A New Paradigm for Meetings
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A New Paradigm for Meetings

Insights from Forward Thinking Workplaces and Beyond

Welcome to a transformative exploration of how we can reinvent the very essence of meetings in our modern work culture. My journey at Forward Thinking Workplaces, enriched by deep, thought-provoking interviews with visionaries and leaders across various industries, has been a wellspring of wisdom and insight.

Coupled with my personal voyage at Space Beyond Boundaries, where I reflect on my inner leader journey, I've recognized a stark contrast between conventional meeting practices and their untapped potential.

In today's rapidly evolving workplace, traditional meeting rules often fall short. They can be draining, uninspiring, and disconnected from the dynamic, collaborative potential they hold. Recognizing this gap, I've distilled a set of new meeting rules.

These rules, born from a confluence of collective wisdom and profound realizations, challenge the status quo and invite us to rethink how we collaborate, share, and innovate together.

I am excited to share these rules with you in this article. They represent a shift from the mundane to the extraordinary, transforming meetings into crucibles of creativity and collaboration.

Meeting Rules for the Forward Thinking Workplace

  1. Prioritize Active Listening: Cultivate a meeting environment where everyone is fully engaged in listening, creating space for new insights and ideas that extend beyond preconceived notions or prepared points.
  2. Start with a Moment of Stillness: Embrace the present moment by starting meetings with a moment of stillness, allowing participants to center themselves and focus on what is 'true right now' rather than immediately diving into the agenda. This practice can help ground the discussion in current realities and needs. Encourage participants to hold stillness in the background throughout the meeting.
  3. Focus on Emerging Opportunities: Shift the emphasis from generating numerous action plans to recognizing and exploring unfolding opportunities. Encourage discussions about dynamic ways forward that are revealing themselves in the course of the meeting.
  4. Create Space for New Ideas: Ensure that meetings are not just a reiteration of known information or a review of past actions but provide opportunities for fresh, innovative thinking to surface.
  5. Facilitate Adaptive Planning: Encourage a flexible approach to planning and decision-making that adapts to new insights and conditions revealed during the meeting.
  6. Encourage Present-Moment Awareness: Foster a sense of present-moment awareness among participants, helping them to stay attuned to the ongoing dialogue and to respond more thoughtfully and creatively.
  7. Reduce Over-Planning: Avoid overloading meetings with excessive planning while maintaining the necessary structure. Instead, focus on key priorities and allow for organic discussion and idea generation.
  8. Promote Openness to Change: Encourage participants to remain open to changing their viewpoints or strategies based on what is learned and shared during the meeting.
  9. Encourage Reflection and Mindfulness: Introduce moments of reflection or mindfulness practices to help participants stay centered and open to new perspectives.
  10. Balance Agenda with Flexibility: While having an agenda is important for structure, balance it with the flexibility to explore relevant topics or ideas that emerge spontaneously during the meeting.
  11. Value the Unspoken and Intuitive: Recognize that not all valuable contributions are spoken or planned. Encourage participants to share intuitive insights or observations that may not be on the formal agenda but are relevant to the discussion.
  12. Emphasize Quality Over Quantity in Planning: Focus on the quality and relevance of plans and actions proposed rather than the quantity. This approach can lead to more meaningful and effective outcomes.
  13. Cultivate a Culture of Listening and Learning: Promote a meeting culture where the primary goal is to listen, learn, and collaboratively explore new possibilities.

By implementing these updated rules, meetings can become more targeted, efficient, and energizing, effectively harnessing participants' collective potential and creativity.


In crafting these transformative rules for meetings, I stand on the shoulders of giants β€” individuals whose profound insights and innovative thinking have significantly influenced this compilation.

It is with deep gratitude and respect that I acknowledge the following luminaries (listed alphabetically): David Bohm, Joseph Jaworski, Simon Heath, William Isaacs, Michael Neill, Michael Ray, Peter Senge, Patricia Shaw, Eckhart Tolle, and Kurt and Patricia Wright. These thought leaders have contributed invaluably through their pioneering work and profound ideas.

Their teachings, ranging from the nuances of dialogue and leadership to the depths of mindfulness and creativity, have been instrumental in shaping these guidelines. Their wisdom not only informs these new rules but also underpins the very essence of what makes meetings a conduit for collective potential and creativity.

I am deeply thankful for their inspiration and influence, which have been pivotal in bringing these ideas to fruition. Additionally, my gratitude extends to many others whose ideas and insights have been a rich source of learning and inspiration in this journey.

Join the Conversation

Now, I turn to you, my readers. I invite you to bring these rules into your own meetings and share your experiences. Which of these rules resonated the most with you? Are there any you would add or modify based on your own experiences?

Your insights and stories are invaluable as we collectively navigate this new meeting paradigm. Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below or contact me directly. Together, let’s reshape the landscape of our workplace meetings into spaces of vibrant collaboration and creativity.

To your forward-thinking life & great success!

β€” Bill

Bill Fox
Shaping Leaders of Tomorrow | Driving Innovation & Transformation in Professional Growth & Workplace Excellence