Meetings are a double-edged sword. They are a powerful tool to bring team members together to think, plan, and ultimately execute on organizational strategy. Yes, meetings are supposed to do that.
But sometimes meetings hit a wall. It could be that the team is losing momentum, it could be they are not able to see the larger vision, or it could be that some members are simply not up to the task at hand.
Whatever the reason, meetings require two important elements to be successful...
Leadership and momentum.
One of the hallmarks of effective leadership is presence. It's much more than a job title or physical presence in the room. In the meeting context, it is taking charge and driving things forward. Sometimes that requires pushing ideas out to the group that are new.
These 'unexamined thoughts' are not brainstorming; rather, they are an example of the leader keeping the reality of where the team needs to be front and center. The best leaders use this approach in a way that reconnects the group to a global vision aligned with where the organization is headed, not just to the task-at-hand-focus of the people in the room.
That is leadership presence.
The true power of unexamined thoughts comes in the output of the work. Driving change through a stalled meeting is one thing, developing great work product as a result is entirely different.
Without leadership intervention to maintain the momentum of the group...sometimes moving past where the group is able to go as a team...is necessary to achieve the ultimate goal of great work.
Just so we're clear, the best leaders know that the only thing that ultimately matters is great work product.
How About You
Do you use unexamined thoughts when the teams you're leading start to fade? Or, do you pack it up for the day and ask everyone to "come back with good ideas next time?" I think it's time to step up...push through...and lead the way.
I'd love to hear from you.