My all time favourite TV series is M*A*S*H, a comedy/drama centred around the doctors and nurses of the 4077th M*A*S*H unit during the Korean War. The series was so popular that it outlasted the duration of the 3 year war, spanning 11 seasons and 251 episodes.

The strong characterisation and story lines presented thought provoking themes that provide an ideal platform for lessons on life and leadership. Whether you are a fan of the show or not, I'm sure you will connect with my leadership insights from M*A*S*H.

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES features bite-sized, candid insights that speak into the gritty space of leadership through the eyes of a fellow leader seeking to "lead with all diligence" (Romans 12:8).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Death By Meeting

Episode 33:  Dear Dad…Three

Hawkeye:   [Writing to his dad]  At the London Zoo, every day at four, they have the chimps ‘tea party.’  The MASH equivalent is our monthly staff meeting.  The Pentagon says it’s necessary, but the kind of meetings we have could prolong the war by years.

Hawkeye writes another letter home to his dad, updating him on all the latest activities and antics of the 4077.  A monthly staff meeting turns into a shambles when Hawkeye and Trapper mock the military correctness of Major Burns and Houlihan and move a motion for the war to be ended.

Meetings are one of those necessary evils of leadership.  Love them or hate them, you can’t seem to avoid them.  However, instead of trying to avoid or endure them, we need to learn how to have better meetings, with a clear purpose that stimulate effective outcomes, not stagnate into endless talk fests. Leadership consultant Patrick Lencioni, commenting on his book ‘Death by Meeting,’ says, “Bad meetings are not inevitable. There is nothing inherently boring or unproductive about meetings. They are the activity at the center of every organization, and should therefore be both interesting and relevant in the lives of participants. If we can just turn everything we know about meetings upside down - replace agendas and decorum with passion and conflict - we can transform drudgery into meaningful competitive advantage.”  These sorts of meetings instil passion and purpose into a team and will increase the productivity of any organization.

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