Oper­a­tional Excellence

These 2 tools make every meet­ing more productive

November 29, 2019

If you were asked to name one thing all organ­i­sa­tions have in com­mon, you may well answer ‘meet­ings’. You could even argue that we have way too many of them. How­ev­er our focus today is on mak­ing the most of the time we spend in meetings.

There are two tools which, when used effec­tive­ly, can make a big dif­fer­ence to the effi­cien­cy, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and impact of meet­ings. What are they? Action logs and dashboards.

Here we’ll take a look at each of them and how they can help you make the most of your meetings.

Action logs

One com­mon issue we face when col­lab­o­rat­ing with new clients is a lack of clar­i­ty on who is going to take respon­si­bil­i­ty, for what. For­tu­nate­ly this is eas­i­ly fixed, and you can put the solu­tion into prac­tice right away. All it takes is to nom­i­nate one respon­si­ble per­son to write down the deci­sions and actions agreed at each meet­ing. Replac­ing meet­ing min­utes with an action log can be a real boost to your productivity.

Here are three key things to record in your action logs:

  • WHAT: Describe each agreed action in a spe­cif­ic, mea­sur­able and achiev­able manner
  • WHO: Spec­i­fy the names of the peo­ple who will be account­able for each action – keep­ing the num­ber of peo­ple involved to a min­i­mum will increase ownership
  • WHEN: Make the actions real­is­tic and time-bound and be clear that after the dead­line, actions will become overdue.

At the end of each meet­ing, a quick recap will make sure every­one is clear on the key deliv­er­ables expect­ed before the next gathering.

What gets mea­sured gets done, so review progress towards each agreed action at the begin­ning of the next meet­ing. Know­ing that your achieve­ments will be reviewed at the next meet­ing is a great motivator.

David Allen, in his best-selling book “Get­ting Things Done” writes, “When a cul­ture adopts ‘What’s the next action?’ as a stan­dard oper­at­ing query, there’s an auto­mat­ic increase in ener­gy, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, clar­i­ty, and focus.”

The impor­tance of this rel­a­tive­ly quick fix is some­thing our clients stress again and again.


We believe vis­i­bil­i­ty dri­ves per­for­mance, so dash­boards that make it easy to visu­alise key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors (KPIs) are an inte­gral part of our projects.

At the min­i­mum, a dash­board should pro­vide these three benefits:

1. Enable bet­ter, smarter, faster deci­sions and action plans

By dis­play­ing KPIs in an easy-to-understand for­mat, a dash­board will make it eas­i­er to focus meet­ings on the next steps required to reach your goals.

2. Align goals for all departments

A dash­board pro­vides all your depart­ments with one cen­tral source of infor­ma­tion. Review­ing the same set of num­bers will help your organ­i­sa­tion work togeth­er towards com­mon goals.

3. Track progress and trends

By mea­sur­ing the same met­rics over time, a dash­board will enable you to mon­i­tor per­for­mance as well as the effec­tive­ness of par­tic­u­lar actions tak­en and their impact on bot­tom line results.

Using action logs and dash­boards will not only super­charge your meet­ings but have real poten­tial to boost your over­all busi­ness performance.

Putting tools like this in place is just one of the ways we help to change the cul­ture in our clients’ busi­ness­es, so new prac­tices and ways of think­ing pre­vail long after we leave.

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