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Taking Names and Assigning Tasks

Fighter pilots emerging from a post-mission Debrief know to expect clear, unambiguous follow-up directions that assign individual responsibilities for moving forward and set deadlines for completion of all assigned tasks.

The same should hold true in business.  Robert C. Pozen, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, states that every business meeting should conclude with three essential questions:

  • What do we see as the next steps?
  • Who should take responsibility for them?
  • And what should the timeframe be?

The team leader should record the answers and e-mail them out so that all participants are on the same page. Adherence to this protocol means that “no one can say they’re not sure what really happened (in the meeting),” says Pozen.

Read Pozen’s complete set of tips, The Seven Imperatives to Keeping Meetings on Track, in the Harvard Business Review.

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