Are you finding that your leadership team meetings fail to produce the desired results? Are people not being heard, or are they simply wasting time? If so, it may be time to rethink how you conduct these meetings. In this blog post, I’ll show you how to make your leadership team meetings effective. Follow these tips, and you’ll see an improvement in both the quality and productivity of your team meetings.
Leadership Team Meetings Matter
The leadership team meeting is about aligning the business and progressing to your goals. Small companies become successful through the drive of the business owner. They make all the decisions, drive the business forward, and have the entire organization’s pulse. At some point, though, the company gets too big to be managed that way. The owner finds they need a team of leaders around them to move the organization forward effectively. And that is where the risk creeps into the equation.
The risk is in how well the business owner can ensure that their vision, strategies, and organizational priorities are communicated and executed through the leadership team to the rest of the organization. It is not about micromanaging the organization but about informing and reinforcing a framework for decision-making aligned with where the owner wants the organization to go. The leadership team meeting is the structure through which the business owner supports that framework and gets the information they need to make adjustments as necessary. The message can be lost if the leadership team isn’t meeting regularly and communicating openly. That slows momentum and sows confusion.
Run Your Leadership Team Meetings the Right Way
Now that you are planning leadership team meetings, it’s time to think about how you will run them. I love to talk about being intentional, and your sessions need to be just that. The purpose of the leadership team meeting is to get crucial information and updates on the table, discuss them, and make decisions as necessary.
The first piece of a successful leadership team meeting is to have an agenda. Each team member should let the leader know what topics they need to discuss and what input or decisions they need help with. The first item on that agenda, though, is to focus the team on the business’s long-term vision and annual goals. It may sound silly, but it puts the entire meeting in context. And then move to and stick with the agenda. Each agenda item should be time-bound. Create a separate time to discuss it if you can’t resolve it.
The second part of running a successful team meeting is having a set of ground rules. They set expectations around timeliness, focus, and issue resolution. Why do these even matter? They matter because, at some point, the meeting will start to slide. If half your team is checking email, then they are not present in the meeting. I know leaders who don’t allow devices in the leadership team meeting. If key people are late, you find yourself revisiting topics and wasting the time of those who were prompt. And how will you handle disagreements and differences of opinion? It helps to know that in advance.
Do not create your leadership team meeting rules in a vacuum. Develop them as a team, discuss them, and ensure everyone has a voice. Rules can evolve as your business grows.
Close the Meeting Effectively
We’ve discussed why the meeting is essential and the best way for you to run the meeting. Why does it matter how you end the session? As it turns out, it matters quite a lot.
The first thing to do is to ensure that you have a meeting rule around how you come to and communicate decisions. It’s a rare organization where you have 100% agreement on every decision. A meeting rule stating “80% agreement is 100% commitment” moves you forward. Why? It means you should strive to get 80% consensus on every decision. More importantly, the decision requires a 100% commitment from the team. Whether they agree with the decision, every team member will be on board with it.
Second, document the outcomes, follow-up, and commitments from the meeting. Have someone in the room who only takes notes and records the decisions. It ensures that there is no misinterpretation of a discussion or decision. And it provides a reference to go back to if you have to revisit the decision and will be a crucial part of any after-action review.
Finally, there should be an agreement on how you will communicate decisions to the rest of the organization. Will each member of the leadership team share it with their respective team? Or will there be a broad, written communication to the team? What are the major talking points that you will have? Remember, every decision in the leadership team meeting requires 100% commitment from the attendees, and you will want to communicate that effectively.
These Meetings Don’t Have to Waste Time
Are you tired of wasting time in ineffective meetings? Do you want to run your leadership team meetings more effectively? If so, download our free guide, Ten Rules for Better Meetings. These ten rules will help you make the most of your time together and ensure that everyone leaves the meeting feeling productive and focused. Implementing these tips will lead to better outcomes in your leadership team meetings!