Don’t Be Afraid of Meetings
This month I want to cover meetings and how to make them more powerful. Some people hate meetings and some people just love them. Lots of reasons for both groups to feel the way they do, but my guess is that most people who hate them have not really been a part of a regular well-run meeting. In a productive meeting that accomplishes its objective, it would be surprising to me that attendees that are participating and engaged would hate that kind of meeting.
If you or your people hate meetings maybe, it’s time to look at the execution of the meeting. Does the meeting have an objective statement and an agenda? Does everyone in the room need to be there? Is everyone who needs to be there invited and attending?
If you have not read Gino Wickman’s Traction, I recommend it. It not only helps you with overall business operational guidelines but also on the important meetings a company should have and how to rate them a 10 every time. The book calls them Level 10 meetings and outlines the agenda for each meeting.
There are all kinds of meetings in our business. We have one at 8:45 am and one at 5pm every day that we call “huddles,” one is operational, the other sales. These are quick 5 to 15 minute catch up calls that are done daily. We also have a weekly manager’s meeting, Tech Team Leads meeting, and Sales Team Meetings. Our Managers have quarterly meeting to plan the next quarter’s goals, our tech committee has monthly meetings to stay on top of our company’s technical needs, and our entire company comes in quarterly for an All-Hands meeting. And no, I do not believe we have too many meetings. Each meeting has an objective and an agenda, we know why we are there and how we are going to execute the meeting. Each meeting moves the company and each of its members forward toward our company’s predetermined goals for success.
I hold a weekly meeting with our sales and marketing team and every week we read the exact same statement before we start the meeting. It sounds corny, but it is amazing how it gets us all in the right frame of mind to get rolling. A big take-away from reading this out loud every week is to keep our discussion focused. Here is a sample “The purpose of the sales meeting is to manage the process of sales in an honest way. To look at activity and results so we can stay focused and make adjustments…the meeting is not for sales people or owners to justify poor results or to discuss excuses why goals have not been met. The goal is to focus on the discipline, process, strategy, and tactics to increase sales.” This is just part of the full 4 paragraph statement but hopefully it gives you a taste of it. In each meeting, we focus on our successes and acknowledge our weaknesses so that we can constantly be improving.
We start each Level 10 Manager’s meeting by sharing good news. This helps get us start off on a positive note and it helps us grow as a team. It’s like a little team building exercise inserted into every meeting. It is tough at first and some weeks it is really challenging to come up with stuff to share. It is so easy to think of the challenges and things that are not working in life and business, but it is far more difficult to find the good news in life.
If you are part of a meeting at work or somewhere else that is not running well, another idea to think about is who is in the meeting and sometimes who is not in the meeting. Maybe there are people in your organization who are not in the meeting that would bring tremendous value but were over looked because their title or history with the company was perceived as insufficient to be invited. Maybe it’s time to reconsider it. Maybe there are people in the meeting who need to be uninvited. This one is tougher. One of my peers struggled with this one a few months back because they were concerned about just kicking one or two out of the meeting and hurting their feelings or disrupting morale in the work place. They decided to cancel the entire meeting. A few weeks later, they just created a new meeting at a new time and day with the members they wanted in the group. Whatever it takes make sure the right people are in the room.
As we enter the final quarter, are you and your team in the lead to making 2018 a winning year? Have you been successful in your quarterly goals? Monthly goals? Daily? Maybe you need quality meetings to help align the team on the same page with one another.
What hurdles have you gone through? What were the wins? I’d love to hear more about your path for making this a winning year and any meeting tips you would like to share!