Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...about Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business by Patrick Lencioni
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Nine times out of 10, when someone says "we need our nonprofit board to be more 'business-like,'" what they are really saying is "we need these meetings to suck less." That's one reason why I enjoyed this book. The other reason is this: I love meetings. Working collaboratively with others is a big thrill for me, one of my strengths, something that gets me going in the morning. But good collaboration requires face time, sometimes in large-ish groups, and it can be difficult to convince others to set a meeting or attend one if their usual experience of meetings is a slow death.
Lencioni goes directly at the resistance so many of us have to meetings and offers straightforward, easily implementable advice for making each meeting worthwhile and productive. Following the fictitious fable, in which our hero introduces an effective meeting method to a group of skeptical stock characters, Lencioni spells out his plan for stopping the endless string of boring and ineffective meetings that dominate most of our work lives. He encourages readers to differentiate meetings based on their desired outcome and to plan each accordingly: a daily check in with your team is a different thing than an annual planning meeting. Don't you wish everyone in your community knew that?
It's always good to find an unread Lencioni fable on my shelf at the end of a long day when my eyes are still working well enough to read but my brain is a bit saturated. The short story part is quickly read and easily digested, usually good for a knowing giggle or two. The description of the method is well-organized and concise. This is why Lencioni is one of our favorite business authors today... and why I'll keep picking up his fables as long as he keeps putting them out.
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