Next steps are more important than meeting minutes

Do you ever go back and read the minutes from meetings?  I’ll be honest, I don’t.

It was refreshing to attend a meeting this week where the focus was not to record the specifics of every discussion, but rather to focus on capturing the next steps and action points.

Minutes might be useful for those who couldn’t attend a meeting, but I think putting energy into making sure next steps are captured is a much more valuable investment of resources.

I might reference the minutes from a meeting, and if I do, I’m usually looking from an ego-centric perspective a few days before the next meeting, frantically searching for what tasks were assigned to me.

A key part of every meeting needs to be answering the question, “how will we do what we just said we will do?”  After a meeting, does each person walk away with a clear list of what they will do by when and know that someone will be knocking at the door if they don’t?

Agree?  Disagree?

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3 thoughts on “Next steps are more important than meeting minutes

  1. I definitely agree with you on this, Russ. I do wonder if there are folks out there that find minutes more useful than I do – maybe it is a personality issue. In any case, I would say that “Next Steps” get a much higher appraisal value than the minutes even if some find them useful. So much time is spent in discussion and decisions in meetings. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in meetings and thought, “This is groundhog day. We are covering the same information and making the same decision over and over again!” I think it is because there was not a mechanism for communicating and tracking next steps. The result was ineffectiveness, waste, and discouragement. Not a wise investment of time if intentionality is not taken to make sure there is follow through. That is what next steps are all about!

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  2. Cheryl, I think you’ve identified a good principle.

    => Taking the time to be clear about next steps, clarifies the decisions we are making, increasing effectiveness because we don’t make the same decision twice!

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