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How To Run A Lean Meeting

‘ To run a lean meeting, establish a clear agenda, invite only key participants, focus on decision-making, utilize time efficiently, and ensure action items are followed up on.’

A Lean Meeting is a structured meeting methodology that aims to maximize efficiency and minimize waste in the workplace. It follows the principles of lean thinking and involves a systematic approach to planning, executing, and reviewing meetings. These meetings focus on value-added activities, eliminating unnecessary discussions, and ensuring that the right people are involved in decision-making. Lean Meetings aim to improve communication, collaboration, and overall meeting effectiveness by promoting clear objectives, time management, and accountability.

What is the purpose of a Lean Meeting?

Running a lean meeting as a leader is essential for streamlining discussions, decision-making, and problem-solving processes. It aims to eliminate wasted time and resources, increase efficiency, and ensure that every participant’s input is valued. By maintaining a clear agenda, setting time limits, and encouraging active participation, leaders can maximize productivity and drive better outcomes.

How To Run A Lean Meeting: Step-By-Step


Step 1: Meeting Objective Clarification

Clearly defining the purpose or objective of the meeting is crucial in order to set appropriate expectations and ensure everyone is on the same page. Whether it’s problem-solving, decision-making, brainstorming, or simple communication, a clear objective helps guide the meeting’s agenda and outcomes.

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Step 2: Attendance Decision

When deciding who should attend the meeting, it is important to involve only the individuals who can actively contribute or who may be directly impacted by the objective of the meeting.

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Step 3: Agenda Formulation

Developing a specific and clear agenda is crucial for meeting success. By distributing it among participants beforehand, everyone can adequately prepare for the discussion, ensuring a productive and focused meeting.

ZipDo, our software, merges your calendar meetings into a single, collaborative environment. Within this environment, teams can craft a shared meeting agenda, promoting contributions from everyone. This strategy leads to superior meeting preparedness, boosting productivity and making the preparation and follow-up phases more straightforward.


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Step 4: Time Allocation

Assigning a specific duration for each agenda item is crucial as it enables effective time management during meetings, preventing them from exceeding the allocated time. This practice ensures efficient discussions while minimizing the risk of overruns.

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Step 5: Meeting Scheduling

To ensure convenience and efficiency, select a mutually suitable time and venue for all participants. Aim to keep the meeting concise, preferably within a one-hour timeframe.

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Step 6: Pre-Meeting Preparation

In order to make the most of the meeting, all participants must carefully review the agenda, adequately prepare their contributions, and familiarize themselves with any pertinent information prior to the start of the session.

Our app, ZipDo, simplifies your meeting management by automatically importing appointments from your calendar and creating a shared workspace for each. Within these spaces, team notes can be added, easing preparation and follow-up, while ensuring higher team accountability.

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Step 7: Meeting Conduct

In order to ensure an effective meeting, it is important to start and end on time, adhere to the agenda, promote active participation, and ensure that the conversation remains relevant to the meeting’s objectives.

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Step 8: Avoiding Interruptions

To maintain a productive environment, it is important to discourage disruptions like tardiness, unrelated discussions, and other unproductive activities that hinder progress and focus.

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Step 9: Note Recording

To ensure efficient communication and accountability, it is crucial to appoint a dedicated note taker in meetings. This individual will record essential decisions, action items, and key takeaways, ensuring that important information is accurately captured and shared.

With ZipDo, our software, your calendar meetings are seamlessly integrated into a dedicated collaborative environment. This space allows for the addition of meeting notes by any team member, enhancing the efficiency of meeting prep and follow-up, and bolstering team accountability.

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Step 10: Summary and Next Steps

Conclude the meeting by highlighting crucial decisions, determining the next course of action, and allocating responsibilities for effective execution.

ZipDo, our app, streamlines the creation of meeting minutes. It imports your meetings from the calendar, organizing them into specific channels. Here, team members can be added, granting them access to the meetings. Posting the minutes in the dedicated workspace allows automatic access for all channel members, keeping the entire team informed.

Questions to ask as the leader of the meeting

1. What are the top obstacles we are facing in our current processes?
Explanation: This question helps identify bottlenecks and issues that hinder productivity and efficiency, enabling the leader to implement appropriate solutions.

2. How can we eliminate waste in our operations?
Explanation: Identifying and eliminating waste is a fundamental principle of lean management. This question encourages team members to brainstorm ideas for reducing non-value-added activities and improving overall efficiency.

3. Are there any low hanging fruit opportunities for improvement?
Explanation: By identifying small, easy-to-implement changes, the team can quickly realize some benefits. This question encourages team members to analyze their processes for potential quick wins.

4. What are the current customer pain points or complaints?
Explanation: Understanding customer concerns is crucial for continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. This question helps identify areas where processes may need improvement or where the team can focus their efforts.

5. How can we improve communication and enhance collaboration between teams?
Explanation: Effective communication and collaboration are essential for lean practices. This question prompts team members to think of ways to streamline communication channels and foster better teamwork.

6. What key metrics should we focus on to measure our progress?
Explanation: Clear metrics allow the team to evaluate their progress towards lean goals. This question prompts discussion on the most critical performance indicators to monitor and improve continuously.

7. Are there any training or skill gaps that hinder our progress?
Explanation: Lean requires a skilled workforce. This question helps identify any training or knowledge gaps within the team, enabling the leader to provide the necessary support or resources to bridge those gaps.

8. How can we ensure sustainability and continuous improvement of our lean practices?
Explanation: Lean is a continuous process, not a one-time project. This question encourages the team to explore ways to sustain the improvement efforts over the long term and drive continuous improvement.

9. What opportunities do we have to involve frontline employees in problem-solving and process improvement?
Explanation: Engaging frontline employees is crucial for successful lean implementation. This question promotes the involvement of those nearest to the processes in finding solutions and provides valuable insights.

10. How can we leverage technology or automation to simplify tasks and improve efficiency?
Explanation: Technology and automation can significantly enhance lean efforts. This question prompts the team to consider opportunities for leveraging tools to streamline processes and reduce waste.

When preparing a lean-meeting agenda as a leader, it’s important to focus on the key objectives. Start by identifying the purpose of the meeting and the desired outcomes. Keep the agenda concise and organized, highlighting the topics to be discussed and allocating specific time slots for each. Prioritize efficiency and engage team members by encouraging their active participation.

How To Prepare For A Lean Meeting
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The lean meeting should focus on topics that improve efficiency and remove waste in the workflow. This includes discussing productivity metrics, identifying obstacles and finding solutions, reviewing process improvements, and sharing best practices. Key topics also involve customer feedback, employee engagement, and continuous improvement initiatives.

See Our Lean Meeting Template
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Software tools to facilitate a Lean Meeting

Software helps leaders run lean meetings by providing streamlined communication and collaboration tools. It enables them to organize agendas, set meeting goals, and assign tasks. With real-time sharing of documents, participants can provide input and make decisions faster. Automated notifications and reminders ensure everyone stays on track, while analytics offer insights for continuous improvement. Ultimately, software helps leaders optimize meeting efficiency and achieve tangible outcomes.

Our Recommendations:


In today’s fast-paced business world, running a lean meeting is essential for productivity and efficiency. By following the practices and strategies outlined in this blog post, you can ensure that your meetings are purposeful, focused, and action-oriented. From setting clear objectives to utilizing technology to streamline communication, every aspect of a lean meeting contributes to maximizing the use of time and resources. Remember, the key is to be mindful of the meeting’s purpose, keep the agenda concise, actively engage participants, and conclude with actionable next steps. With these tactics in place, you can transform your meetings from time-wasting endeavors into valuable opportunities for collaboration and progress. So, start implementing these tips today and experience the benefits of running lean meetings firsthand.

Jannik Lindner

I'm Jannik and I write on MeetingFever about the experiences from my career as a founder and team lead.

If you have any questions, please contact me via LinkedIn.

Popular Questions

What is a Lean Meeting?

A Lean Meeting is a gathering focused on improving processes and maximizing efficiency, typically implementing Lean principles that aim to eliminate waste and increase value for customers.

What is the main purpose of a Lean Meeting?

The primary purpose of a Lean Meeting is to identify areas of process inefficiency or waste and find ways to streamline operations. This can mean examining workflows, reducing unnecessary steps, or addressing issues that inhibit productivity.

How is a Lean Meeting different from a regular meeting?

Unlike regular meetings, Lean Meetings are focused on continuous improvement and tend to be more focused and efficient. Every element of the meeting, including the agenda, participants, and actions decided upon, contribute directly towards achieving lean objectives.

What are the core principles of Lean that are discussed in such meetings?

The core principles of Lean discussed in such meetings typically include defining value, mapping the value stream, enabling flow, establishing pull, and pursuing perfection. All these principles work together to create a culture of continuous improvement and efficiency.

How can a Lean Meeting lead to process improvement?

A Lean Meeting can lead to process improvement by providing a venue for team members to identify waste, brainstorm solutions, and create actionable plans. They also support accountability as progress is tracked and evaluated in subsequent meetings.

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