Focus is a fascinating and powerful thing when paired with the regular discipline of conscious reflection or review, it becomes a super-power for individuals and a potent performance-enhancer for teams.
Simply put, focus means that we see more of what we choose to pay attention to, and less of what we don’t.
I’ve been working ‘on-site’ with several different teams, attending some of their meetings and live-coaching them. I’ve also been asking lots of leaders about the last meeting they attended.
Doing this work and focusing on running great meetings myself has led me to notice an interesting, yet not entirely surprising, pattern.
So, what’s the pattern?
Most people think that their meetings are ok but could be a lot better.
Perhaps the agenda wasn’t well defined, and it wasn’t shared in advance. Perhaps there was too much on the agenda and not enough time. Perhaps the team regularly veered off topic, a few people dominated the discussion, next steps weren’t all clear etc, etc.
The most significant thing that I’ve noticed though, is that nobody, even in senior leadership teams, tends to do much about it. Nobody actually takes accountability for making it better.
Perhaps that’s not surprising either. There is always so much to get done which means once we’re out of the room, we are understandably focused on the next task or meeting at hand.
But that means we continue to operate sub-optimally. We continue to waste unnecessary time and effort.
Pausing to review
The alternative is to assign the last five minutes of your meeting for a review and debrief.
This is to review the process of the meeting. Not the content or output.
It’s about asking questions such as:
- Was the agenda and timing realistic?
- Did we stay on topic?
- What worked well?
- What must we focus on and do better next time we meet?
It’s a simple tactic that delivers a significant return on the time invested.
It’s also easier said than done. Embedding this as a new team protocol takes focus, effort and discipline.
But that’s exactly what is required to become a High-Performing Team. And as Jim Rohn once said:
“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment.”