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Written by The Mezzanine Group
on June 14, 2011

Don’t you love when your weekly staff meeting goes smoothly and you finish on time, without debate or uncomfortable conversations? Are you happy when everyone at the table nods in approval?

I was thinking about this issue the other day and I thought how funny it is that as human beings we usually love to avoid conflict and crave the stability of the status quo. However, deep down, we all know that when there are important things to talk about you can’t bury your head in the sand. Instead, we need to deal with critical issues head on, no matter if it disrupts the harmony of the status quo.

This doesn’t mean having a meeting for the sake of it (probably never a good idea) but rather seriously questioning the smiles and nods at your staff meetings and looking for other ideas and opinions, even if it disrupts the status quo. While it might feel good to avoid confrontation and get in and out of a meeting, you might actually be missing a lot.

In fact, according to Dan Burrier in ‘Be Brave Have a Bad Meeting’ (featured in HBR Management Tip of the Day) , having a ‘great meeting’ might not be all it’s cracked up to be, especially if you are looking to come up with great ideas. While it might not seem intuitive, many fabulous (and profitable) ideas and new innovations come about by conflict and through resolving difficult business tensions.

According to Burrier keep these things in mind when preparing for your next meeting:

  1. Don’t focus on making sure things go smoothly but rather on your business objectives no matter if it leads to conflict.
  2. Invite people who have a stake in the goal trying to be achieved as opposed to other agendas.
  3. Clearly define the purpose of a meeting so people know why they are there as well as to establish who should and should not attend.
  4. Instead of making sure everything fits into your meetings time slot, let issues that are unresolved be dealt with at future meetings where the group can debate and work towards solving the issue at hand.

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