The Agenda Test

Put an end to time-wasting meetings with one, simple exercise: the Agenda Test.

People often complain about time-wasting, soul-sucking meetings (50% of meetings, according to some stats). Here’s a quick way to fix that.

Before your next meeting, imagine (or create) a Venn diagram of the following:

  • Company Agenda – the organization’s goals and objectives, clearly stated by senior management
  • Meeting Agenda – what we hope this meeting will achieve (you do have a meeting agenda, yes?)
  • Team Agenda – the group’s predispositions and the individual agendas of the attendees

Now ask yourself: How closely do the circles converge?

If they’re pretty tight, the stage is set for success (though not guaranteed); everyone is in the same boat, rowing in the same direction, in alignment with the organization’s purpose.

Company, meeting and team agendas in alignment

If they’re not tightly bound, or you can’t figure it out (because you don’t actually know), then you’re likely headed for rabbit holes, roadblocks and lost productivity.

Company, meeting and team agendas NOT in alignment

When the Agenda Test fails, when company, meeting and team agendas aren’t in alignment, you’re about to have the wrong meeting!

So don’t!

It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? But how many times have you suffered through the wrong meeting because nobody took the time to figure out what the right meeting should be.

The right meeting (or meetings) will address the questions raised outside the intersections in your Venn diagram.

The right meeting(s) will answer those questions—and plenty more that pop up along the way.

The right meeting(s) will point everyone in the same direction and move the company forward toward common goals.

So have that meeting instead.

Give the Agenda Test a try.

It’s simple. It’s quick. And it may save everybody some valuable time.

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