MEETINGS & Why Those ‘Hallway Meetings’ (After the Big Meeting) Are Annoying Your Co-Workers

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I wish I had read this when I was leading faculty meetings. One of the things that frustrated me was how after the meeting was over faculty members would go into the hallway (or even remain in the room) and rehash many of the decisions that were made by consensus. After reading this article I realized I wasn’t encouraging dissenting views during the meeting and instead was pushing them into post meeting venues.

Why Those ‘Hallway Meetings’ (After the Big Meeting) Are Annoying Your Co-Workers┬áby James Sudakow, Inc. Magazine, 7/12/17.

…After-the-fact informal meetings can and do often create a leadership and decision making culture where it is fully acceptable to self-sabotage decisions on which you already had alignment. This frequently creates the need to have another meeting to decide on something you already thought you had decided on.

The result is that passive aggressive approaches to conflict not only become allowed but actually become instrumental driving forces for how disagreement on hard decisions are managed. In other words, they make it OK for the real disagreement to not be voiced in the big decision making meeting but after the fact in the hallways, which undermines or starts to undo what you thought was already done…

What causes it?

To potentially oversimplify the complexity of our human behavior (which I’ve been known to do from time to time), it stems from the inability to have the hard conversation, disagree constructively, and create a leadership environment where dissenting points of view are both acceptable and encouraged…

How do you fix it?

Here are two things I have done personally as well as seen other leaders do that start to nip this bad tendency in the bud:

1. No decisions made until one dissenting point of view is raised…

Doing this forces people to raise issues that they may fear will be unpopular or viewed negatively, which curbs the need to say it later and undermine confidence in the decision the team made.

2. Set leadership team ground rules that there are no meetings after the meeting. Then get the team members to sign it like a contract.

Some call them operating norms. Others call them rules of engagement. Some just call them ground rules. Many leadership teams don’t come together to figure out what they are, but those that do have a way of self-regulating behaviors…

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CHANGE & How You Can Lead Change Better By Doing One Thing (That Most of Us Fear Doing)

by James Sudakow, Inc. Magazine, 1/24/17.

In many ways, though, the single biggest strategy I found that worked isn’t really a secret at all. And it isn’t that hard to do except that most of us don’t do it simply out of fear:

Find the people who are dead set against the change you are trying to lead, and go get them involved in it.

It sounds counter-intuitive. Why would you actually seek out the people who want you to fail or who are actively, or frequently passive aggressively, lobbying against you? Why would you put them on the core team who is leading the change? Isn’t that kind of like sabotaging yourself?

Maybe not.

In every change effort I lead, I actively find the loudest conscientious objectors to genuinely get them involved because they do two critical things that will make the change actually stick:

1. They will tell you all of the reasons (that you don’t want to hear) about why people don’t want to, or can’t, make the change a reality.

That information is really important. Not only does it help you understand why people may resist so you can think about how to handle it, but it also forces you to confront potentially legitimate flaws in the change you are trying to make or blind spots in your thinking. Whether you like it or not, you will be forced to hear perspectives counter to your own about the change.

2. If you find a way to work with them towards a solution they support, they will become your biggest advocates in selling the change.

There’s an old expression that says that “nobody is more zealous than a convert.” If you can truly find a way to collaborate with the objectors and find a solution they can support, they will sell the change enthusiastically. A lot of the objectors are quite influential across the company.

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