All of us are completely aware that heading into meetings that are not thought-out and planned in advance tend to be meetings that next to nothing is solidified. They turn into think-tanks, if you will, and everyone discusses pros/cons to current general issues but in the end, we are left off right where we began. Nothing is moving forward and nothing is in the process of being changed/implemented.
This holds true for meetings that are lead by CEOs and other high delegates within a company. If a CEO leads a strategic planning meeting with no agenda, and a group of people that haven't prepared for the session, it will again turn into more of a waste of time than anything else. Sure, some issues will be discussed but the session will have no direction. Random issues will be brought up and random thoughts about each will be discussed by the group. This will create a whirlwind effect and in the end, again, nothing is solved.
After reading "The Real Value of Strategic Planning" by Sarah Kaplan and Eric Beinhocker, it is clear that these types of meetings need to be prepared well in advance for any positive outcomes to arise at the top. Additional planning also needs to be an important task for the meeting moderator, or additional issues will arise. You would typically take a lot of these additional tasks for granted, but this is where the problems will arise if this is the case. A few additional items to be planned prior to the actual meeting would be meeting location, attendees, length and what to discuss to name a few.
In my short working lifetime, i've been subject to both moving/innovative and bland/jumbled meetings. It's very clear to everyone present what type of meeting they will be subject to, typically in the first 5 minutes. I cannot stress the importance of being prepared with an agenda, if you plan to make a difference in the short time you have with the chosen audience members. The more prepared and versed you are, the least amount of time is wasted and policy changes will actual be moved towards.
Taking the initiative to be a moving presenter and leader will create a top-down approach, but everyone involved will be willing to help out in the end, and positive outcomes will be arrived at.