Jake Davis

The Mavidea Bookshelf – Death by Meeting

Death by Meeting, By: Patrick Lencioni

Death by Meeting….I am guessing that a lot of business people feel like this is a good summary of their average week.  The interesting thing about the title to this book is that it might be slightly misleading for those expecting a book about how to not have so many meetings.  If you are hoping for a prescription on how to avoid meetings and forever free up your calendar, this book is not for you. 

Patrick Lencioni actually makes the assertion that we should be having more meetings, not less.  His argument is that the reason we dread meetings is that we are having too many bad meetings.  He believes that meetings should actually be the most fun we should be allowed to have at work.  Meetings should be a group of dynamic, caring professionals wrestling with and taking action on the major challenges facing their organization.  And since we spend such a large portion of our lives at the office, this makes the importance of these decisions and conversations that much more important.

Lencioni does a great job of weaving his thoughts on meetings and his prescription for a meeting schedule into a short novel of a struggling software company looking to break out and impress a new company they were acquired by.  Adding the drama and real world implications associated with this narrative, the points become clearer and easier to imagine inside your own organization. 

Through the story, Lencioni introduces the model he suggest we follow for a meeting schedule inside our organizations:

  • The daily huddle – a quick, stand up meeting to check in with the team every day.
  • The weekly tactical meeting – a weekly meeting for the leadership team to talk through progress made on goals, remove roadblocks and decide priorities week by week.
  • The monthly (or ad hoc) strategic meeting – 2-4 hours spent wrestling with a major strategic issue inside the organization.
  • The quarterly offsite – 1-2 days offsite with the leadership team where you can take a step back and look at the business and decide on major priorities.

For most of us, that sure does seem like a lot of time in meetings.  But what’s the payoff if we can do it right?

Lencioni believes that following this meeting schedule will lead to a healthier organization, better decisions, clearer communication and, in the end, better bottom line results.

I agree with him.  I think reading this book and following his suggested schedule will lead to better results inside your organization.

I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with creating the results they want on their team and in their business.

Bonus shortcut – if you are a “cut to the chase” kind of person, you can skip the narrative and go to page 223 for the Executive Summary.   ​