Meetings are essential to effective decision making and execution in companies.
As Bain & Company management consultants Michael Mankins and Jenny Davis-Peccoud point out in a Bain Brief article
, the companies that are best at making decisions “have learned to manage their meetings as carefully as they manage any other part of their business.”
To help ensure that meetings have a clear purpose and achieve their objectives, Mankins and Davis-Peccoud recommend using a framework called “IDD,” for Inform, Discuss, and Decide.
According to their research, staff at the University of California, Berkeley are expected to begin each meeting with the following statement: “The purpose of this meeting is to inform you about X, to discuss Y and to decide on Z.”
Organizing meetings this way has the following two benefits:
- It forces you to come up with a specific, well-defined decision that needs to be reached during the meeting.
- Whenever possible, it encourages you to assign any “inform” materials as pre-reading so that you can make the most of the time you are together.
You can also use each of the three functions of the IDD framework to determine the focus of an entire meeting.
Switching around the order, here’s an example of how the framework might be used by a team to launch a new initiative within a broader organization:
- An initial brainstorming session to discuss ideas for the new initiative.
- A follow-up meeting to decide which of those ideas is the best option and agree on the plan for implementing it.
- Finally, a meeting to inform others in the organization about the new initiative’s launch and what to expect.