Many people don’t focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment.

Kenneth Chenault

In our series thus far, we’ve prepared for and facilitated a great meeting. Now the meeting is over, and it’s time for the real work to begin. You see what really determines if your meeting was truly great is whether you and the other participants follow up and follow through. We’ve probably all been to meetings which went quite well only to discover that all the great talk never translated into great action. So let’s explore some ways to ensure that our meetings don’t suffer the same fate.

After the Meeting image

  1. Evaluate Extent to Which Meeting Fulfilled Purpose

Once the meeting has concluded, the convener should take time out to assess the extent to which the stipulated purpose has been achieved. The following grid presents a useful qualitative rating.

Meeting Evaluation Grid

  1. Prepare Meeting Summary and Action List

Utilizing your notes from the meeting, prepare a summary of decisions taken as well as the list of action items and disseminate to all meeting attendees within forty-eight (48) hours of the meeting. Receipt of the summary will serve as a reminder for task owners to initiate action on their deliverables.

That list should include the following information:

  • Actions to be taken/tasks to be completed
  • Task owner
  • Supporting parties/resources
  • Due date
  • Quality standards
  • Reporting requirements
  1. Hold Yourself and Others Accountable

Accountability is the ability to make commitments to action, then keep those commitments, or acknowledge that you haven’t and figure out what you need to do to move to action. Your responsibility doesn’t end once you’ve sent out the meeting summary and action items. Without micromanaging the process, you should follow up to ensure that task owners are making the necessary progress.

It is important to take into consideration the fact that, based on their past experiences, people may perceive the accountability conversation as a negative experience, accusatory, punishment or an implicit indication of a lack of confidence in their ability. One tool that could assist you in holding persons accountability without raising their ire is the Accountability Pathway developed by Jolie Bain Pillsbury.

The Annie E Casey Foundation has also prepared a useful video on the Accountability Pathway which you could utilize to help ensure that all members of your team are on the same page when it comes to having accountability conversations.

To what extent do you currently utilize any of these three meeting follow-up measures? If you do not currently utilize them, which ? if any ? do you think would add value to your current meeting practices?


Next week, we conclude this series with an examination of a menu of other issues related to meetings. The conversation will include a look at a number of alternative approaches to meetings born out of a desire to shorten the length and/or increase the efficacy all in the quest to make meetings less painful.


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