Good meetings build good teams

Every year about this time, I have the same problem: I need a great book on building teams through meetings for the Small Group Process Consultation class I teach at Alliant International University.

Every year, I can’t find that book. I own most all the books on meetings, facilitation and teams, and many of them have great, great information. Problem is, not one is what I need: a soup-to-nuts approach to interacting with groups without freaking out. Or freaking them out.

Last year I was in Portland, and I was certain that Powell Books – Mecca for readers – would have what I was seeking. The meetings section was easy to find; I eagerly started looking for the book. Except, every book in the meetings section was on either presentation skills or Robert’s Rules. Huh?

Nothing about equalizing participation, the proper use of groups, or having fun. Nothing about how a good meeting builds a team, and a bad one tears it apart. No practical guidance about the dynamics of groups, the psychological needs of leaders or what it takes to meld all this into a structure that invites magic.

And, isn’t that the whole point of having a meeting? Of working in teams?

I moved to the teams section, thinking maybe the book was there. Nope. There, it was all about how the latest and greatest team model would unlock the potential of your team. Like it was about a secret handshake or the decoder ring you got when you drank the koolaid. Click your heels three times and say “There’s no place like team.”

Not helpful.

I was looking for help explaining the crucial link between meetings and teamwork, which is this: You can’t have one without the other. Saying “team”won’t do it. Saying you’ve got a team without making your meetings team-friendly is like…lying. Becuase every meeting affects the team: The group meeting, the 1:1 meeting, the casual drive-by in the hallway. Which means you’ve got many opportunities to build your team each day, opportunities that add up to much more than what you’ll get from the big annual off-site. It’s such good news, I thought someone might have written about it. Not so far.

This year, I realized who that someone is: me. I’m going to write the book I’ve been wanting to read.  Wish me luck.

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