How to Fix a Meeting in 4 Easy Steps [Agenda and Video]
Weekly staff meetings are often a huge waste of time and money. Too often, they are just boring status updates that could have been better solved by sending out an email. People have gotten into a rut and just don’t think that there is anything they can do to fix their meetings and they have given up hope. You can change your weekly staff meetings quickly and easily following the four simple steps outlined below. Putting in the effort is well worth the reward of being able to solve problems each and every week in a fun environment that you actually look forward to attending. Just imagine how much better your company’s results would be if every department solved one of its biggest challenges each and every week!
At Rhythm Systems, we have been fixing weekly staff meetings for more than a decade with our unique methodology and patented strategy execution software to focus your most important resources on the most important projects. It isn’t all that difficult once you have a clear execution-ready quarterly plan in place. Once you have you have a clear quarterly plan, aligned with your annual plan, you have the basis for your weekly meeting agenda. If you aren’t connecting your strategic planning with your execution, of which your weekly staff meeting is the cornerstone, you aren’t having the right discussions to move your strategy forward to achieve your BHAG.
There are 11 million meetings in the United States alone every work day. Up to 50% of the time in those meetings is wasted, and that’s probably a conservative estimate, and costs about $37 billion per year in lost productivity in the United States alone. The real question is how much this is costing you and your organization by not fixing your weekly staff meeting?
Fix a meeting with these 4 simple steps:
Step 1: Change the name of your weekly team meeting to reset the mindset
I have found most people name their meeting based on cadence, such as “weekly staff meeting” and not on what they need to accomplish. One of the single most important things that you can do to completely re-frame your weekly meeting is to rename it according to the purpose that you want to achieve. This is a complete re-visualization effort to get the entire team refocused on working hard at meetings and solving problems. This allows you to completely reset the expectations of everyone who attends the meeting, either in the conference room or on the phone. Unfortunately there's not a button you can press that just says "fix meeting", it is going to take some work so it is best to start with a clean slate. At Rhythm Systems, we call ours Weekly Adjustment Meetings as we meet to make the slight course adjustments needed to hit all of our quarterly goals. We also have clients who create something of their own that fits their company culture; they use terms like challenge meeting, obstacle meeting, or problem-solving meeting. If you want your meetings to change, the name is the first place to start!
Step 2: Everyone needs to come prepared, every week, no exceptions
Everyone needs to come to the meeting prepared with all of the information they need. The purpose is to share intelligence so you can solve problems while you are together, so spend time thinking deeply about the challenges your team is facing. This goes above and beyond having your information prepared for the meeting, it also means studying your team's dashboard and/or reading any status updates. The team needs to know which of their priorities are off track and where they need help and make the needed data readily available. To learn more about preparing for your weekly staff meeting, download our free meeting with myself tool.
Step 3: Solve the biggest problem facing your team
Focus on solving business problems in your weekly adjustment meeting including looking for new opportunities, ways to scale operations, new markets, etc. You’ve got the smartest people in the organization gathered together, leverage the opportunity to supercharge your meetings. The problem with most meetings is that they avoid the largest challenges the organization is facing, and these items tend to be swept under the rug and ignored completely. It’s human nature to talk about all of the victories of the week and all of the great things that have happened, and we want you to highlight these bright spots, but don’t focus on them exclusively. If you need some help with a process to solve the problem, please download our free Breakthrough to Green Tool to walk you through the steps needed to get to the root cause of the issue and solve the problem.
Step 4: Have the right discussions, especially if they are difficult
We don’t want vanity meetings, we want productive weekly staff meetings. In order to do that, we need to drive the right discussions with the right facts and supporting data. In order to drive the right discussions, we need to have the right metrics to measure and the right priorities to move the needle. If you don’t have clear annual plans or execution ready quarterly plans, you need to start there first. If you have a clear idea of where you are and where you need to be, here are some questions you can ask during weekly staff meetings to dig deeper to get to the root of the problem and drive the difficult conversations to solve them.
- What is holding this initiative back?
- Where are WE stuck?
- Is there a prerequisite holding it up?
- Who else can help us?
- Do we have the right metrics?
- What are the implications if we can’t figure this out?
Don’t get stuck in a rut and accept terrible meetings week after week that
Additional Rhythm Systems Meeting Resources to help you fix a meeting.
How To Have Effective Weekly Staff Meetings (With Sample Agenda Template)
Download our weekly meeting agenda template
Are You Having Weekly Meetings with Yourself?
Management Meeting Agenda: Make Your Manager's Meetings More Effective
8 Ways to Make Weekly Meetings Strategic vs. Tactical (Video)
Weekly Adjustment Meetings vs. Weekly Status Meetings (Infographic)
Consider using Rhythm Software to run your weekly meeting, where the status and agenda are automatically created every week to keep you on track!
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images