Jack walked into his weekly team meeting thinking, “I have so much to do. I can’t believe I am going to burn two hours today in this status meeting. I really need to get some real work done before my two sales appointments today.”
Most teams have a weekly team status meeting to get synced up and on the same page for the week. How’s yours? Do you feel like Jack sometimes? Are you thinking that you are about to waste the time in your 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. They don’t think it helps them get the real work done. They come because their managers told them they had to attend. The irony is that most managers think they need these status meetings because their teams need to sync up for the week. Managers also feel that they have better things to do than to come to a weekly status meeting.
So if managers come because of their teams, and team members come because their managers said so… who is really getting the value from these expensive weekly status meetings? Weekly status meetings are expensive. Your entire team is gathered in a room for one to two hours a week. What is the hourly rate of your team? That’s what you just spent on having a weekly status meeting, and that is not even counting the opportunity cost you lost with your team not getting the real work done as Jack was thinking about!
Most teams spend 70-80% of their weekly status meetings discussing status, hence the name. That’s why it’s boring.
How to transform your boring weekly synch meeting into a powerful problem solving meeting that will benefit everyone:
Tip 1: Prepare. In order to transform your status meeting into problem solving, everyone must first be prepared to discuss and solve problems. We must all commit to taking a bit of time to prepare, reflect on how each of us are doing, as well as how our teammates are doing. Then, we can come ready to engage in exciting conversation instead of sitting through mind-numbing status. I call this preparation Meeting With Myself.
Here’s your preparation checklist when you meet with yourself:
Tip 2: Use Red Yellow Green Dashboards. Use visual dashboards. I suggest having a 13-Week Dashboard, that can show you status of every week of the quarter. Then as your quarter progresses, you can see the trend of status. Are we solving problems and getting more successful or are we stuck week after week?
Tip 3: Look for Bright Spots. Bright Spots are victories that can be replicated and scaled across other parts of the company. Victories are good. Bright Spots are even better! These are few and far between and very hard to spot. If you do not intentionally look for these every week, you might miss them.
Tip 4: Commit to Action Items. During your weekly meeting, write down and commit to action items that come out of discussions. Write down the action, who owns it, and when it is going to get done. At the end of your weekly meeting, run through the action items and have each individual commit to getting it done. There is great power in committing publicly to the team to get your action items done.
Tip 5: Call it a Weekly Adjustment Meeting. There is so much power in what you choose to call this meeting. What you call it sets the tone and expectations of everyone that’s coming. If you don’t do anything else, at least change the name of your meeting to a Weekly Adjustment Meeting. We don’t need “death by status” anymore. We need to discuss solutions, and make the necessary and often critical adjustments in our execution so that we can achieve the objectives for the quarter. So let’s call it that!
Your weekly 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. Above is a chart (from my book Rhythm) showing you a bold comparison between a status meeting and an adjustment meeting.
Take action today! Transform your weekly meeting. And write to me and share your stories
Additional Rhythm Systems Meeting Resources:
Consider using Rhythm Software to run your weekly meeting, where the status and agenda are automatically created every week to keep you on track!