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Strategic Discipline Blog

Boring Meetings

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Aug 29, 2022

47% Meetings #1 Time Waster, 73% Do Other Work in MeetingsMeetings can be boring!

According to a 2021 Atlassian survey:

— 47% consider meetings the #1 timewaster

— 73% do ‘other work’ in meetings

If 73% of attendees are doing other work in meetings, you can bet they’re not engaged. Is this the chicken or the egg?

What’s the Opposite of Love?

When I asked this question in a recent Five Dysfunction of a Team meeting with my customer, the unanimous answer was, “hate!”

It’s not true, however.Opposite of Love isnt hate, its Indifference

The opposite of love is indifference.

Hate would seem the reverse of love, yet hate is an emotion. As they say, where there’s sparks there’s fire.

To be indifferent suggests there is nothing. If you’ve been ghosted by anyone you know how this feel.

What’s worse than conflict?

You’ve heard it said, when two always agree, one is unnecessary.

Worse than conflict, it's indifference or I don't care! 

i_dont_care_sign_man_socialIf you’re having meetings and there’s no conflict, does it suggest your meeting are unnecessary? Are meetings strictly for informational purposes?

Patrick Lencioni suggests that meetings need conflict, to spice them up, and make them interesting. If your meetings don’t have at least occasional conflicts, there’s a good chance there’s a lack of trust in your organization. Team members don’t feel comfortable expressing their opinions. They’re unwilling to be vulnerable.

Trust is all about vulnerability. As the leader, if you refuse to admit your mistakes and be vulnerable with your team, it’s unlikely anyone on your team will be vulnerable or admit their mistakes.

At the heart of conflict is the lack of fear to express your opinion. You feel safe your judgment matters. You won’t receive a reprisal or be denigrated in front of your peers for a dissenting opinion.

Healthy conflict makes for better decision-making.fear-of-conflict

It may never have happened to you; however I’ve seen occasions a decision fails, leadership team members say, “I could have told you so” either in the meeting or under their breath in the hallways afterward.

The question is if you were so bright, why didn’t you voice your opinion when the decision was being made?

This is the result of a lack of trust, fearing conflict, lack of commitment, accountability, and results. The leadership team does not make the leadership team its top priority. They’re more concerned about their department’s results (the team they lead), than whether the leadership team and the company succeed.

This is a subject of a future blog.

Benefits of Conflict

Every member of your leadership team may have different levels of comfort with conflict. Families who grew up Italian, or New Yorkers, are generally more comfortable with conflict. The Japanese culture on the other hand rarely engages in conflict. It’s viewed as disrespectful. How you grew up, and your family’s conflict history will influence your comfort level with conflict.Conflict-continuum

Years ago, my sales manager, Mike O’Brien, spent about 15 minutes arguing against me in his sales office over a decision. After this exhausting exchange he said, “So, you’ve decided to go ahead with this then?”

“Yes! Can I have your commitment to it?” I asked.

His answer surprised me, “Oh yeah, I just wanted to make sure you were as committed to this as I am. I was playing devil’s advocate!”

We had a deeply trusting relationship. It allowed him to argue passionately knowing I wouldn’t take his dissenting opinion as anything less than the opportunity to make the best decision possible.

Watch Patrick Lencioni’s less than 2-minute clip on the importance of conflict and personalities.

Conflict Norms

Having rules surrounding conflict conduct for your meetings is a good idea.

Here’s one example from a team I work with.

Ask yourself this question:

  • How often are your meetings boring?
  • How much conflict do you have in your meetings?

There’s probably a relationship between these two answers.

In the movie Wall Street, Michael Douglas says, “Greed is Good!”

For meetings, it’s healthy to remember, “Conflict is Good!”

To create an environment where everyone is inspired to give their best, contact Positioning Systems today to schedule a free exploratory meeting.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Disciplined People Thought Action Chapter06-01-1Does your business do exit interviews when employees leave your company? Verne Harnish had some excellent ideas on three steps to make this a learning process for you. That’s the next blog.

Building an enduring great organization requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, superior results, producing a distinctive impact on the world.

Discipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.4Dx Cadence of Accountability

A winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics, and Meeting Rhythms.   Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M+) businesses Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing! Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

NEXT BLOG – 3-Step Process for Exit InterviewsBusiness woman looking at keyhole with bright cityscape concept background


Topics: Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni, meetings, Meeting Conflicts, better decisions through conflict

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1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

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Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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