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Review: Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni

Title: Death By Meeting
Author: Patrick Lencioni
Year Published: 2004

Genre: Adult non-fiction/fiction
Pages: 260
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2016 Google Reading map)USA

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the author's website): In his latest page-turning work of business fiction, Lencioni provides readers with another powerful and thought-provoking, this one centered around a cure for the most painful yet underestimated problem of modern business: bad meetings. And what he suggests is both simple and revolutionary.

Casey McDaniel, the founder and CEO of Yip Software, is in the midst of a problem he created, but one he doesn't know how to solve. And he doesn't know where or who to turn to for advice. His staff can't help him; they're as dumbfounded as he is by their tortuous meetings.

Then an unlikely advisor, Will Peterson, enters Casey's world. When he proposes an unconventional, even radical, approach to solving the meeting problem, Casey is just desperate enough to listen. Lencioni provides a framework for his groundbreaking model, and makes it applicable to the real world.

Review: I read this book because we have a new Superintendent in our school district and he is having all his staff at the district office read this book. He was shocked to hear they had weekly all-day meetings every Monday with the "top" staff. He is now implementing the "death by meeting" so they have different types of meetings that serve different functions.

  • A weekly "huddle" that is done standing up and lasts less than 30 minutes. At this meeting each person tells the group what they are working on that week. It's a way to keep everyone informed of what's going on
  • A weekly meeting that lasts up to 1.5 hours. The agenda is created by each person saying their top issues that they are dealing with and the group voting on the issues to pick 2 or 3 to focus on.
  • A monthly meeting of a few hours where they tackle the big issues facing the district
  • A quarterly one-day retreat to evaluate where they are with issues and projects. 
The upper level staff seems pleased with the change; I think they feel included in the process and like they actually accomplish something in their meetings rather than just meeting to meet.

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