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Meetings -- Great Executive Teams

Clint Maun, CSP

Although health care executives are very busy, it is still important to meet as a group on a regular basis. Meetings should be invigorating and encourage involvement by all. Executives must be accountable for achieving meeting results by setting basic meeting ground rules, including a prepared agenda with priorities, starting and ending on time and providing all members appropriate handouts/reading material prior to the meeting. These actions will improve involvement throughout the meeting and create successful outcomes.

Participation and preparation must be transterritorial. This depicts that everyone needs to be involved in all areas and not allow silos/turf (areas of exclusive specialty) to develop, and attendees must not “zone out” when their non-specialty areas are discussed. Everyone should provide input into areas that may not be their comfort zone or expertise.

A great executive team member transcends the process by stimulating everyone to contribute, and move toward meaningful deliberation and onto action that is mutually understood and accepted.

For executive team meetings to realize their full potential, each agenda item should be coded with one of these four discussion point categories:

  • Command Item
  • Consensus Item
  • Consultative Item
  • Communication Item

These discussion points provide a specific understanding of what kind of action, research or involvement the topic demands. If the discussion item is a “Command item” it means that the person in charge is providing an update of what has occurred, what information they have accumulated, and what is expected to occur regarding that item.

If an item is marked “Consensus item”, a meeting member is presenting an agenda item for the executive team to come to an agreement on the action to be taken. They are looking for a “lets move forward’ stamp of approval by the executive team.

A “Consultative item” requires input and consultation from the team members as to how to proceed. This decision point may not get action immediately, but requires careful review.

“Communication items” are informative. These items communicate success stories, breaking concepts, news happenings and keeps team members on the same page and up to date. This decision point normally does not require further action.

By utilizing these four categories, the executive team can be better prepared as to what their role is regarding agenda topics and provides clarity of the anticipated time to be spent on each topic item. Consultative items usually requires more time than Communication items, therefore all discussion items should be prioritized with that in mind.

A great executive team knows what they are doing before they do it and are prepared to be involved to assist the organization.