Feb 12, 2019
Episode #29: Town Halls
The town hall meeting is used by governments and companies as an
informal way to address issues in their own community or
organization. An executive report is given and then
individuals and guests have an opportunity to ask questions, talk
about the issues they find important and discuss potential
A town hall is a place for a conversation and meaningful
discussion. Authentic emotionally intelligent leaders are
able to look at the challenges and opportunities they face without
resistance, judgement or attachment to outcome. They are able
to inspire trust and higher levels of engagement by communicating
with openness, truth and passion.
The following comments are from Master of Business Leadership
alumnus Bill Wiersma. He is the Canadian
Regional Account Manager at Flexera Software. Bill has been
leading sales and engineering teams for over 25 years.
- A town hall should not be used to publicly
address performance issues in front of the whole organization. The
team or individual already knows that they have not performed to
the expected level and calling out this poor performance only
serves to lessen the willingness to be open and engage in the
- Even if the overall tone of the town hall is downbeat due to
poor results and targets you must still celebrate the successes.
This serves to bolster engagement. It is also a good time to
acknowledge exceptional performance.
- The success or failure of a town hall is determined well before
the actual event. For example, if ideas for some issue or
opportunity were requested in a previous town hall they should be
reported on in subsequent town halls. If the ideas are seen
as going into a "black hole" then further requests may well be
- The overall agenda should be consistent from meeting to
- The participants that speak should also be consistent.
For example, if Sales or HR speaks; they should always have
- The frequency of the meeting should be constant. If they are
quarterly; hold them every quarter. Do not skip because it
could foster negative rumors and uncertainty.
- The best town halls in my opinion were ones lead by a
department head rather than the CEO or President. The CEO still has
his or her "state of the union" but they do not monopolize the
agenda. This gives others a chance to step up.
Special guest is Bill
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