How three cards could change your meetings for the better

Every Monday morning at White October we have an operations meeting where the management team, PM & AM team meet to review the status of projects across the agency.

Since the start of the year, we have made time for a retrospective at the end of the meeting. In our last meeting of the year, we looked back at 2015 and the changes we’ve made.

At times during the year, we experienced type of hostility and defensiveness which can happen between team members when we’re all working under pressure. To find a positive solution, we trialled the following two exercises. These were probably the most simple changes to implement, but have resulted in a lasting and positive outcome, so we think they are worth sharing.

Appoint a meeting referee

In our weekly operations meetings the referee has a red and a yellow card. The cards are used to minimise deviations from the agenda and to help us park conversations that aren’t directly relevant.

A yellow card is shown as an indicator to the current person speaking to wrap up what they’re saying.

A red card is shown to stop the conversation. At this point we decide as a team whether we want to park the topic for the breakout session after the meeting, or abandon it altogether.

Have a positive pit stop

We also have a green card. The green card is used throughout the meeting when the energy drops or the atmosphere becomes confrontational.

When the green card is raised a person is appointed to share one positive thing from last week with the rest of the group.

These simple exercises will help keep a good pace and dynamic to your meetings.

What unique / creative things do you do to keep your meetings focused and positive?

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