How to have better meetings, using LOMO: lo-fidelity moments

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Meetings are hugely symbolic in an organisation’s culture. They’re also one of the main mechanisms of progressing work, and yet they don’t work very well. And everybody complains about them.

LOMO is a set of tools that can help you have better meetings.

LOMO is a way of re-organising meetings so that they’re high trust, self-organising, radically honest interactions. LOMO uses templates and canvases to make meetings safe and to help access a fast, agile, self-responsible culture.

Ever sat in a meeting where three-quarters of the people there are working on their laptops, waiting for the part where their bit is relevant? They don’t really want to be there but politically they feel obliged to stay for the whole thing.

It’s a wonderful scenario: twelve people in a room, and nine of them are not listening. Apart from anything, how expensive is that.

You get lots of dysfunctional meetings like this. Meetings where the introverts don’t say much while the extroverts dominate conversations.

Or meetings with open discussion and debate about issues that affect the way people are working, which sounds great, but usually the most erudite person always wins. This person is super smart, and super good at talking in public, and when they start speaking, everybody stops.

In one scenario of a group of twelve people, only four will have contributed to the conversation, and the rest have learned that there is just no point.

They’re thinking, “I feel really uncomfortable, I cannot compete, we’ll just let the smartest person in the room win.” BUT they often have really valuable stuff to say and it does not come out.

This is not uncommon.

LOMO meeting tools are interesting. They’re canvas-based tools that indicate how you might structure a meeting, and make them work better.

If you follow the LOMO process, a meeting cannot be dominated by four people, everybody is obliged to contribute.

It makes meetings much more egalitarian, and diffuses existing patterns.

If you run LOMO for a while, you might learn new patterns, and then you may not need the tool anymore.

Maybe you’re meeting together to kick off your creative response to a client with a brainstorming session, usually these sessions would limp on for about three hours and you get really tired and never reach a conclusion.

If you change how you structure that meeting, it might re-energise you.

LOMO is an open source tool – you download various canvasses, with guidelines as to how to use them.

LOMO is not the only way to have a meeting, but it is a way of shifting them, it’s a lever for changing a set of stuck patterns of behaviour, that is quietly frustrating lots of people.

For example, first of all, do a check-in. Then, what’s the focus for this week? Tell everyone. What are your KPIs? What concerns have you got this week? We’re not going to talk about this now – but can anyone help? …Okay, you guys have that conversation afterwards…

That replaces a flat, non-participatory update meeting, gives it more energy and more focus, and covers all the bases.

It’s a way of structuring an agenda.

If you’re looking for ideas that can help, use LOMO to begin to experiment with different ways of running meetings.

Why LOMO is good for leaders

LOMO helps you address something that isn’t working in your organisation and involve everyone:

  • By acknowledging that things aren’t great, that’s culturally important.
  • You’re asking for feedback: that’s helpful to model.
  • You’re involving other people in solving the problem: that’s great
  • If everybody engages with this thing that’s quietly frustrating them, and having an open conversation about whether it’s good or not, that is really useful for helping to make the shift away from the status quo to a desired future state.

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