

SERIES: Part Three of a Four-Part Article

Nothing is more frustrating than leaving a meeting with what you feel is a clear understanding of what you and others are to do on a given project, only to come back together and find someone else has dropped the ball!

“Oh, I did not realize I was supposed to do that…” or “Oh, I did not realize you meant for it to be done now…” or “Oh, I did not realize I could use that to do this. I can get started directly on it if you still want.” Consider these the Academy Award-winners of excuse performances; they will continue until you find a non-combative, conversational means for pre-engaging these people before you conclude your next meeting.

While the training and development industry has been advocating a consensus decision-making model for decades, many still find reaching consensus difficult. Consider the SMART© Formula as a template for future one-on-one, email and teleconference dialogues in meetings:

1.   Specific (S) – Ensure that there is very precise communication exchange taking place between all appropriate personalities by asking, “Am I specific enough with the details and with “WHAT” is being needed with this person?” The degree of “Specific” will be determine by the knowledge and experience levels of the participants in the dialogue, the previous history you have with them and their personality/social style. Don’t overkill the topic presentation of which a clear understanding and agreement is needed, but at the same time, don’t assume!

2.   Measurable (M) – Make sure that “what” is being discussed is also being addressed from the vantage point of “How” it must be addressed or is expected to be addressed.

3.   Attain Agreement (A) – This is actually how you monitor whether you are doing the “S, M, R, T” steps of the SMART© formula. Here, your objective is to facilitate a non-threatening conversation with the other person(s) in a meeting, whereby consensus from everyone is sought. Work to attain agreement for each step along the way, thereby removing the opportunity for excuse making to occur!

4.   Realistic (R) – Conversationally work to draw affirming comments from each participant to ensure that “What” is being discussed and “How” it is to be addressed is reasonable. This requires that your case be made poignantly and factually. If everyone else can see “Why” one must participate, the level of commitment and consensus increases!

5.   Time Frame (T) – Obviously, communicating any interim deadlines and the final deadline would be addressing “When” something must be addressed.

Working to ensure effective dialogue among all participants to a decision is essential to idea generation and increased productivity and profitability associated with a decision. Making that decision, and ensuring the highest level of consensus, buy-in and execution from all attendees in a meeting situation, makes the use of the SMART© Formula even smarter tactical leadership!

You can even enhance the level of effectiveness coming out of a meeting. For example, send an after-action e-mail to all participants in the meetings, as well as all appropriate management players to whom the players in the meeting report. In the short e-mail, detail who owns which items and invite everyone to e-mail any suggestions for greater efficiency at the outset.

Be smart in your actions, and increased productivity on the part of everyone equally will become the norm of your business.

Tell us how you are increasing productivity at your company.

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