I've found regular meetings trend towards status updates. It doesn't matter who attends the meeting or what the original plan was for the meeting it will always happen if no one is actively planning and curating the meeting.
And, status updates suck. They are energy draining meetings that no one enjoys and end up being an expensive drain on the organization. If a potentially valuable meeting gets to this point, they'll never recover and you've lost an opportunity to have valuable discussions.
So how do we avoid this from happening? One approach is to consider the "levels" that should be discussed during the meeting.
For example, a senior leadership meeting should focus on the two levels that impact everyone in the meeting:
- The organization — What is happening at the organization level? What are the changes impacting every team? What are the business challenges we face?
- The industry — What is happening in our industry? Are there new competitors? Is there a new innovation we see?
A senior leadership meeting should never involve discussions about your team or area of responsibility unless it has direct impact on your organization or your industry. By keeping this boundary, you'll focus the conversation on topics that are impactful for everyone to be involved in.