Note from EE Magazine: There are significant insights in the comments to this article on the original site.
Making meetings effective is a challenge for many organizations—including ours. It feels our meetings often take much more time than needed. So, we are always looking for ways to make them more effective.
Meetings at Buurtzorg
Recently we recorded a video for our Corporate Rebels Academy. Madelon van Tilburg of Buurtzorg talked about the importance of effective meetings in their way of working.
She said: “Our team has been around for about eleven or twelve years now. We meet once every two weeks. These meetings are crucial. That’s where you make decisions, where you find each other, where you discuss difficult things together. All team members attend, and the meetings follow a strict method to keep them as effective as possible.”
Solution-Driven Methods of Interaction (SDMI)
So, what is this method? Buurtzorg teams use a method called “Solution-Driven Methods of Interaction” or SDMI.
The SDMI method encourages Buurzorg teams to choose a facilitator for each meeting, and prescribes a strict meeting structure as shown in the image below.
The SDMI meeting structure
The SDMI structure has a few fixed agenda steps. Every meeting starts with discussing and accepting a text report of the previous meeting. Then any notices are shared and there is a round of any other business. If a discussion threatens to arise during this part of the meeting, people are asked to turn the item into an agenda item.
A definitive list of agenda items to be discussed is determined on the fly. Then all items on the definitive list are discussed one by one. Each is discussed in a fixed loop of six steps:
The item owner introduces the question or proposal he or she wants to address.
The item owner introduces the reasons for discussing the item.
The item owner introduces the purpose for discussing the item. There are three options: item owners can inform others, ask for advice, or propose to make a decision.
The process of informing, advising or decision-making takes place. Decisions are made immediately by asking: “Who is for which proposal?” If there is no consensus, the original status is maintained.
With consensus, next steps are made by answering two questions: When will the decision be executed? And who will execute it?
The item is now addressed, and the team moves to the next agenda item. Then they start the loop again from step 1.