5 questions to spark meeting debates

meeting debateMany managers host weekly meetings that serve as status updates. The leader goes around the room asking attendees to share the latest news on their projects.

It’s better to use the limited time you have as a team to examine important issues.

Use these questions to spark constructive debates:

1. What has changed? This question can kick off a valuable conversation about unfolding developments inside or outside your organization. You want your team fully informed so that they can anticipate and address the next set of challenges.  

2. What key outcomes do we seek? The group needs to agree on priorities. That may only happen after a lively exchange of views on what’s most important and how to measure it.

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3. What risks do we face? Knowing what variables can upend your best-laid plans can help you develop contingencies. It’s also revealing to examine how different personalities calibrate the odds of success and failure.

4. What data do we wish we had? Identify what information is knowable and not knowable. From there, you can either gather data that increase your knowledge or discuss scenarios to address what you cannot control.

5. What mistakes are we making? Prod attendees to speak out about afflictions that undermine your workplace. Where’s the waste? What processes need improvement?

— Adapted from “11 Things Leaders Need To Talk About When They Meet With Their Staff,” Patty Azzarello, www.greatleadershipbydan.com.