Boss Meeting Prep - No Surprises
This guidance describes how to prepare your boss for attending any meeting you're running.
Your boss getting surprised is a bad thing. Your boss getting surprised in front of his own directs is a VERY bad thing. Your boss getting surprised in front of her directs when you knew the topic was scheduled and would likely surprise her is intolerable. We're not big fans of anger here, but if you did that to US, we'd be upset.
Let's make it even worse, in two different ways. First, now it's not your boss that's got egg on her face, it's YOU. YOUR direct has scheduled a meeting, put a deliverable you have knowledge of on the agenda, and known there is a possibility that you will not have accomplished the objective. Even if you're not going to be visibly angry, can you honestly say that you would be happy about it? Differently: you walk out of a meeting where you've just done this to your boss, and he wasn't ready. One of your directs also was delinquent on some tasks. Even if you have the right rejoinder, isn't it something of a downer when the direct says, how hard can you get on ME when the big boss isn't doing his stuff EITHER?
Or, as we head a boss say once, after a meeting, to a direct: One phone call? A brief email? Neither of these or a hundred other small actions didn't occur to you to keep me from having to mea culpa in front of my directs? Thanks for nothing. Maybe that wasn't so professional, but it's surely heartfelt.
This is an easy mistake to cure. We suspect that there are thousands of managers listening right now thinking, I know all I need to know – I never thought about this before, but I know I'm never letting that fall through the cracks again. This will be the shortest cast they ever listen to.