The Meeting-After-The-Meeting

The meeting-after-the-meeting is a reality of leadership. In case you don’t recognize it from my phrasing, I’ll describe it to you.

You go to a meeting. By definition, it has more than one person. It is pre-arranged. It usually has an agenda; if not, there is at least some shared thought about a topic that needs discussing. Also, most meetings come with a general idea of duration.

The meeting-after-the-meeting is different. It starts only when the meeting ends. It doesn’t have a formal agenda but often there is an unprinted version that is just as powerful as any printed one. One or more of the participants in the meeting-after-the-meeting will have this type of agenda. In addition, there will likely be fewer participants than in the formal meeting; maybe just two people will participate. There will be no formal location. It will frequently occur on the move, to the car, to the break room, back to the office or work area, or on the way home. These days, an exchange of emails or text messages can constitute the meeting-after-the-meeting.

Why is this an important part of leadership?

The main importance is that the meeting-after-the-meeting is where the actual reality of execution and implementation becomes clear, or clearer. This can be the crucial juncture between delegation (stated in the meeting) and the real results that will be achieved along the way (which may look very different from the statement in the meeting). The meeting-after-the-meeting is the potential source of small bursts of positive or negative activity. These bursts of activity occur in proportion to the number of meeting participants—the more participants, the more bursts. Your control as leader will reflect which number is higher, the positive bursts or the negative bursts.

Subtle, hidden, and dangerously undiscussed, the meeting-after-the-meeting will test your effectiveness as leader…and as follower.