Last blog Why Meeting Rhythms are a Critical Strategic Discipline we captured why weekly meetings are so important, providing a little tease on why, what and how to conduct this centerpiece of aligning discipline that stirs growth in your business.
Today we’ll look at some additional components and key points to conducting a solid weekly meeting. A recommended agenda is included in Run an Effective Weekly Meeting.
A quick formula for a successful weekly meeting:
- Focus on the company
- Focus on you
- Focus on the customer
We covered some of the aspects of focusing the company in our previous blog. Let’s look at focus on you.
Dashboards speed up the process of focusing on you. You can move through your meetings much faster with a visual scorecard with success criteria, red, yellow, green so as to quickly determine which priorities need attention. With Collective Intelligence scheduled as the last stop in the weekly meeting focused on a big rock: company issues, problems or bottlenecks, by getting through the front end of the meeting fast your team has more time to dedicate to solving these type of challenges and thus getting unstuck. A good barometer on weekly meetings should be 20-30% reporting individual status, with 70-80% on solving problems. You can resolve a lot of issues if your team is investing 40-45 minutes of each hour weekly meeting time on key problems the company is having.
The next step is to focus on the customer, which should also include your employees. It’s important to stay balanced between productivity drivers like sales, productivity and cash flow with these people or relationships. You need to get both quantitative and qualitative data, and the best way to get unfiltered data from the customer is speaking to them yourself.
Gazelles and Positioning Systems has long recommended each leadership team member contact a minimum of one customer a week and report your findings at your weekly executive team meeting. Here are our suggested questions to ask when calling a customer, although several of our Rockefeller Habits customers have adapted this to their industry and lengthen or shortened the questions depending on their desire to get information.
- How are you doing?
- What’s going on in your industry/neighborhood?
- What do you hear about our competitors?
- How are we doing?
Always as how the customer feels you’re doing last. Bringing this up too early makes it appear that your call is self-serving. You never know what important information you can get by getting the customer to speak first about their dreams and goals. The value you gain is incredible simply by contacting one customer a week. You not only gain valuable customer feedback, you build customer rapport and the feedback is something you cannot attain any other way.
Remember in our previous blog we discussed Pattern Recognition. Within One Quarter you should be able to spot some trends in your customer’s comments. We suggest having someone in charge of customer advocacy. This person should be in charge of putting this type of qualitative and also your quantitative customer information in a report each month.
Meetings require alignment. You won’t get much value out of weekly meetings if you haven’t established an annual or a quarterly list of priorities.
Verne Harnish often compares growth companies to jazz bands. There’s a lot of improvisation going on, but the best are driven by a defined structure and rhythm. Effective team meetings provide communication clarity; embrace the power of focus collective intelligence to help leverage the power of peer pressure. The results are the ability to maximize opportunities and relieve bottlenecks quickly and effectively.
The diagram on the left illustrates the optimal meeting rhythm for a growth company. Most companies do annual and quarterly meetings, where you measure your progress toward the year end goals or set new goals.
Daily meetings should focus on where you are today and every employee needs to be in one of these daily meeting huddles. Most companies take too long in meetings and get little done. Daily Huddles are designed to communicate in a few minutes where you are and what you need to be aware of on a daily basis. These are not for side conversations. Surprisingly, when you start doing a daily meeting you get into the swing of it and a meeting can take only fifteen minutes. In fact most of our customers get through their daily huddle in less than ten minutes. In this time frame there is plenty of time for each person to report about their information. For more details on the daily huddle check out Essential Meeting - Daily Huddle.
Weekly meetings should focus on improving what we do and most employees should be in a few of these longer meetings. Weekly meetings can take 60-90 minutes as they are dealing with on-going projects and deal more in-depth with the company priorities. We provided a link to this essential meeting rhythm at the front end of the blog.
Monthly meetings should focus on gathering your team for 4 hours and wrestling one important issue to the ground. These make require 4-8 hours as there are more people and you are delving into the specific of each company function in detail. We recommend one hour dedicated to learning or education. The monthly meeting is detailed more in Missing Discipline - Monthly Meeting Solution.
Quarterly meetings should focus on alignment of your team, review and ensure all your Core Values are alive and discuss the top three priorities of the company. Your preparation for this meeting should be your start, stop, and keep doing list. You should bring examples of Core Value stories to share and then discuss the top three issues the company is sharing. We provided a quarterly planning meeting agenda in Effective Quarterly Meeting Planning.
That’s a quick review of meeting rhythms and the how, why and what of this Strategic Discipline.
If you’ve not picked up Verne’s book Scaling Up, you’re not only missing some excellent resources to help grow your business you’re also missing examples of how companies have effectively utilized Gazelles and Rockefeller Habits to grow their business. The sections on Customer and Employee feedback are replete with ideas and examples. We’ll explore some of the best examples that you can apply to your business next blog.