Save Me From These Endless Meetings

align and collaborate

Have you ever sat in one of those meetings where the group needed to come to agreement and it just wasn’t happening? No one would budge from their stance, and frustration and tempers mounted? Reflecting back, I’ve been in way too many of those and it was a while before I broke the code.

We were working on a policy that would affect multiple agencies and invited representatives from each to craft the document. It wasn’t pretty. Folks talked past each other. Lines were drawn in the sand. The deadline was fast approaching. After another contentious meeting, I sat at my desk looking at my notes and all of the red lines through the document. Then I had a “lightbulb moment” and decided to give something else a try.

I walked into the next meeting, hooked up my computer, flashed single words up on the screen, and asked each person what each word meant in their world. Words as simple as “inform” had a variety of agency interpretations and associated actions. The roadblocks we’d been experiencing with writing the policy became clear to the entire room. We realized that in order to collaborate, we needed to focus on being aligned. The group dynamic shifted dramatically as we discussed intent, common ground and common language. United (and with the code), we got the job done.

Connection is critical when working with teams. Identifying common language, intent and purpose is necessary for alignment. And with alignment, the stage is set for collaboration. Trust me, an aligned and collaborative team will get you to your goal and open the space for sharing of ideas, identifying pitfalls and solutions, and forming bonds with each other. It’s a Win – Win – Win.

This Week: Observe and listen. Suspend judgment. Look for the truth in what is being said by those who have positions opposite yours. Seek common ground and purpose. Then, engage. See how the dynamics shift and let us know your results.

In Next Week’s Post:  We are going to look at the Growth Mindset. Ready to learn?

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