Curt Fowler on Meetings That Drive Results

Curt Fowler

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

“We will continue having meetings until we find out why no work is getting done!”
- Anonymous

Meetings that drive results? I thought that most meetings were just a colossal waste of time. After many years of research, I still do – at least for most organizations.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Having the right meetings, done the right way can and will drive the performance of your organization.


Patrick Lencioni has probably done some of the best work on making meetings productive. The meeting model above is Lencioni’s – we’ll be adding to it in future posts. I’ll be using his work Verne Harnish’s and my personal experience as we define the ultimate meeting model.

First, why should we even have meetings? Wouldn’t we all get a lot more done if outlawed meetings all together? Yes – we would probably get more done, but it would probably be the wrong stuff or something someone else was already working on. Meetings exist to drive the effectiveness of the organization. They do not help you check another task off of your list. They help you put the right things at the top of your list. 

Though it is probably very difficult for you to believe right now, the hard fact is that more meetings (done right) will greatly increase the effectiveness of your entire organization. John D. Rockefeller had the habit of eating lunch with the key leaders of his organization EVERY DAY. Even as the organization continued to grow over the years, he always met with his key leaders over lunch every day. I guess Rockefeller fully understood that the word “company” comes from the Latin word “companio” which means “one who eats bread with you.”

We’ll get into each type of meeting, when to have them, how long they should last and who should be there in future blogs. Today I want to convince you WHY you should be having more meetings and what you should expect to get out of them.

  1. Focus – Your meetings will focus the team’s attention on the things that matter most to your company. A team focused on the right things will be working on the right things. The things that matter most to the organization are those that create the most value or preserve the most value. This creates the “alignment” that everyone wants and needs to achieve great things.

  2. Accountability – Now that your team is focused on the goals that matter most to the organization, each team member will be publicly agreeing to deliver on some part of those goals. Coming back to the next meeting without your work done is no fun. Therefore, meetings will drive action on the most important goals of the organization.

  3. Communication – Ever heard the phrase “they treat me like a mushroom in this place”? It is true that in far too many organizations team members are kept in the dark and feel like they are being fed pooh most of their work days. Leaders want to keep their underlings “focused” on their jobs and not “worry” them about the bigger picture items on the leaders desk. This is counterproductive.

    Team members must be able to see a “line of site” from their work to the achievement of the company’s goals. Without that line of site, team members are rarely motivated. Communication through your meeting structure provides this.

  4. Engagement / Collective Intelligence – A team that understands the goals of the company and how their work affects those goals is engaged. An engaged team, that is given the opportunity, will use their collective intelligence to solve big problems for the company. This could never occur if team members were not fully informed on where the company is going. If we want our teams to “act like owners” we must give them the information to make ownership thinking possible.

I hope this blog has helped you see that great things can come from meetings. In the next few blogs we will dive into the details on how to structure and make all of your meetings great.

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About Curt Fowler

Curt Fowler is the President and Founder of Fowler & Company, a business advisory firm founded to help its clients maximize the value of their organizations. Curt is a Certified Public Accountant and earned his Masters in Accountancy from the University of Georgia. He also earned an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School at Northwestern. He has spent 20 years studying and learning from some of the best businesses in America including Verizon, Sara Lee, Cox Communications and many more.