Meetings changed recently at GoSquared.
They got quicker.
They got clearer.
They started more promptly.
The need to be in every meeting reduced.
And the amount of “he said she said” reduced to zero.
We started recording meetings.
At first, it was an alarming change – it felt weird.
Was it a step towards overbearing surveillance? Could this be used against me in the future? We all had concerns when starting out.
But a few months in, and the results have been undeniable.
The inspiration came from learning of Ray Dalio’s approach to running Bridgewater Associates. At Bridgewater every meeting is recorded, and direct, clear, honest feedback is strongly encouraged.
As with Bridgewater, recording meetings is part of a wider understanding across the team that we want to grow as individuals and as a team, and if we don’t hold each other to a high standard then we’re letting everyone down.
Now every individual in a meeting is aware that anyone else in the business has the opportunity to listen at a later date. It encourages everyone to bring their best to every meeting.
Why do we do it?
The key reasons we started to record meetings:
- If someone can’t be present and wants extra detail on why a decision was made or how an idea came to be, there’s a place to understand that.
- So anyone in the meeting can reflect on their own performance – just as a sports team reviews their performance after a game, it gives us a chance to review our own performance.
How do we record meetings?
There’s nothing complex:
- Start the meeting.
- Remind everyone the meeting is about to be recorded. If someone isn’t OK with it they can veto the recording any time. Consent is required.
- Open the Voice Memos app on your phone.
- Hit Record.
- Remember to hit Stop at the end of the meeting.
To be clear, we don’t record absolutely every internal meeting – private one-to-one catchup conversations with the team and similar situations where discretion is critical are not recorded.
Customer conversations are a different ballgame entirely. There's a huge benefit to recording conversations with customers and potential customers. The emphasis on consent is even greater here, and is a topic for another day.
It’s worth noting that we’ve evolved how meetings are run at GoSquared a heck of a lot over the years. Those learnings are also for another post – stay tuned.
I hope this is helpful, and reach out to me on Twitter if you have questions about our approach.
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