Men's and Women's hockey has a player statistic that no other sport has. It is called the Plus/Minus score: If you are on the ice when your team scores, you get a +1. If you are on the ice when the other team scores you get a -1.
A high Plus/Minus score for a player after a bunch of games implies that the team plays better when s/he is on the ice.
There are, of course, factors that bias a stat like this. But still it is an amazing idea because it is trying measure something that's intangible: can a player's actions somehow elevate the game of the team around him or her?
But still it is an amazing idea because it is trying measure something that's intangible: can a player's actions somehow elevate the game of the team around him or her?
What if we brought the notion...elevating the play of those around you...into organizations?
There are many places we could do this, but meetings represent a great opportunity: they involve a group, they happen all the time, and, ostensibly, they are called to accomplish an objective.
Despite their ubiquity and importance, currently, we don't have very high expectations for ourselves or others about the meetings we organize and attend.
Organizers think they are absolutely killing it if they actually have a written agenda and if they end early.
Attendees think they are the cat's meow if they contributed some relevant piece of content more than once.
Really? Spend all day in meetings and you're happy if you show up with an agenda, end on time, and make a couple contributions? Isn't that kind of a low bar for 30+ hours a week of meeting time?
What might higher expectations look like?
I teach a class called The “Me” in Meetings™ which talks about the role of both Organizers and Attendees in making meetings more effective.
Keying off hockey's plus/minus idea, I recommend Organizers score themselves after each meeting: On a 1-10 scale (can't use 7), the meeting attendees benefited because of the meeting I called and the way I ran it.
By "attendees benefited," I mean the attendees:
* accomplished the meeting objective, which was as important to them as it was to the Organizer
* learned something important that they could not have learned without the meeting
* resolved roadblocks that was meaningful to them
* grew closer as a team
* gained confidence in themselves because of how they worked through a set of issues
I hope the mindset shift is clear: I am recommending the Organizers turn their focus towards what their Attendees are getting out of being in the meetings they are calling and running.
For Attendees, their post meeting assessment is: On a 1-10 scale (can't use 7), independent of the "technical" content i might have contributed, the meeting itself was more effective for everyone because I was there.
"More effective for everyone" means the same thing as the previous list for Organizers.
But for attendees, we want to know if that increased effectiveness came from what they did:
* questions they asked
* comments they made about the process
* compliments of others they made to improve the atmosphere
* acknowledgments they made about acts of courage from teammates
* facilitation moves they made to move the process along
For Attendees, contributing relevant content is what you are there for. I recommend Attendees raise the bar and start to focus on how they helped the group be more effective because of the role they played in the interactions.
There are lots of levers teams can pull to drive continuous improvement.
One cost-free way is for each leader and team member to simply start "tracking" whether they are helping the team play better.