Most people I know have a love-hate relationship with project team meetings. Those meetings can be drama-filled (especially if a deadline is about to be blown) or just plain tedious. Everyone knows there’s value in team meetings, but sometimes it’s hard to find.
Project leaders can add some excitement—and value—to any team meeting by asking one simple question at the outset:
What can we do differently (or better) today to improve this project’s outcome?
Once you ask the question, let people share their ideas—no matter how big or small. And, if possible, design an approach on the spot for putting the best ideas into practice. If you can’t, don’t leave the room without articulating a next step for the ideas you’ve heard.
Besides improving a project’s outcome, you’re sending people a clear message: I value your opinion. Plus, you’re encouraging an open environment for discussion, which will challenge people to search for ideas that will lead to a better result.
You’ve probably seen project leaders who act as though a good idea can only come from on high. Those individuals make their jobs harder than needed. And when such a leader looks for help with the next project, mysteriously, the best people are already tied up on something else.
It’s a simple question. Ask it at the beginning of every meeting, sit back, and let the ideas flow.