In today’s Vistage CEO group meeting, we had a good discussion about our fundamental “rules of engagement” in our group. After some deliberation, we boiled it down to four basic rules. After thinking about this after our meeting, I realized that these rules are appropriate for any group discussion – whether it’s a business meeting or a volunteer group meeting. For those of us who attend a lot of meetings, it’s easy to let our guard down and “leave the room” from an attention standpoint. I’ve been guilty of it myself. By checking out, we do everyone in the room a disservice, including ourselves.
The four rules of conduct we outlined in my CEO group meeting are as follow:
- Be present. Beyond just “showing up,” this means being alert and engaged in the conversation.
- Listen. This one is pretty obvious. Spend more time listening with sincere interest and avoid the temptation to quickly share your opinion or knowledge. Making eye contact and taking notes demonstrates that you are actively listening to the conversation.
- Contribute. If you have something meaningful to add, make the effort. If you have a question, ask it. Often times there are others in the room that might be wondering the same thing but are perhaps afraid to ask a “stupid question.” Likewise, don’t feel compelled to “contribute” if you don’t have anything to add to others’ contributions (see rule #2…).
- Be accountable. If you commit to do something during the meeting, get it done and report results back to the group. Likewise, hold others accountable for their commitments.
Sure, this is pretty basic stuff. However, in the case of our group, it was a valuable and timely refresher to reflect back on some of our fundamental expectations of each other – expectations that could apply to many of us that work with project teams, small groups and volunteer committees.