Every meeting can be understood as a Workflow. This can help make meetings much more effective.

In Q1, the meeting is scheduled and the necessary participants are invited. Everyone who participates in a meeting is both a customer and a performer.

Every meeting should begin with a Q2 where results for the meeting are negotiated. Most good meetings already contain some form of agenda, but it helps to be explicit that a good agenda is really a negotiated set of results for the meeting. Often an agenda is just a list of items to discuss, but it helps to articulate what outcomes you really want out of the meeting:

  • What are the results?
  • What value are we trying to create out of this meeting?
  • What do we want to be able to do when the meeting is over that we couldn’t do before?

The results section of the guide is helpful here. For each item on your agenda, state the Outcome you're looking for, and the time you're allocating to achieve it:


- Discuss Hiring [10 Min]. Outcome: decide if we should make an offer to Alice

Q3 is the meeting execution, where meeting participants seek to deliver the results they negotiated in the agenda during Q2. It’s important to pay attention to time, refocus on the outcomes you’re seeking as necessary, and set action items to be reviewed in the next meeting. If necessary, renegotiate the results as you go, if you discover that you won’t have enough time for everything or you have some leftover time, as the case may be.

Finally, each meeting should include a short Q4 at the end, where participants can review the value they got out of the meeting:

  • Did they meet the results?
  • Did they cover topics on time?
  • Did things happen that could have been better handled?
  • What value was produced? What can they do now that they couldn’t do before?

If you start doing a Q4 at the end of each meeting (it only takes 5 minutes!), you can be more honest and explicit about the quality of your meetings. Maybe you’ll find that they’re not delivering much value. Once you do it a few times, you’ll either decide to stop having the meeting, or figure out how to improve them by negotiating better results!

Then when someone asks you to join a meeting for reasons you're not sure about, you can ask them:

  • What outcomes are you looking for from this meeting, how do you think I can help achieve them, and how long do you think it will take?