A good friend of mine had a high-profile career at the very top level of AFL football administration. We were talking recently about what it means to be an elite player in a football team. Whilst any player who has made it into a top-level footy team is going to be a good player, he reckons most teams only have 2-3 elite level players, and the great teams might have 5-6. The elite players are superstars on the field and operate at the elite level in everything they do off the field. They have an elite mindset that flavours everything they put their mind to, which leads to outstanding results.
This got me thinking about what this would look like in the workplace. What would elite look like in the context of the activities that we do in our corporate jobs? Specifically, I got to thinking about what elite looks like within the context of how we approach meetings. I reckon that most of us approach meetings as good players, not elite players (and I very much include myself in that). This can be dangerous for team productivity, because meetings are a group activity with the potential to waste group time.
What if we decided to approach our meetings with an elite mindset? What would this look like?
I think that elite starts with being absolutely ruthless about which meetings we attend, and the purpose of each meeting. Being clear about the purpose of the meeting, and the purpose of you attending that meeting ensures that you spend your time on the right work in the right meetings. Being elite means we have the courage to question the need for some meetings, or the need for us to attend the meeting. None of us have time to waste in meetings that are not necessary, or relevant to our role or skillset.
Once you have decided that attending a meeting is a great use of your time, then elite is about getting clear about exactly what you need to get out of the meeting or put into the meeting to make it a productive use of time. This requires making time to plan the meeting beforehand, even if you are not the meeting organiser. This is time consuming, but elite takes time.
How can we make sure we are elite in the actual meeting itself? For me this is about actively engaging. Don’t be passive. Turn up on time. Turn your camera on. Ask questions. Contribute. Keep the meeting on track. Facilitate. Be aware of the needs of others in the room and help the group to achieve the outcomes the meeting is designed to achieve.
After the meeting, elite players follow through on what they promised, and ensure that the right next-step actions are in place to execute on the outcomes of the meeting.
My friend Cam told me that elite footy players were more than the goal scorers and playmakers. They inspired everyone around them to step up and do better. Wouldn’t it be great if the elite mindsets that we bring to meetings inspire those around us to be better in this meeting, and in the rest of their meetings?