Every business we work with wants morale to go up and productivity to improve.
Few things matter more to morale and productivity than meetings.
Think of your own experience.
How many overpopulated meetings do you sit through in a year?
How many meetings lack intensity? Become sidetracked or lose focus? How often are you frustrated at how much precious time and creative energy gets wasted?
Meetings to many are seen as a necessary evil. The unavoidable downside of working in a corporate.
But it’s not like that for everyone.
There are exceptions.
There are leaders with a special talent for keeping their teams focused on the mission and on producing great results. They are the exceptions.
How do they do this?
The answer lies in great meetings.
Firstly it’s a mindset.
They believe meetings are their work. An integral part of how they are successful and practice their craft. Unlike surgeons who work in theatre or teachers in classrooms, effective leaders understand their main work gets done in meetings.
Secondly, they have a structure.
This boils down to 5 kinds of meetings with the teams they lead.
Each serves a different purpose. Has a specific tone, context and timing. They avoid lumping everything together, creating what we love to call ‘meeting stew’.
What then are the 5 essential meetings?
1. The Daily Stand Up: 10-15 minutes.
The purpose is administrative. It’s mainly about people’s movements. Where will you be that week? What is on your plate?
It reinforces for the team that although everyone is busy, people are connected to each other. If you’re in another geography, especially with a similar time zone – you can call in to keep this connection.
2. The Weekly Tactical: 90-120 minutes.
Teams have their goals but get caught up in ‘the thick of thin things.’ Staying focused on what is most important is an essential team discipline.
Creating a rhythm of delivery based on short review and planning cycles is the key to progress. Success in implementing goals requires intensity and focus. The weekly tactical is the vehicle for this.
For zooming in.
And it allows for the practice of accountability. Are we honest about progress? Are our discussions rigorous and authentic? Is each person showing up and contributing?
3. The Special Attention Meeting (SAMS): 1-3 hours.
The weekly tactical can get bogged down into solving problems. That’s not its purpose. And often the wrong people are present. This is why we have SAMS.
They are single subject meetings. (No meeting stew here).
The key is to have the right people present. And to keep the group small. More people equals more complexity. Everyone must be there for a reason!
Tight timing, proper preparation and a champion who convenes it are the other vital success elements of a SAM.
4. The Quarterly Review: 1 day – 2 days.
The job of this meeting is to zoom out. To see the bigger picture.
These questions are important …
How have we performed in the past 3 months? Are we making an impact? What demands our serious attention? What’s ahead that we must prepare for? Do we have the right team culture and chemistry? Is our purpose clear? Who must do what?
These are essential conversations. A wise team leader protects this meeting fiercely.
5. The Weekly 1:1: 10-15 minutes.
This completes the system. Buckingham and Goodall assert it’s the fastest way to accelerate individual performance*. It connects the dots between the Daily Stand Up and the Weekly Tactical.
The focus is on the individual. What do you talk about? Two questions … what are your priorities this week? How can I help you?
It’s informal. But it shows care and support. Two preconditions for morale and productivity to improve.
What happens in your team?
Do you practice all 5? Why not?
Doing so will be the fastest and most practical way to improve your business this year.
When you do I guarantee two essential things will happen.
- You’ll get more important things done. Solve problems at a deeper level and deliver better results.
- Team morale and energy will improve.
Give it a try. Your team will thank you for it!
Please comment below. Do you have a healthy meeting culture?
* NINE LIES ABOUT WORK: A Freethinking Leaders Guide to the Real World: Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall.