Those of you familiar with our recommended meeting agendas know that we usually like to start most meetings with all team members sharing something positive. Our Daily Huddles, Weekly Adjustment Meetings, Monthly Meetings, and even planning sessions typically include either a round of good news or sharing victories and bright spots as way to kick off the meeting. To some of our more matter-of-fact clients, this can seem frivolous, and they may be tempted to skip this agenda item and move on to the “real” work. But, there’s a method to our madness. We recommend starting with good news for good reasons.
Rhythm Blog | Meeting Facilitation
by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team
Your planning sessions are important and expensive. Whether they’re Quarterly Planning Sessions, Annual Planning Sessions, or Strategic Planning Sessions, you've invested the valuable time and energy of your most expensive employees – time away from the office,
Remote workers and companies are becoming more popular these days. In 2015, Gallup reported 37% of workers said they worked remotely, up from just 9% in 1995. How do companies keep their employees updated and also keep the culture alive without having to spend time and money on travel every month? At Rhythm Systems, we decided to have virtual monthly meetings to accommodate those who are unable to fly or drive to Charlotte every month and still keep the company connected and up to date.
Honestly, our first virtual meeting was a disaster! We have about 12 employees who live in Charlotte so we met in the office while the 6 remote team members dialed-in and only used audio. The team in the room fed off of each other’s energy. We were loud, excited, and frankly rude to our virtual coworkers. Since they were not physically in the room, we acted as if they were not even a part of the meeting.
Recently, I was on Quora, and I saw a question about technical review meetings. I had never heard of one!
Naturally, I did some research on what exactly it is, and I am here to share.
A technical review meeting is very similar to how it sounds. It is a meeting of project professionals to discuss detailed planning and technical issues such as engineering, manufacturing, etc. The meeting allows you to identify specific issues and concerns.
Recently, I saw a question about skip-level meetings in Quora. I had never heard of skip-level meetings, so I did a little digging and learned about them. Since many of our readers are in growing organizations, I thought I'd share a little bit about them.
First things first, what is a skip-level meeting?
As defined in an article by Jared Lewis, "In a skip-level meeting, upper-level management bypasses mid-level management to talk directly to non-managerial employees. Although there's not typically a special position known as a 'skip-level manager,' senior managers conducting these types of meetings are considered skip-level managers."
One of the best practices we recommend to all of our clients is rotating facilitation duties for your team’s weekly adjustment meeting. There are a few reasons for this: having different styles and facilitators keeps the team engaged in the meeting week after week, and giving everyone on the team a chance to facilitate builds leadership skills and encourages taking ownership of the team meeting. With a more engaged team, you’ll have a better meeting and be more likely to solve problems rather than waste time on status updates. But, meeting facilitation is a skill - and one that everyone on the team might not be comfortable with at first.
For many companies, the idea of the monthly meeting for managers (or the whole company depending on the size of your organization) can feel like a burden in an already overly scheduled calendar. Why is this meeting, in the midst of so many other meetings, important?
This day or half-day meeting is your key to building the team, learning together, solving problems, working on specific issues, and reinforcing your company’s culture, initiatives and goals.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen leading companies spend (aka “waste”) time in a one or two-day Annual or Quarterly Planning Session. The time is wasted because once they leave the room, they get back to what’s normal (i.e., they get back to putting out fires on a daily basis). As one CEO recently said to me, “We plan, but we never seem to get very far with implementing our plan.” What’s lost when this happens is not only time but focus, productivity, and discipline.
For this CEO, it was at this point in time when he contacted Rhythm Systems to inquire about having a facilitated onsite session. The session went really well, and the team commented that it was one of the most productive two days they’d spent together in a very long time.
Whew….you’ve done it. You and your team just completed a major project and are celebrating! The group did a good job making adjustments and dealing with all of the curve balls thrown their way during the process, and they successfully delivered on the project. It was quite an accomplishment and the team worked really hard to deliver on it. The celebration is well deserved, so how do you follow up on it? You learn from it! There is something to learn from every project, whether a success or a failure, so you’ll perform better on your next project. The best way to do this is with a retrospective meeting. You may have heard of this type of meeting called a post-mortem meeting, but I like to call it a retrospective meeting as the project doesn’t need to figuratively die in order for you to learn from it!
Meetings. Most executives spend their days in a haze, bouncing from meeting to conference call to another meeting - back to back to back. Sadly, many of these meetings leave the attendees wondering, “What’s the point?” or “Why didn’t you just send that in an email?”
You can’t escape them, but you can make sure that you aren’t contributing to the meaningless, monotonous meeting marathon by practicing careful preparation for any meetings you schedule. Preparation is the key to ensuring that your meetings are productive and achieve the desired outcomes in the allotted period of time.