Meetings can be the most effective way to foster great communication throughout a company. Unfortunately, meetings are frequently viewed as a waste of time or as a distraction from getting real work done.
I have talked to many leaders in different industries; almost universally, they saw a benefit in having fewer meetings, not more. They were not entirely wrong. In many organizations, meetings really are a waste of time and absolutely worthy of a high performer’s disdain.
However, when done properly, meetings can help you save time, solve problems, and boost profitability. Here are eight meetings that accomplish those goals.
#1: The Daily Huddle
As the name suggests, these occur every day, and every team member participates in one. There is no set rule about who belongs in what huddle. You can do it by division or by team.
The purpose of the huddle is to quickly run through what is going on with each person. Each person takes a turn reporting on their key numbers, their successes, what they are focused on today, and what they might be stuck on.
#2: Level 10 Meetings™
These weekly meetings follow a set format: report on successes, review key numbers and scorecards, review 90-days goals, share news and headlines, and review the to-do lists from previous meetings. Each of these sections should take no more than five minutes.
The final part of the Level 10 Meeting is when you dive into actually solving issues. This may run forty-five minutes to an hour or more. This is when each team member can bring forward any issues they are grappling with so they can tap into the power of the team to find a way to solve them.
#3: Pipeline Meetings
Conducted twice a week, pipeline meetings hold each team member accountable for their piece of the process. When people know they’re going to have to report on the status of something or someone moving through a pipeline, it forces them to up their game.
Not only are they going to be held to a higher level of personal accountability, but being in a pipeline meeting helps them understand how important their role is in achieving the goal. It helps each person see how they are an important part of a much larger process.
#4: Monthly Alignment Huddles
In this one-on-one meeting with their supervisor, the team member shares their personal and professional successes and reports on any to-dos they had on their list from the previous alignment huddle. They also share any professional or personal issues they want to address, big or small.
The goal of this meeting is to build a deep relationship between the team member and their supervisor. This entire meeting will generally take around thirty minutes.
#5: Full Alignment Meetings
The format for the full alignment meeting is the same for the alignment huddle, with one additional focus. During this meeting, you and your report will focus on the team member’s development plan, understanding their big goals and aspirations as well as the immediate goals and challenges.
Conducted twice per year, it should take ninety minutes to two hours (plus the time spent reviewing and updating the alignment report prior to the meeting). It’s a good way to make sure the team member is on the right track, and it also builds trust between you both.
#6: Performance Evaluations
The twice-yearly performance evaluations should focus on the team member’s performance, their development plan, and performance goals. It is the leader’s job to provide open and candid feedback on areas where improvements are needed, along with a review of responsibilities and expectations.
Additionally, leaders should highlight how the team member has improved or any of their great accomplishments since the last performance evaluation. This meeting will take ninety minutes to two hours, in addition to a similar amount of time by both the team member and the leader to prepare for the meeting and complete the evaluation.
#7: Driven for Greatness
At my company, we have a Driven for Greatness meeting every other week. Essentially, it’s a book club. Each team member downloads the selected book on Audible and listens to it on their own time. We have two discussions a month around each book, each led by a different team member.
It’s a great opportunity for people who are focused on growth and learning to be surrounded by other people who have similar interests. It’s also a way for team members who are on different sides of the company to build close friendships.
#8: Quarterly Clarity Sessions
Every quarter, my executive team and I conduct a focused clarity session that lasts anywhere from five to ten hours. We spend most of our time—as much as three or four hours—during the session solving issues.
We often spend two or more hours setting the next quarter’s goals, and we spend generally around thirty minutes to an hour reviewing our performance on the relevant quarter’s goals. The last significant part of the clarity session is usually spent on people—how we plan to resolve our people issues, what roles we are hiring for, and how to develop our high-potential team members.
This article was adapted from the book, Building an Elite Organization, written by Don Wenner.
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