Common problems with a team & business meeting

Chapter 5 p.8


Also see: How to manage a meeting

OK, I admit my last team meeting was chaotic. But what could I do? Some people kept on asking what’s the point of the meeting, others engaged in side conversations… Can you tell me what went wrong?


Common problems in work-related meetings usually centre around either poor preparation for the meeting or lack of control during meetings.


But how will I know what to focus on?

Poor preparation is often reflected in one or more of the following:

  • No agenda.
  • No/unclear objectives stated for the meeting.
  • Purpose not defined.
  • Too many items on the agenda.
  • Agenda items not prioritized.
  • One agenda item monopolizes the meeting.
  • Invitations that are vague or misleading.
  • Chairperson unprepared.
  • No prior research about issues.
  • Too many participants invited.
  • Participants not interested in being there.
  • Participants unprepared and not able to contribute.
  • Key players not present.
  • Decision makers not present.
  • Equipment not working.

Lack of control often results in:

  • No leader/facilitator – meeting dominated by “an expert” or whoever speaks the most and/or loudest.
  • Meeting lacks focus – irrelevant points are introduced.
  • People not showing up, coming late or leaving early.
  • Uninvited attendees.
  • Inattentive participants.
  • Hidden agendas.
  • Lack of questions.
  • Side conversations.
  • Interruptions.
  • Repetition.
  • Lack of value-adding comments.
  • No growth on issues.


While you’re at it, why not brush up on your facilitating skills…the Issue Resolution Model and the Decision Making Process would be a good start.

Goal setting is critical, use the SMART M process to assist


I Ask

Someone asked me whether I have SMARTM goals. When I said, “Yes. I want to drive a big car,” he looked disgusted and walked away. Did I say something wrong?


I Answer

Let me explain it to you:

A goal is an end to which you direct some specific effort in order to satisfy an unfulfilled need.

To be successful, a goal must be:

  • Specific in scope, actions, resources, alternatives.
  • Measurable in results and consumption of resources.
  • Achievable in results for participants.
  • Rewarding to participants, beneficiaries and suppliers of resources.
  • Time taken and end dates.
  • Monitor and communicate actions with action plans.

When we talk of SMARTM goals we actually refer to an acronym that provides an easy recipe for ensuring that our goals comply with the above criteria.


  • You should be able to define your goals in manageable chunks.


  • How will I know? (See? Hear? Feel?)
  • What are the observable results?


  • Is this within the participants’ control?
  • Does the participant have the skills, the resources and the authority?
  • Am I committed to follow through?
  • Did I communicate the plans and priorities to those around me and did they agree?


  • The benefit must be greater than the consumption of resources. Lack of clarity causes procrastination.


  • Get clarity and commitment on deadlines and diary time.
  • How long will it take?


  • What are the mileposts so that I can have external monitoring that I am on track?

I Ask

Which processes I can apply to ensure that my goals are achieved?


I Explain

This 6-point action plan facilitates the setting of achievable goals by asking the following questions:

  • Can we commit and get the resources?
  • Can we see a successful implementation?
  • Is the scope and plan communicated and organized so that all participants know what to do?

What is to be done?

When is it to be done?

What is the due date?

Where is it to be done?

Who is to do it?

How do we monitor?


I Advise

When a person reaches a goal, we have a “Victory Session” and celebrate. Victories celebrated give energy to keep us fuels us for the next goal.