Follow Up and Follow Through
Most meetings end with the need for further attention to key agenda items. Even when you've assigned these responsibilities during the meeting, you need to follow up to make sure employees have the resources and information they need. Do you need to pave the way for interaction with another department? Do employees need your help to access information or data? Your follow-through is essential.
Follow-through after a meeting tends to be more effective when a summary of its intentions appears in writing. In other words, send a memo! If the meeting involved a large number of people or an entire department, post a printed copy of the follow-through memo where people will see it — above the copy machine, in the break room, by the doorway. Enterprising managers even post important information in the restrooms. The memo should clearly but briefly state the following:
The agreed-upon or determined solution
The tasks involved in implementing the solution
Who is responsible for each task
The timeline for completing the tasks
The method for measuring the solution's success
Often there is no reason for a follow-up meeting unless the solution failed to perform as expected. Even so, people like to know what happened as a result of their discussion and input. Make sure to communicate the outcomes of implemented changes and solutions, either as cursory agenda items on subsequent meetings or through memos or e-mails. Solicit employee feedback no matter what your formal assessment method; sometimes an apparent success resurfaces as another issue. Most importantly, thank people for their suggestions and participation.