You don’t deserve to lead…

Posted on June 15, 2009


business team

At a conference I attended recently, Nancy Ortberg (author, speaker, and consultant) challenged the audience with a very specific aspect of leadership. She shared how a few years ago, she had a young intern ask to speak to her in private about an issue. This young guy shared that it was a general consensus that Nancy’s meetings sucked. He continued to share that this wasn’t always the case. Her meetings used to be lively, creative, and well directed. But over time, they have become boring, predictable, and lifeless. Her first reactions was to become defensive, “this kid still has amniotic fluid behind his ears and he’s telling me how to run a meeting?!?!” After she calmed down, she realized that what this young intern was saying was the truth. This led Mrs. Ortberg to realize this:

“If you can’t lead a great meeting, you don’t deserve to be a leader”

She came to the conclusion that there is nothing more important than running a meeting well. Meetings are the primary platform for influence, change, and vision. If you can’t be effective behind closed doors with your trusted team, you can’t be effective anywhere else. Honestly, if you are incapable of designing a great meeting then you shouldn’t be a leader in your business or church.

Personally, I have found this to be 100% true. Most of us have an aversion to meetings because they usually are uninspired and unfocused. Her advice was to just commit 30 minutes to an hour planning and preparing for any meeting. I have found that a little pre-planning goes a long way. Every meeting should have an opening, an interactive activity, some sharing, a main point, and something inspirational. I make it a goal to put as much effort in a meeting of 10 as I do for a meeting of 100. It has changed my leadership profoundly.

The chance to speak to a captive audience is a privilege and awesome opportunity not to be squandered. It’s not only your chance to bring focus to the organization but to build credibility with you team. If your team is inspired then so will your business or church. So next time, have the meeting before the meeting and plan not just what you are going to say but how you are going to say it.