Are your internal meetings productive, meaningful and exciting? Or are they ineffective, pointless and dull? If your business is like many others, your meetings look more like the latter. If you are ready to hold meetings that matter, that get things done — that you look forward to attending — then read on.
When I ask leadership teams to rate the effectiveness of their internal meetings on a scale of 1-10, I get an average of about 4. Yikes! What if you could get that number to a 8, 9 or even a 10? It can be done by using a proven, effective and simple Meeting Pulse and what we call the Level 10 Meeting.
♦ Meetings occur on the same day and time every week. No exceptions. These must be sacred to the Leadership Team.
♦ Meetings ALWAYS start and end on-time. This prevents meetings from collapsing on one another.
♦ Meetings follow a defined agenda, and the majority of that time (60 minutes of a 90-minute meeting) is dedicated to solving issues.
The agenda begins with a segue. This allows your team to both start on positive note and transition from working in the business to working on the business. After the segue, move to reporting. There is no discussion or explanation at this point. This keeps the meeting from being bogged down in the reporting phase. If a number or goal is off-track, “drop it down” to the Issues List and move on to the “To-do’s” from the previous week. To-do’s are identified as either done or not done. Next is the Issues List — this is where the work gets done. Finally, with about 10 minutes left the meeting is concluded. Let’s dive a little deeper into each agenda topic:
♦ Segue: Each team member shares their best personal and professional news in the last week (5 minutes).
♦ Reporting: In an EOS company this consists of three parts: Rocks, Scorecard, and Headlines. If your company is not utilizing EOS, use this time to determine if you are hitting the goals and metrics needed to achieve your annual goals (15 minutes).
a. Rocks (the most important goals for the quarter) and Scorecard (the handful of key weekly metrics tracked needed to reach your year-end goals)-are they on or off track? Off-track items are moved to the Issues List.
b. Headlines: These are customer or team member headlines-good and bad news or events. Anything that warrants further discussion is dropped down to the Issues List.
♦ To-do’s: These are action items assigned during the previous weekly meeting. Each to-do has an assigned owner and is reported as either “done” or “not done”. Not done issues can be dropped down if discussion is needed. 90 percent of these or better should be falling off the agenda as done each week (5 minutes).
♦ Issues List: Here is the work section. A process called I.D.S. is essential to making this agenda item effective. Identify. Discuss. Solve. Where many teams fall short is in the first step: be deliberate and identify the core issue and don’t jump right to discussing (and then proceed to discuss to death with no resolution because no specific issue was identified). This agenda item typically will last 30-60 minutes depending on your meeting length. Here’s the process:
a. Prioritize! Begin by quickly choosing the top 3 issues that need to be solved this week and label them 1, 2 and 3.
b. Then I.D.S. them one at a time. Dig deep to identify each issue, discuss them and determine a solution.
c. Generally an action item or a to-do comes from this and is assigned to a member of the team and is carried over to next week’s agenda.
d. As time allows (leaving 10 minutes to Conclude), repeat steps a-c.
♦ Conclude: Meetings always end on time. The following steps assure everyone is on the same page:
a. Review the new “to-do’s” assigned to assure everyone understands and is on the same page.
b. Determine any cascading communication that needs to filter down into your staff: specify how, who and when that communication will take place.
c. Have each member rate the meeting on a scale of 1-10 and provide feedback. This will help you improve and get better each week.
Hold each other accountable and avoid “tangents” (we actually will say “tangent alert” when this happens) that take your team off path. It is vital to foster a culture of trust and vulnerability that allows people to bring issues to the table and discuss them openly. Be patient. Like most new things, this can feel awkward initially. But in no time new behaviors will develop and you will wonder how you ever did it any other way!
Are you ready to have a Level 10 Meeting?
Cheri Dudek-Kuhn is a Professional EOS Implementer and CEO for Orchard Corset. Read her leadership blogs at cheridudek.com/category/latest-news.