Slow Down to Go Faster - How to Have Better Weekly Meetings

By Jessica Wishart

We have all had weeks where we rush into our weekly meeting and quickly update our status while our pedestriansteam members are sharing good news in the beginning of the meeting (or maybe we just flat out don’t do it!).  We are all busy, and we are all human - so these things happen.  Ironically, the times when we are the busiest are the times when we need to slow down the most.  You might as well not go to the weekly meeting if you haven’t set aside the time to adequately prepare because you’ll just be focused on status updates.  But, if you stay at your desk and cancel the meeting to plow through the mountain of work or put out yet another fire, you’ve missed one of only 13 opportunities to make adjustments to execute your plan and have a great quarter (and a great year, and a great 3-5 years, and a great company).

What goes into adequately preparing for your most effective, solution-oriented weekly meeting?  Of course, preparation involves gathering the necessary data to update the status of all of your priorities and KPIs.  Then, you have to think about any of your priorities or KPIs that are not on track for success (any that you’ve statused Red or Yellow) and comment on them to record an action plan.  This step requires some thought on your part - slow down and consider the consequences of missing your goals and then think creatively about potential solutions.  You should review your Actions and check off anything that you’ve completed and adjust due dates as necessary.

Once you’ve completed the status and solution brainstorming portion of your preparation, you can move on to the more reflective portion of weekly meeting preparation.  Answering the question, “what will make my week successful?” will help you approach your week with the right attitude and a clear focus.  Begin your week with the end in mind. Take the time to really think about any victories you had this week and what your week next week should look like.  If it helps, picture yourself leaving the office next Friday and feeling satisfied that you had a great week… now, what happened to make it a great week? What priorities did you focus on; what did you achieve?  For more questions to help you review your week and plan for a great week next week, refer to page 200 in Patrick’s book, Rhythm. 

When we were discussing Chapter 10 of the book, Patrick challenged our team to be more reflective… he told us that this time is so important to him, he’s even started reflecting daily instead of weekly!  He shared an insight that preparing and reflecting is the most important thing that leaders can do to be great.  It is tempting to rush through this process, especially if it is something you’ve been doing every single week for years.  But, if you tire of your weekly meeting preparation and rush through it, you won’t bring valuable insights for your team to your meeting.  If you don’t take the time to look at everyone’s dashboard ahead of time, read their comments, see where they might be stuck and think about some potential solutions in advance, you aren’t taking advantage of the powerful vehicle of success that the weekly adjustment meeting can be for your team.  If you don’t take the time to prepare (not just go through the motions), you won’t be getting the full value out of the time with your team and you’re really missing out on having the best possible week!

So, even though it is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re overwhelmed, take the time to slow down and reflect so that you can leverage your weekly adjustment meeting to have a successful quarter and ultimately a successful company.  Try taking your time and being more reflective this week and see how it goes - if you end up with a better outcome from your weekly meeting, make spending more time preparing part of your weekly routine.

Rhythm Systems Weekly Meeting With Myself Tool

Editor's Note: This blog was originally published on Jan 23, 2015, and has been updated.


Jessica Wishart


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images