How Can Meetings Build Trust and Develop Talent and Leadership?

As I continue my work with executive leaders I am noticing that many of the new directives being brought into organizations have to do with fostering talent development and leadership to create greater ownership, connection and accountability from the top down. Through my experience it is evident that when communication and the development of trust become priorities, the focus on solutions and growth increases. And, the ability to use challenges for new learning and growth increases exponentially as well.

In my last couple of articles I’ve provided a deeper look into our Four Meeting Model:

The Introductory Meeting sets the stage for the new meeting process, and is used with both leadership teams and leadership peers to create a laboratory for growth, connection, and solution-focus. The outcome is a more strategic leadership team that leads to more unity in the organization and greater cross functional communication.

The First Meeting provides a method for switching from a content-focused meeting to one more focused on the context and process of the interaction among team members, using exercises in communication and building trust.

The Second Meeting focuses on the concept of spending more time creating accountability partnerships with peers so that progress toward connection and greater ownership begins.

Today we continue with the Third and Fourth Meetings:

The Third Meeting:

– Take a few minutes for each team partnership to review their projects separate from the group and to set some accountability agreements for the coming week. This is an opportunity for the leader of the team to model reporting to the entire group on his/her goals and progress over the last weeks, and to request specific support.

– Then give an opportunity for each person to give a brief, 2-3 minute, account of progress in fulfilling the opportunity to make agreements, have the supporting conversations, and to create the results.

– Have Team Partners discuss privately with each other, any implementation details, and take time to set up check-in calls during the week, for 15 minutes.

The Fourth Meeting and Renewal Meetings moving forward:

– Team members report what has gone well and where the challenges are, remaining solution- focused vs. blame-focused.

– From the challenges presented, one can be selected for moving forward into a solution. Often this will involve some inquiry from others to create clarity in the situation, not to look for causative factors.

– As the team moves forward, time should be given to the solution in the next staff meeting so that people have time to think about their offered suggestions. This creates the base for collaboration that is empowering, and accountability that taps into the strengths of each person on the team.

– Devote a part of each meeting moving forward to presenting wins and challenges, and then select one team member at each meeting to receive the input of other team members on their particular challenge.

– It has been found that the usual meeting model of each business leader giving a report of business does not engage everyone in the room; rather it becomes a report to the leader and to those who stay engaged. When engaging the team in shared leadership, it is important to look at what works (the wins) and what is not working (challenges), and most importantly, what engages everyone in the solution. The usual report can be handed out for reading once the important aspects have been said in the meeting.


During your next meeting take time to observe communication and to see how much problem solving takes place within the meeting. This meeting model can be instituted as part of your regular meeting schedule, and begins the process of having meetings that truly forward the work of your organization. It also provides an opportunity for each person to develop leadership and communication skills that can move throughout the organization to create a culture of collaboration and trust.

The full Four Meeting Model can be downloaded here.

Do you have a leadership question, challenge, or success you would like to share? Please be sure to leave a comment. I would enjoy hearing from you! – Patricia