Question: I am a member of the management team at my company. I am the veteran of the group, having worked here 11 years. In the last year, three veterans have left the team and three newcomers have joined. Two of the three new faces are from outside the company, and these two occupy the key roles of president and chief financial officer. We’ve discussed the need to change things, improve processes, do better by our customers, etc. I guess you wouldn’t be too surprised to hear that we’ve been having some very tense conversations and meetings. We seem to be talking past each other and trying to defend our positions. I leave the meetings frustrated because we talk issues to death and don’t get to the point that action can be taken. I want to start doing some of the things we spend hours talking about. What can you advise us to do to get moving?
Answer: This is an all too common occurrence in my experience in management consulting. It’s not just functional work teams that struggle with communication issues, management teams do, too. Given the vantage point they occupy, when a management team is less than effective in its communication and meetings management practices, the repercussions move well beyond the conference room. They are felt organization-wide.
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