By Patrick Lencioni
Jossey-Bass, 2004, 260 pp., $22.95 (hardcover)
Lencioni is a veteran pathologistof organizational necrosis. His previous book, the best-selling The Five Disfunctions of a Team, explored the batty aunts in the business team culture attic. This time he takes on that perennial fish-ina-barrel, the business meeting. The book, like his previous one, is organized into two parts. The first part ("The Fable") tells the story of a company slowly dying a death by meeting. Then, part two ("The Model") comes to the rescue to narrate what they did to change things for the better.
Obviously, the practical stuff is in part two, where Lencioni outlines four types of meetings he advocates through his alter ego character (one of Lencioni's counterintuitive suggestions in the book is to have MORE meetings, only better ones).
They four meeting types: the Daily Check-In (five minutes tops, to coordinate a day's activities); the Weekly Tactical (about an hour to discuss short-term strategy); the Monthly Strategic (two hours, focusing on longer-term projects); and the Mini-Series (an annual six-hour-plus plunge into big-picture strategizing). The advantage of biz-lit books like this is that they provide storytime sugar to sweeten their Powerpoint pontificating. Death by Meeting is no exception to this trend.