Meetings that Can Change…Everything (Part 1)

Published August 5th, 2011 in Blog, Leadership, Motivation

Most of us can probably relate to meeting “overload.” One study suggests that managers spend 30% – 40% of their time in meetings! Even more staggering is the fact that much of that meeting time is considered a total waste of time.

Still, there are meetings that will make a difference. I believe there are three meetings that can change everything – focus, momentum, expectations, and results. In a series of three articles, you will have the opportunity to consider the difference these meetings can make for you and your teams. We’ll start with the “Victory Meeting.”

Victory Meetings have been going on in my house for almost twenty years. My son grew up on these Friday evening rallies – for him they are the norm. Fridays just wouldn’t be Fridays in our family without a Victory Meeting.  Of course that hasn’t always been true. I can still remember our first few (mildly embarrassing) attempts.

At my insistence, we had gathered at the refrigerator to declare our successes for the week. To say my son wasn’t fully onboard would be an understatement. “This is so dumb,” he said.

I replied, “Dumb or not, every Friday we will meet here with a list of our achievements and victories for the week. We will celebrate them properly by posting them on the refrigerator. We will then whistle and cheer and clap. The dogs will bark and the neighbors will wish they lived in this happy, happy house filled to the brim with victory. Any questions?”

I can still see his eyes rolling, but he humored me.  So our tradition began. Every Friday evening you would find us at the refrigerator, faithfully reciting our achievements and cheering for each one.

It was a wonderful moment when I realized the Victory Meetings were no longer a “motivational Mom’s requirement.” They had become something more. We looked forward to them; no matter how tough the week or hard the road, we honored our victories by sharing and celebrating them.

Something else happened too. Something profound. The victories became the focus of our conversations and expectations. When we looked at each other we saw winners. We noticed what was right and good and strong about each other.  (That’s powerful, because whatever we look for in each other we certainly will find.)

As the years passed and our schedules became more complicated, we had to get a little creative. A telephone was installed next to the refrigerator in case someone had to take the meeting by phone.  More than once I found myself cheering from an airport or a hotel. Somehow the victory meetings were even more important from the road; this was a standing appointment that connected us to our goals and aspirations and to each other.

Now my son is all grown up (with a refrigerator of his own) and he still he phones on Friday evenings with a list of victories. Apparently, until he has a “team” of his own, he plans on keeping this appointment. That’s just fine with me!

I’ve presented this tool to thousands of people over the years; it’s always a favorite. It’s also free. It’s simple and costs nothing to implement. These meetings are a success strategy for work teams and family teams. I highly recommend them.

And the testimonies keep coming. I hear about work teams that are more engaged and cohesive. I hear success stories about family teams too. (Many of them started just like we did with much rolling of the eyes.)

Just last week I received an email from someone who attended a workshop many years ago. She took the victory meeting to heart; then she took it home. Faithfully her family has gathered every week for the Victory Meeting. It’s a tradition that encourages the heart, builds the team, and refreshes the spirit.

Next time we’ll talk about Extreme Focus Meetings. Until then, here’s to the victories you will bring to the refrigerators of your life!