It’s 9:30am on a Monday morning, and you’re on your way to the conference room where your team is kicking off a brand new project. You’re still a good hour away from feeling fully awake, but before you know it the meeting is finished, next steps were decided – and you’re not sure what was really accomplished.
To better prepare (especially if it’s a Monday morning), try thinking through some “bigger picture” questions beforehand to ask during the meeting. This can help you not only to prioritize your work, but also ask the right questions of the team involved to ensure all efforts are focused in the right place. Here are 6 questions to consider before kicking off any new project or initiative:
1. “How does this support our company mission?”
It’s easy to come up with a bunch of exciting, creative ideas, but it’s always important to stop and think about whether the suggestions are in line with your company’s core mission. Sure, they may be fun and interesting. They could also prove to be expensive and difficult to measure. Let ideas go if they’re not tightly related to your core mission.
2. “How does this prepare us for the future?”
It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse in your industry. Don’t spend your time putting systems or procedures in place if they’re going to be outdated a few months down the line. Keep an eye on where your sector is heading and which new technologies are becoming mainstream, so you’re pursuing processes and projects that are fit for tomorrow as well as today.
3. “How will this affect the customer or end user?”
Evaluating how a new idea is going to affect your customers is vital. Changing up products or services to meet business goals can be futile if it’s going to isolate, confuse or limit your current or potential customer base. The end user should always be considered at meetings, and guide positive business actions – like market research and concept testing – beyond meetings too.
4. “Is this idea scalable?”
It’s the goal of pretty much every company to grow your business, which means the scalability question has an important role at meetings. Whatever awesome ideas your team thinks up need to be able to function just as efficiently in three years time when your client or customer base has expanded and everything is happening on a larger scale.
5. “How could this go wrong?”
It may seem like a negative question, but it’s actually one of the most positive things you can ask at a meeting! By thinking about how something could go wrong, you and your team can work together to refine the details and create action plans for potential pitfalls before they happen. Once these contingencies are in place, you can implement your new ideas with more confidence than if you’d never questioned the possible outcomes.
6. “Can we run this idea by another team?”
There’s nothing wrong with asking for a sanity check. Both individuals and teams can get carried away with their ideas. As a result, you can end up with propositions that are costly, impractical or irrelevant. Asking another team to have a quick look at your best ideas from a meeting will provide a fresh point of view, and sometimes a much-needed reality check. And you don’t need to set a whole new meeting either – with GoToMeeting you can record the audio and screen shared content of your meetings, Then simply send the link over to other teams or stakeholders for feedback.
Asking these simple but important questions will make your meetings more productive, and keep everyone’s eyes on the prize.