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Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable...About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business Hardcover – March 4, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,309 ratings

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From the Publisher

death by meeting book, patrick lencioni, business meetings, meeting leadership

WHAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM WITH MEETINGS?

Meetings are boring because they lack drama. Or conflict. This is a shame because most meetings have plenty of potential for drama, which is essential for keeping human beings engaged. Unfortunately, rather than mining for that golden conflict, most leaders of meetings seem to be focused on avoiding tension and ending their meetings on time. And while these may seem noble pursuits, they lie at the heart of bad meetings.

To make meetings less boring, leaders must look for legitimate reasons to provoke and uncover relevant, constructive ideological conflict. By doing so, they'll keep people engaged, which leads to more passionate discussions, and ultimately, to better decisions.

Meetings are ineffective because they lack contextual structure. Too many organizations have only one kind of regular meeting, often called a staff meeting. Either once a week or twice a month, people get together for two to three hours of randomly focused discussion about everything from strategy to tactics, from administrivia to culture. Because there is no clarity around what topics are appropriate, there is no clear context for the various discussions that take place. In the end, little is decided because the participants have a hard time figuring out whether they're supposed to be debating, voting, brainstorming, weighing in, or just listening.

To make our meetings more effective, we need to have multiple types of meetings, and clearly distinguish between the various purposes, formats, and timing of those meetings.

death by meeting book, patrick lencioni, business meetings, meeting leadership

THE FOUR MEETINGS

THE DAILY CHECK-IN is a schedule-oriented, administrative meeting that should last no more than five or 10 minutes. The purpose is simply to keep team members aligned and to provide a daily forum for activity updates and scheduling.

THE TACTICAL STAFF is what most people have come to know as staff meetings. These should be approximately an hour in length, give or take 20 minutes, and should focus on the discussion and resolution of issues which effect near term objectives.

THE AD-HOC TOPICAL is the most interesting kind of meeting for leaders, and the most important indicator of a company's strategic aptitude. It is the appropriate place for big topics, those that will have a long-term impact on the business. Each strategic meeting should include no more than one or two topics, and should allow roughly two hours for each topic.

THE QUARTERLY OFF-SITE REVIEW is an opportunity for team members to step away from business, literally and figuratively, to reassess a variety of issues: the interpersonal performance of the team, the company's strategy, the performance of top-tier and bottom-tier employees, morale, competitive threats, and industry trends. These can last anywhere from the better part of a day to two full days each quarter.

Editorial Reviews

Review

“…a work of fiction with important messages for management” (Leadership & Organisational Development Journal)

“The author is something of a master of the modern fable….” (Professional Manager, Vol.13, No.6, November 2004)

“…pitches his theory neatly at busy readers by opening with an executive summary.” (Supply Management, 8 July 2004)

"Highly recommended: you could even take it to your next meeting." (On Target, September 2007)

Review

"Finally, a real solution to an age old problem. Meetings may never be the same."
—Kris Hagerman, Executive Vice President, Strategic Operations, VERITAS Software Corporation

"Death By Meeting is about much more than meetings; it's about an entire management philosophy. I read a lot of books on management, and Lencioni's are among the very best. They form the basis for our approach at Silicon Valley Bank."
—Ken Wilcox, CEO, Silicon Valley Bank

"Lencioni has done it again! Insightful. Practical. Ready-to-implement solutions. If you lead people, you can’t afford to miss this book. It’s an absolute must-read."
—Jim Mellado, President, Willow Creek Association

"We've put Pat's theories into practice and they work. Our meetings are more productive, our communication is clearer, and the team’s commitment to decisions is much greater."
—Curt Nonomaque, President and CEO, VHA Inc.

"Meetings are such a critical element of effective organizational communication. Lencioni has provided a concise, entertaining, and inventive guide to improving meeting structure, participation, and results. Thumbs up for this insightful tale."
—Sandy Alderson, Executive Vice President of Operations, Major League Baseball

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Jossey-Bass; 1st edition (March 4, 2004)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 260 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0787968056
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0787968052
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 15.1 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 1,309 ratings

About the author

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Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to helping leaders improve their organizations’ health since 1997. His principles have been embraced by leaders around the world and adopted by organizations of virtually every kind including multinational corporations, entrepreneurial ventures, professional sports teams, the military, nonprofits, schools, and churches.

Lencioni is the author of ten business books with over three million copies sold worldwide. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, and USA Today.

Prior to founding The Table Group, Lencioni served on the executive team at Sybase, Inc. He started his career at Bain & Company and later worked at Oracle Corporation.

Lencioni lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and their four sons.

To learn more about Patrick and The Table Group, please visit www.tablegroup.com.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
1,309 global ratings

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Christian
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique twist on the age old problem
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 10, 2009
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 25, 2019
Nick B
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 15, 2014
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Warren
5.0 out of 5 stars Great help to me getting teams together and meetings and outcomes meaningful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 10, 2019
Curious
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2013
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