Focus on exit speed in your meetings

A Formula 1 car in the middle of a corner and ready to get the power down. Photo by Tim Carey on Unsplash

A Formula 1 car in the middle of a corner and ready to get the power down. Photo by Tim Carey on Unsplash

In motor racing, exit speed is the speed that you leave a corner at. While I'm by no means an expert, it seems to be really important for racing performance. The higher the exit speed, the sooner the vehicle can reach top speed down the straight and that's an obvious advantage. The connection to meetings is similar.

By focusing on being able to leave the meeting and hit full speed on actions that make a difference, we can have better and more powerful meetings.

There are a whole range of ways that it's possible to compromise exit speed in racing and their parallels in meetings. Here are my top three:

  1. Carrying too much speed into the corner

The easiest way to stuff up a corner is to enter it too fast. It means that you are likely to have less control of the vehicle as you try to get it around the corner. In reference to meetings, this is common. We encounter a problem and a reflex response is to say "we need to have a meeting". In other words, we focus too heavily on getting into the meeting than what will come out of it.

  1. Taking the wrong line through the corner

There is an optimal line through any corner and deviating from this can reduce speed, control and grip. The connection here is any meeting that gets off topic. Very common and pretty costly in terms of achieving objectives and leaving the meeting with decisions made and actions that will be completed.

  1. Getting your braking wrong

Most corners require the driver to brake in order to slow down. In addition to braking too hard, it is possible to brake too early too late or not enough. Knowing when and where to slow down is important. Taking the time to prepare properly ahead of a meeting will often mean that everyone can leave the meeting with greater clarity and direction.

The big point to focus on here reflects Stephen Covey's maxim of "start with the end in mind". To get more out of our meetings, we can focus on setting up the way that we can do good work and get up to full speed on the other side. It means more work in setting up and facilitation of the meeting, but you and your stakeholders will be glad for the effort.

A couple of questions for you to consider:

  1. What are the big derailers of the meetings that you attend?

  2. How can you make meetings more focused on exit speed?