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These sharp insights from the business world will help your ministry become more effective.

People don’t hate meetings. They just hate your meetings.

The reality is most people don’t know how to run effective meetings, and they need help, which is probably why you’re reading this.

Everyone knows the effects of a bad meeting culture in a company. We’ve all heard complaints such as, “If it weren’t for all these meetings, I’d actually get some work done.”

Some senior business leaders have only one or two hours in a given week without a meeting scheduled, and some employees don’t even begin actual work until after 5 p.m. because they’re in meetings all day.

Isn’t it tragic that many people not only think of meetings as an unimportant aspect of work but also as a detriment?

That’s not the sign of a healthy company culture. The solution is to fundamentally change the way in which you do meetings, and in the process, change the way your company does business.

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Meetings Are Your Cultural Bellwether

Bill Lee shares a famous story about Steve Jobs. When an Apple development group was tasked with making DVD-burning software, they spent weeks planning for the meeting with specs, charts and options.

When the day of the meeting came, Steve Jobs walked in, went straight to the white board and drew a picture of a rectangle that represented the application. He said he wanted the user to drag a video into the window and click “burn.”

“That’s what we’re going to make,” he said.

Jobs could have spent countless hours going over what his employees thought he wanted, wasting everyone’s time. Instead, he led, whittling down many options to one great option and pushed his team toward that one goal.

Jobs ran his meetings like he ran his company. How about you?

If your employees grumble about your meeting culture, it’s time to pay attention and find some solutions because your meeting culture is the bellwether of your company culture. Lots of meetings, wasted time and no decisions are not only frustrating for your employees but also poison for your business.

3 Keys for a Successful Meeting

There are three important keys that all companies should strive for: energy, focus and accountability.

Cameron Herold Cameron is the author of best selling business book Double Double and a 5 time Top Rated Lecturer at MIT's Entrepreneurial Masters Program Coach to CEOs through the USA & around the world.TED Talk Raising Kids to Be Entrepreneurs, Instead of Lawyers. He is one of the most sought after business minds in North America.

More from Cameron Herold or visit Cameron at

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  • ServantHeart2012

    Good points indeed! However when ideas from the business world are introduced to the church setting I often hear; “This is a church, not a business. Following the customs of the business world will put us on a slippery slope toward worldliness.” That is simply a cop out and an excuse to resist positive change even when we know what we’re doing isn’t working.

    • funkmaster777

      A cop out indeed! I would not consider energy, focus, and accountability to be concepts exclusive to the secular world. I would consider them to be characteristics of great stewardship.

  • MAVincent

    There is so much more that could be said, but this is a good start. A solid agenda, handed out before the meeting can help get focused. In most cases, I would put a start and stop time on the meeting, which helps to stay focused on the task at hand. It is critical for the leadership to be prepared for the meeting. If not, these will bring down the “energy.” The leader needs to focus on tasks that relate to this meeting verses information or tasks that don’t relate to this committees role. The committee must know its responsbility and not stray from it. Someone must take good, concise, notes so that everyone can review and be held accountable to the tasks that have been assigned. The assignments can be in bold, or reviewed at the bottom of the minutes. Having the right people on the committee, and the right, gifted leader giving leadership makes all the difference.

  • Scott Dossett

    Hmmm… “Instead, he led, whittling down many options to one great option and pushed his team toward that one goal.”

    Yeah, why would I want a leader to involve me in the process? Why would we want to “waste our time” listening to the input and counsel of those beside whom we work? Why wouldn’t we want to simply tell everyone, “This is how it is… do your Christian duty!” Oh yeah, that’s right, because we’re a church not a corporation.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good article. But too often church leaders hear business things the wrong way and then apply theological justification to get what they want. A pastor is not a CEO and his members and co-ministers are not employees.

  • alhatesreligion

    Not a bad article, some good advice. I would however caution the “JOB’s approach in all situations. Just because the leader, CEO or Pastor comes up with an idea walks to the dry erase board and says this is how it’s gonna be done doesn’t mean that’s how it should be done. In a Church setting a Pastor’s pet project should not always get the green light. he may be skilled but he should not just get his way. I would suggest that the wisdom in many counselors concept is a good one. I love ideas, especially new and fresh ones, but just because I’m one of the Pastors doesn’t mean I get to run with all of them. We encourage ideas to be shared. We hear them out, discuss then decide. We try not to spend tooo long on any one subject and even encourage some of the conversation to be discussed “offline”. I agree we nedd to go into a meeting with an agenda, nothing worse than playing it by ear. We allow only a few minutes for topics and if it needs to go longer and it can wait, we move it to the next meeting. Not perfect but it works. I’m hoping for the day when we can just read each other’s thoughts and just get “er” done.

  • Ryan

    Good article. My work place could use reading this. One aspect of church is that it IS a business and when it comes to a church where most people are volenteers and you want them to show up at meetings, they need to be run well. I skip out on a majority of meetings at work because they are such a waste of time.

  • sinner saved by grace

    Three ways to kill a ministry or program, particularly if it envolves men:
    1)Don’t start on time.
    2)Don’t have a specific, defined goal/agenda and stick to it.
    3)Don’t end on time.
    Do the above and your people will not be back for round 2.

  • sinner saved by grace

    Three ways to kill a ministry or program, particularly if it involves men:
    1)Don’t start on time.
    2)Don’t have a specific goal and agenda and stick to it.
    3)Don’t end on time.
    Do the above and “they” won’t be back for round 2.

  • denobile 14

    The reason most meetings are/were boring is because many people thought/think that what they had to say was very important and above all interesting when in fact it is not. As a veteran of many meetings and as a member of the “Say it in Four minutes or less Club” as I’m sure Steve Job was, why is everybody now discovering that what is needed is energy, accountability, and focus? All one has to do is what Dr. De Bakey once said: “Think” before speaking and 90% of all meeting problems will be solved.


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