Leaders need to have lots of ideas for team meetings.

I spend a lot of my time in team meetings, and sadly I’ve sat through many more dull ones than energising ones. I’ve written in a previous post that I think the main purpose for every team meeting should be to release energy amongst the team – every team member should leave the meeting more excited about the vision than when they arrived.

So how do we as leaders create this environment? One suggestion is to mix things up a little, so that not all team meetings are the same. It’s very easy to fall into a routine of the same agenda each time, just with updates on progress made on each. This is sometimes necessary, but shouldn’t be the agenda for every meeting. A better way is to hold specific meetings that cover different things.

Here’s seven ideas for team meetings for you, beyond just the usual agenda:

  1. Brainstorm together: Focus on one particular area where you need more creativity, and together brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Tip 1: The best ideas come after everyone has listed the obvious ones, it gets quiet, and you then have to push each other to come up with more ideas. Tip 2: When brainstorming ideas you’re after quantity, not quality. There should be no criticism of ideas – at this stage any idea is a good idea. But then after you’ve generated a huge list, have the team pick holes and try to kill off ideas that won’t work. You’ll then be left with the best. (This may be best done in a second meeting.)
  2. Debrief together: Discuss a project or event that you’ve done recently. Go through in detail all the good things, and encourage those who did great work. Then go through all the ways that you could make it even better next time.
  3. Plan together: Create a plan for a project you’ll be doing together. Remember that a good plan answers the six questions of i) what are we trying to achieve, ii) why is this important, iii) how are we going to tackle the big priorities, iv) who is responsible for different areas, v) when does each action need to be done, vi) where is the money going to come from.
  4. Prioritise together: This could be setting priorities for a specific project (as part of the above planning process) or it could be setting priorities for the coming year, the next three years, etc. Tip 3: A good way to set priorities is to have each team member suggest their three or four priorities, and write the full list on a board. Then give each team member three votes to place against the full list; usually this leads to a clear set of priorities that receive many more votes than the others, and which every team member feels they have contributed towards.
  5. Allocate roles together: Discuss the skills that each team member has, the ways they can contribute most valuably towards achieving the overall vision, and therefore agree off the roles that each person should perform. The happiest teams are those where each team member knows what they need to do and is good at doing that, all in pursuit of a worthwhile vision.
  6. Encourage together: Have people share what they see that others on the team are really good at doing. This can act as a great support to allocating roles above, and it often throws up unexpected or underutilised skills that could start being employed for the team.
  7. Define values together: Similar to prioritising together (see point four above) the team can come up with a list of five values they want to live out. Tip 4: Having defined values usually as one word (e.g. integrity, creativity, excellence, etc) have people give examples of the team living out those values, and then try to write out a sentence that further fleshes them out (e.g. instead of simply ‘Integrity’, a value of ‘Integrity: We will always do the right thing’ makes it easier for team members to know and live out the required behaviours).

So there’s seven ideas for team meetings for you? Which will you implement at your next meeting? Or do you have other ideas you want to share with us?

Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.

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