Meetings with a Mission, Part 2: Have a Driving Mission

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2. Each meeting must have a driving mission. 

Meetings should always have a mission.  If they don't, then what is the meeting aiming to accomplish in light of the bigger picture? In Part 1 I gave some wisdom on choosing items for the meeting agenda.  In Part 2 I'll be pointing you towards how to shape those agenda items so that they connect the meeting to the big picture and thereby guarantee more productivity and effectiveness.

When you have a list of the items referred to in Part 1, you then must determine whether or not that meeting agenda item is legitimately important to the company as a whole.  Just because a team member has a concern or issue doesn't make it valid for the company as a whole.  

Your company should have a vision and mission which drives it.   That company mission drives every meeting. That mission becomes a filter for what goes on the agenda at that meeting. If the mission of the company is not clear, or if it is not being used as a filter for building a meeting agenda, then it is no wonder that meetings are unproductive and ineffective.

The company mission is the best tool to use in coaching employees and team members, and in helping them resolve or figure out their personal work agenda items.  In other words, the more they become steeped in the company mission, the more likely they will be able to discover for themselves whether the things they are struggling with or trying to accomplish are actually supporting or flowing out of the company mission.  When these things do not, a team member is actually wasting company time and money.  This is where the manager or supervisor or business owner must himself or herself be an exemplary model of someone steeped in the organizational mission.

While an organization should have a mission, each team or department within that organization should ideally have their own team or department mission.  Their mission is a sub-mission.  It relates the work they do specifically as a department to the larger mission of the organization.  The department or team mission basically says, in a succinct way, how their work accomplishes the greater mission of the company.  Therefore, when it comes to meetings that happen within a team, the meeting agenda needs to be even more narrow.  If it's not, then you'll find that items come to your agenda that should actually be addressed or handled by another department, leaving everyone at the table either guessing about what should be done, or arrogantly assuming they know how to handle it better than the other department.  Either way, this will end up causing departments or teams within an organization to become disjointed, throwing the whole company out of whack, kind of like a bum knee causes the whole body to walk with a limp.  Don't let your team or department be the bum knee of the company just because of a failed meeting agenda.  It happens all the time.

In our organization we have a mission, and our smaller team has a mission which coincides with the company mission. Our team mission is five-fold: 

Spread the vision
Stop financial leakage
stimulate revenue
Stabilize organization
Steward resources and assets

That five-fold mission supports the organization's mission statement in a very specific way, and it therefore becomes the filter through which we build our agenda for each meeting. 

If somebody wants to bring something to the table for our meeting, and it does not flow out of or back into one of those five areas, then we do not put it on the agenda. We say 'no' to it.  

And since each member of our team are mature adults, nobody gets offended when something they want doesn't make the cut to the meeting agenda.  They just humbly admit that since we all agreed on the team mission, what they want to talk about just doesn't fit that mission.  

There is no rationalization either, as we all sometimes tried to do. If it isn't directly connected, then it doesn't come to the agenda, no matter how someone may try to twist, weave, argue, and push their personal work agenda item.  If it's not readily apparent to the team that that person's agenda item request isn't related to the mission, we will say 'no' in a nice way, and still walk away friends.

To Do Today:  

1.  Spend ten minutes thinking through your company's mission.  Do you know what it is?  Write it down.  If not, write down what you think it is.  

2.  Spend another ten minutes listing the various departments or teams in your business.  Write down what you perceive is the mission of each department or team as it relates to the company mission.  

3.  Pray about it and ask God to give you some wisdom and insight to see it fully and connect the dots.

Part 3: Appoint a Leader for the Meeting

About the Author: Rob is a follower of Jesus at Jubilee Church.  From there he pursues Jesus' mission at Revive Consignment as the Business & Operations Development Director, as well as at Jubilee Church of Atlanta, in Woodstock, GA. From there he envisions and pursues missional-shaped business for the kingdom. He and his wife Sherri have been married for 20 years and together have three sons and a daughter. Rob believes the mission of the gospel is summed up in four simple phrases: know God, obey Jesus, make disciples, and plant churches. This is the pursuit of his life, as well as the point of his blog.

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