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Why am I even here? The beauty of outcome focussed meetings 

Why am I even here? The beauty of outcome focussed meetings 

Nicola Hopes

19 April 2022

I almost spat my mint tea over my screen with laughter.  

We were discussing how to make time for development in a coaching wrap up session and one joyfully defiant comment really tickled me:  

“My diary was so full of meetings; I’d just turn up to the next one and ask what it was about.

Now – thanks to you – if I don’t know what the takeaways are going to be, I just don’t go.

And I’m getting away with it! It’s life changing” 

And it talks to a bug bear of mine: focus on outcomes. 

The ‘why the hell are we bothering?’ question that so few people actually ask. 

And I see the painful result of that so often in my coaching. Trying to help some clients find breathing space in their diaries for development is like trying to simultaneously nail jelly to the wall and learn the ukulele. 

They’re busy.  

But in some cases, they’re busy with busy work. 

See if this sounds familiar:  

Client:I’m going to that meeting because it’s a monthly meeting. We have it every month’. 

Me:Yes, but what are you covering this month’? 

Client:We’re having an update on ‘x’ project and discussing ‘y’ thing. 

Me: ‘Couldn’t that be done via a shared space on Teams?’  

Client: [silence] 

OR 

Me: ‘Why have you had 3 meetings on that topic?’ 

Client:Because we spent the first two trying to agree the problem we were going to solve.’ 

Me:Really? Do you know how much those meetings cost you?’  

Client: ‘Hadn’t thought about it.’ 

Me: [crying in the corner] 

And it extends to change too. It’s never the purpose of a project to launch that new app or upgrade that system.

The real outcome is the thing that your clients or customers can do as a result of it. And why that supports either your strategy, your numbers or your values. 

Trust me. The more focus you give to the true business outcomes, the easier it is to see the dross for what it is: rubbish to be put out. 

I get it Nic, but how do I turn the tide in my business? 

Start tomorrow and the rest will follow 

Tip 1: Set the standard 

  • Include the desired outcome on the agenda for every meeting you host. Then spend time at the start making it clear to everyone.  
  • The outcome could be a key decision or business problem to solve. 
  • The rule is: if you can’t think of a clear business outcome, the meeting isn’t required – see this site for a giggle on this topic. 
  • You’ve heard me say it before – updates don’t need an audience!

Tip 2: The polite brush off 

  • If the requester can’t describe what they need from a session.  
  • And what they specifically need from you to drive or inform it, then they haven’t worked hard enough on the outcome.  
  • Feel free to politely decline until they have! 

Tip 3: A solution looking for a problem  

  • Don’t even think about kicking off that project until you know what business outcome it drives and how that fits with your priorities.  
  • Even if it’s your pet project. You might need to put it out of its misery now rather than have it limp along looking for a problem to solve.

Make sure you know why you’re in every room that you’re in. After that, you just have to deliver those all-important outcomes.  

Easy, for a talent like you. 

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