It’s an interesting experiment to informally poll your friends and ask them about their planning habits. Do they plan on a daily basis? Weekly? Digitally? Analog? Cruise through YouTube and see how bullet journaling is the new scrapbooking and you’ll see there’s no end to how you can plan. It’s hard to argue with the logic that planning out your day gives you a better chance of accomplishing what you set out to do. Sure, there are days that go off the rails, but that can happen in any business. Having a plan will help you roll with those unexpected scenarios and keep everything on track to hit your goals.
Team meetings are a key component of a business. It’s important that the employees know and understand what’s going on with the business and what expectations they need to meet in order for the company to be successful.
How does your team react to the weekly meeting? Is it a task they dread? Do they welcome the break from their desks? Do they get frustrated because every single meeting always seems to be about the concerns of one single person? Do the meeting participants believe it is time well spent? We have found that companies that take control of their meetings get a huge return on their investment with high employee engagement.
So, how’s your Daily Huddle meeting going? Over time, it’s easy for this habit to begin feeling a little stale, and you might even start wondering if anyone would miss it if you killed it. They would! And they probably don’t even realize it (so don’t bother polling the team to ask). Instead, be the leader and huddle on!
Sometimes the benefits of Daily Huddles are so subtle they go uncelebrated, but the truth is, the habit of huddling daily with your team might be the most valuable 10 minutes of your day. The next time you feel like it’s an inconvenient interruption or someone tells you they’re too busy to huddle, keep these benefits of the morning huddle in mind.
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." The manager meets with employees to try to better understand their team members, build trust in the organization and get a better sense of the work environment challenges facing your front line employees. Skip level meetings for employees are just as important as they are for managers, and both should be well prepared prior to the "skip level meeting." Done properly, the skip level meeting is an effective tool to improve communications across your organization.
It sounds so simple. But, I was just discussing scaling up meeting rhythms with one of my colleagues, and she told me that it took her last company three years to get into a cadence of meetings that actually accelerated their team's progress! They learned through a lot of trial and error (and probably a lot of wasted time in meetings that were unnecessary and some productive time lost catching up in hallway conversations when a meeting was needed but didn't happen).
Establishing the right meeting rhythm with your executive team is key. Many executives spend the majority of their days in one meeting or another; when you consider their salaries and the many other demands on their time, you want to ensure you are doing everything possible to only have meetings that add value.
Many executive teams are in a rhythm of meeting weekly to update each other on the status of projects and priorities. While it is important to have clear communication and keep each other in the loop on these important topics, the time you spend with your executive team would be far more valuable if you replaced boring weekly status update meetings with Weekly Adjustment Meetings that energize your team around solving problems before it is too late to hit your quarterly goals.
Weekly Problem Solving Meeting (Adjustment Meeting)
Your weekly problem solving meeting should be the most powerful problem solving meeting you have. Your team should be looking forward to working with each other to capture opportunities and helping each other get unstuck.
80% of your time should be spent on creating solutions, problem solving and making adjustments to your plan.
Recommended Agenda for a Weekly Problem Solving Meeting
1) Start with a round of good news
2) Discuss solution for KPIs that are off track
3) Discuss solutions for quarterly rocks, priorities and OKRs that are off track
4) Share your week sync note with the team. This is your person plan for the week and promotes organizational alignment
5) Review action items that are overdue or have the team stuck to come to a solution
6) Share client and employee feedback
Download the effective weekly meeting agenda.
Adjustment meetings are focused on the future and how the team can use their dashboards to have the right discussions to make necessary adjustments. Rather than individuals presenting updates, the whole team is contributing ideas and working together on solutions to achieve the company plan.
Status meetings only give a picture of what has already happened in the past that you can’t change. The focus in a weekly status meeting is on one individual giving a presentation of results or progress.
Think about the time you could be spending solving problems if you upgraded your weekly team meetings to problem solving meetings to make adjustments to your plan.
- Every quarter, you have 13 weekly meetings with your executive team
- Most teams meet for 2 hours for their weekly meeting.
- The average executive team member spends 26 hours each quarter in this one meeting.
- If 70% of that time is updating status, they’ve spent 2 full work days on updates.
Weekly Status Meeting
Status meetings are boring and a waste of time. They just don’t work. People come to them because they have to, not because they want to or find value in the time spent. They don’t think it helps them get the real work done. That doesn't mean that you should spend some time updating the team, but only in the context of what they need to improve the metrics for the company and aligning the team.
An effective status meeting can only work if you also spend time thinking about how the current status affects the actions that you will take in the future to make the project a success. The meeting facilitator should make sure that we don't get too bogged down in the details of the status and put any necessary information into the meeting minutes. The team leader should make this sharing of information productive and focus on how these learnings can help the future of the project. The purpose of the meeting isn't project management, meetings are ineffective if they cover ONLY status during the meeting.
80% of your time is spent updating your colleagues on the status of your projects, rather than solving problems in your weekly meeting.
The infographic below is a comparison of Weekly Adjustment Meetings and Weekly Status Meetings.
I hear time and time again from people that their meetings are a complete waste of time. In fact, they can often be a huge productivity killer. When I dig deeper, I can easily find out why. They typically don’t accomplish anything - the team gets together, but they don’t work on solving the problems facing the company. Team members often update the status of their pet projects, highlighting their accomplishments and glossing over the challenges. Many people get the feeling of Groundhog Day as they talk about the same topics time after time and never make any progress on the real, pressing issues facing the company. However, they don’t get the comedic genius of the great Bill Murray to keep them entertained during their problem solving meeting. It doesn’t have to be that way. There is a better way to run weekly <strong>problem solving meetings</strong> to get real work done in their team meeting.
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In my last blog, I talked about how most meetings suck. Now, I want to focus our energy on ways that we can fix them and have effective meetings. One of the biggest complaints that I hear about bad meetings is the lack of an agenda or getting it two minutes prior to the meeting. While having a meeting without an agenda is horrifying, I have attended several bad meetings that had a detailed agenda sent well ahead of time! The problem was that the agenda didn’t cover all of the areas that the company needed to discuss in order to grow their business. It isn’t just having an agenda; it is about having the right management meeting agenda template focused on solving problems.
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?