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Following up on commitments

From: Leading Productive Meetings

Video: Following up on commitments

After the development portion is complete, it's time to report on commitments. If you're following the agenda we've provided, attendees will have committed to action items at the conclusion of the previous meeting. We now want to receive reports on the status of commitments from all attendees. This process is actually very simple. The leader using the minutes from the previous meeting reads through the commitments each person made and asks simply, did you do this? If the answer is yes, then the leader can say something briefly, like "good job" or "thank you," but what if the answer is no? The leader should then ask something like, "what got in the way of completing that?" or "what obstacle did you encounter?" This is much more effective than asking a "why" question such as "why didn't you do this?" Why is a very strong word and often carries with it the assumption of personal blame.

Following up on commitments

After the development portion is complete, it's time to report on commitments. If you're following the agenda we've provided, attendees will have committed to action items at the conclusion of the previous meeting. We now want to receive reports on the status of commitments from all attendees. This process is actually very simple. The leader using the minutes from the previous meeting reads through the commitments each person made and asks simply, did you do this? If the answer is yes, then the leader can say something briefly, like "good job" or "thank you," but what if the answer is no? The leader should then ask something like, "what got in the way of completing that?" or "what obstacle did you encounter?" This is much more effective than asking a "why" question such as "why didn't you do this?" Why is a very strong word and often carries with it the assumption of personal blame.

By substituting what stood in the way for why, you are leaving open the possibility to many different reasons that could have kept the person from completing their assigned task. The leader should not respond with anything further at this time. We just want a brief explanation of what prevented the attendee from completing the commitment. If this explanation generates a topic that the group or the leader wishes to discuss further, then add it to the task list to be discussed at a later time.

Regardless of their responses, finish with brief, specific, and sincere praise. By always giving brief sincere praise, you become someone that's a trusted resource, rather than a demanding taskmaster. People will welcome you insight and become more forthcoming about errors when they happen. One last comment for managers: if you notice a pattern of someone not completing their commitments, you'll likely want to follow up with that person in a one-to-one meeting, not in a group meeting.

The one-to-one meeting is a great time for a manager to assist employees in following through on commitments or deal with deeper personal issues that may be influencing their lack of follow-through. Keep the meeting moving along and focused on actions and results. By taking this approach, you'll ensure commitments are completed and meetings are productive.

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This video is part of

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Leading Productive Meetings

35 video lessons · 19663 viewers

Dave Crenshaw
Author

 
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  1. 1m 32s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      29s
  2. 11m 33s
    1. Understanding the principles of successful meetings
      3m 56s
    2. Using technology
      2m 12s
    3. Meeting virtually (audio and video conferencing)
      2m 55s
    4. Understanding the importance of time management
      30s
    5. Deciding between group and one-to-one meetings
      2m 0s
  3. 22m 21s
    1. Determining whether a meeting is necessary
      2m 50s
    2. Scheduling the meeting
      3m 0s
    3. Establishing ground rules
      2m 50s
    4. Determining who is in charge
      3m 21s
    5. Having an agenda
      2m 50s
    6. Preparing development
      4m 30s
    7. Coming prepared
      3m 0s
  4. 26m 5s
    1. Budgeting time
      2m 32s
    2. Taking minutes
      2m 34s
    3. Opening
      2m 32s
    4. Presenting the development
      3m 38s
    5. Following up on commitments
      2m 24s
    6. Giving everyone a voice
      3m 32s
    7. Giving and taking feedback
      3m 14s
    8. Keeping meetings productive and on topic
      2m 27s
    9. Reviewing action items and closing the meeting
      2m 2s
    10. Reviewing minutes
      1m 10s
  5. 15m 39s
    1. Understanding the importance of the one-to-one
      2m 29s
    2. Deciding who to meet with in a one-to-one
      2m 50s
    3. Establishing a one-to-one schedule
      2m 44s
    4. Determining the one-to-one agenda
      1m 56s
    5. Listening effectively ("What do you need from me?")
      1m 36s
    6. Delegating effectively ("This is what I need from you.")
      2m 19s
    7. Reviewing action items and closing
      1m 45s
  6. 4m 12s
    1. Completing action items
      1m 16s
    2. Following up on action items delegated to others
      2m 6s
    3. Reassessing the effectiveness of meetings
      50s
  7. 49s
    1. Final thoughts
      49s

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