We’ve all heard that meetings are a waste of time. The truth is many of them can be but they don’t have to be. My goal as a leader is to make sure that meetings have a specific purpose and goal in mind.
In our organization, the management team has three specific types of meetings:
- Planning: yearly planning
- Improvement: ways to constantly improve
- Accountability: exploring how to keep everyone accountable
The Strategic Objective meeting is held one time per year, usually in October. The purpose of the meeting is to create the game plan for the following year.
Every leader discusses what has gone well over the previous year and what the plans are to keep those things moving forward. He or she will also discuss the challenges and opportunities faced and what they will focus on in the upcoming year. All the other leaders will listen and ask questions to get deeper insight into each department. As each leader speaks over the course of two days, we then begin a discussion on what is most critical for the success of each area. Once we agree, the next step is to clarify the objectives and the time frames for accomplishing those objectives.
Each leader will type up his or her plan and we meet one week later for a day when all the department heads present their full plans. There, we ask more questions, clarify a few more answers and then formalize the plan.
We will determine the major goals of the company and the GM will have a copy of everything we produced at the meeting.
Remember: if you have a plan but no one is held accountable, you might as well not have a plan.
The objectives will be reviewed at regular time frames every month.
The second type meeting is called The Get Better Team Meeting. I guess the name kind of says it all. Every 60 days we will meet with the key staff and discuss strategic areas of the business. We will review our vision, mission, core purpose, culture and core values. We review our reward systems and what areas of the business we need to improve. We’ll discuss the competitive environment and new programs that may be growing in our industry. For us this meeting typically lasts two days, but for many companies simply getting away from the business a few hours a month would be helpful. The key is to talk strategically and not focus on operations. We’ve all heard it before. We need to work on the business not in the business. When you focus on getting better, it becomes a very powerful tool to propel us into the future.
The third meeting we refer to as our Focus and Energy meeting. It’s held every Monday and usually lasts two hours. All leaders are present and every meeting has an agenda. This is where we do talk about operational issues and hold each other accountable for all of our objectives.
We all know winning teams stay focused on the goal. The true value of the meeting is to keep everyone moving in the same direction. I learned the hard way a long time ago that if we don’t all stay focused, it’s very easy for people to move in different directions.
My goal is to keep our company moving forward and we’ll do it as a team.