The meeting no leader wants to have

January 20th, 2015

A very successful business mentor of mine once gave me a vital tip about a necessary meeting all leaders should consider. Unfortunately, I've had to use his advice several times.

You don’t ever want to have this meeting. You certainly don’t want to have it very often.

But having this meeting could help you avoid having other meetings that are even harder than this one. And it could turn out to be a blessing for everyone.

It’s called “The Meeting Before the Last Meeting.”

It’s a meeting you have when —

Someone who is not performing well on the team.

You’ve warned them numerous times.

They have exhausted their chances with you.

You’re at the point where you believe it would be better for them to leave the organization.

Before you release them (which is one of the hardest things a leader has to do) …

Have one more meeting.

The meeting before the last meeting.

It’s a meeting where you give grace, a final chance and clear guidance as far as what needs to improve and by what date you expect to see results.

But you make it clear that this is the meeting before the last meeting.

The meeting after this meeting will not be fun for anyone.

It will be the last meeting.

According to my friend, the meeting before the last meeting usually produces one of two results rather quickly.

A tremendous turnaround. And, you’ve secured a valuable team member.

Or a confirmation that the last meeting is the right decision. Then it’s time to move.

It should be noted that this will not work every time. There are times it is very clear what needs to be done. The person isn’t a good fit, they have lost all energy for the mission or they have gone so far they can’t recover in their current position.

The “meeting before the last meeting” is for those people you believe have capability within the organization if they would pull themselves together and perform to their full potential. With the right person, and handled carefully, this can actually be a very affirming meeting that produces tremendous results.


Ron Edmondson blogs at RonEdmondson.com.

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