21st century meetings

21st century meetingsIt’s common wisdom that the complexity in which organisations currently operate requires a different type of organisation. New, however, is that we also need different meetings fitting these new organisations. I call them 21st century meetings.


Organising for complexity means a radical shift away from the organisation as we know and learned. The one built upon hierarchy (command and control), planning and standardised production is feeling its limits. Big time.


We’re in a transition – a transition to a new era, in which we need to find (and, in some places, are finding) answers for the increasing complexity surrounding us. The transition requires highly motivated and self-managing teams. It requires inclusion, cooperation and participation. 21st century meetings are a means to achieve these.


4 levels of 21st century meetings

1. The team

You want the team to deliver. There are 2 things the members of the team need to sort out between themselves: operational stuff and tactical affairs. Hence 2 types of meetings are needed:

  • Operational meetings – Doing the stuff that adds value
  • Tactical meetings – Getting rid of the barriers that get in the way during day-to-day operations


2. The organisation

You want your teams to know why they need to do what they need to do. Your teams need a purpose, a reason why they exits. That’s the sense-making part. And they also need

  • Strategy & values meetings – To set the purpose of the organisation and to have a platform on which values are being uphold and how this is done.
  • Governance meetings – Creating a platform where the distribution of power and authority takes place, on a continuous basis.


3. Strengthening alignment and mastery

Alignment and mastery become increasingly important when moving away from hierarchy and the classical line of command & control. These are meetings in which people strengthen their networks.

  • Alignment and communication meetings – focused on the transfer of information in order to align teams.
  • Meetings that improve mastery – These are about knowledge transfer and improving the professionals within the organisation.


4. Connecting with the outside world

Your organisation lives for the outside world. Your teams are creating value to make the outside world happy. And in a 21st century organisation they are in close contact with the outside world. But from time to time you want to connect on a different level, to investigate trends and new forms of cooperation. Or to develop new value propositions. These type of meetings may take many different forms.

Here you will find a couple of links to blog posts related to this topic