How to Effectively Run a Planning Meeting: Decision-Making Meeting Tips

March 29, 2018

A group of people making a decision in a meeting

The quality of an organization’s meetings is often tied to the quality of the organization’s overall work. Like effective organizations, effective meetings have clearly defined roles and objectives.

There are four different types of meetings: decision-making, informational, creative, and motivational. While every meeting type is important, decision-making meetings are perhaps the most common. For managers and leaders that are stuck wondering how to make decisions as a group, a decision-making meeting is by far the most effective way to accomplish that goal.

What Is A Decision-Making Meeting?

With a decision-making meeting, the end-result is a decision made or a problem solved. Every meeting has an objective, and the objective of this meeting is for a group of people to come to an agreement. Compared to other meetings, this is the most black-and-white — either a decision is made and the problem is solved, or it isn’t. Having this clear objective makes it easier for you to create the agenda. The entire agenda revolves around getting the decision made. You can decide ahead of time what is being decided, who is deciding, and how they are going to decide. With the right plan in place, the decision should come naturally.

Preparation For A Decision-Making Meeting

The most important aspect in preparing for a decision-making meeting is making sure that everyone comes into the meeting fully informed. Every meeting participant should walk into the meeting knowing:

– The problem/decision at hand
– Their role in the meeting
– How the decision will be made

As the meeting organizer, it’s your job to make sure that everyone is prepared enough to participate. The more work that the leader does to define the problem to participants ahead of time, the more effective and productive the meeting will be. Brief the participants ahead of time with as many details about the problem as you can. This will lead to participants getting a better understanding of the problem, the meeting, and their role in it. This also opens the opportunity for them to bring some ideas of their own to the table before the meeting even starts.

It’s equally as important to prepare yourself for a decision-making meeting. Meeting leaders need to assess their own position in the meeting. Do you have any biases, limitations, or assumptions that might impact your decision-making ability? There’s a good chance that you have to take your boss’ opinion into account, you may be stressed by the problem, or you might be trying to wrestle with conflicting opinions. No matter what, you need to do what you can to go into the meeting as objectively as possible. You’re there mainly as a mediator.

“Planning Meetings”

A “planning meeting” is one of the more common forms of decision-making meetings. When deciding how to run a planning meeting, it’s important that you think about how far ahead you’re planning. Planning meetings can either be:

– Long-Term Planning: Annual meetings to discuss customer and employee happiness levels, research findings, etc. These meetings should drive the organization back to its key values, vision, and mission.

– Short-Term Planning: Weekly, monthly, or quarterly meetings to help you assess how you are doing with your long-term goals and make adjustments in regards to what is working and what isn’t working.

Planning meetings are crucial to keeping an organization true to its core. Without effective planning, it can be easy for your group to stray from the principles that your organization was founded on. By hosting planning meetings effectively and often, you are making a commitment to ensuring that your group is working towards goals that will be helpful in the long run.

Questions To Consider

A decision-making meeting is not just another meeting. You have a clear goal to reach, and it’s important that everyone walks out of that meeting comfortable with the decision made. There are plenty of implications to the decision being made, and with that comes a lot of questions. Here are some questions that you should consider:

1. Who needs to be involved in the decision-making process?

2. Who is deciding? If an agreement doesn’t look likely, who makes the final decision?

3. Who is affected by the problem at hand? Do they need to be involved?

4. Who has important information regarding the decision? There may be someone outside of the group that would bring a good perspective?

5. Who will be part of implementing this new decision or cascading the solution to other teams?

When it’s time to figure out how to make decisions at work or any organizational setting, preparation is key. Don’t play things by ear. Take the time to figure out the objective, who needs to be involved, and the problem-solving process before you even schedule the meeting. Running effective and productive meetings is a crucial part of being a good leader. If you want to become the ultimate leader, than our executive coaching services are for you. Contact us to get started on the path towards better leadership!

By: Gary Cohen

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