These meetings will be the mechanism that keeps your company working like clockwork. They should always start on time, ideally taking place at the same time, on the same week day, every week – without fault. Attendance should be mandatory for all members, save those who are away on holidays, or kept away from work by extraordinary exceptions.
A good duration to aim for is 90 minutes. Any longer than that and you risk losing people’s attention. Adhering to a well-defined agenda is recommended. That way everyone involved will always know what is expected of them. The initial five minutes should serve as an introduction, to get everyone focused on the task at hand. All mobile phones and laptops are put away, minimising distractions. Only one person may keep their device open: whoever is running the meeting (usually the Integrator).
Once the introduction is out of the way, each member shares their expectations for the meeting. This can be anything, such as wanting to discuss an issue they are facing or wanting an update from a specific department. This step allows everyone to know what the others are hoping to get out of the meeting.
Next, the Integrator brings up the Scorecard. This is an Excel sheet that tracks all the important variables concerning the company’s management, such as: number of meetings; number of closed deals; number of new hires; cash balance; among others. The team then checks the weekly numbers. Every week, a new row is added to the scoreboard and new data is introduced, creating a transparent log of the company’s activities. These numbers are not analysed, however; only scanned through. This way, everyone is kept up to date regarding the company’s situation, while keeping the check-up brief.
At this point the Rocks (the quarterly goals) are checked. There will usually be 3 to 5 such goals at this level. Once again, there is no discussion, only a reminder on their status. These goals are incredibly important. They are set on a quarterly basis, because people generally have a hard time focusing on goals longer than a quarter-year. Thus, these goals are stepping stones that keep the company working towards the Yearly goal.
The following step is to share a Customer or Employee Headline, which should work on a volunteer basis. Each team member will step up to share an experience they’ve had, be it positive or negative. Perhaps a co-worker helped them out with an issue they were having. Maybe they underwent a learning experience, when something did not work out as planned. These highlights serve to keep folks in the loop and relay important experiences.
Moving on, we arrive at the to-do list, which is in the same excel sheet as mentioned above. This list comprises the various tasks that were distributed among team members, who is responsible for doing what, the date when the task was added, the due date, and its status. The Integrator will scan through the unfinished tasks, checking whether they were accomplished or not. This calls for black and white answers. Done or not done, with no room for discussion. Checking the to-do list should not take more than five minutes.
Now we reach the meat of the meeting: the issue list. This stage should have 60 minutes allotted to it. We recommend utilizing the following methodology: Identify, Discuss, Solve. First, you identify all the issues that are being faced by the team members. One way of speeding up the identification process is to have each member prepare their own list before the meeting starts. That way listing them off becomes much easier, giving you more time to tackle the other stages. Take the time to seek out the root of every issue. Some are harder to nail down than others.
You should then prioritize them numerically. This is because you may not be able to tackle everything in one sitting. By prioritizing them, you know where to begin, and if you do not have enough time, you can simply pick them back up the following week.
Once that is done, you discuss the issues with the management team, working out the details and how these issues are impacting them and the company at large. Finally, you brainstorm solutions so that you might solve the issues. Often, solutions will generate new tasks that will have to be delegated out to those responsible for tackling them. This structure allows you to not only solve problems, but also have very efficient team meetings, keep people in the loop, while giving folks room to work in their specific area of expertise and be responsible for their actions.
With the issue list taken care of, or if time has expired, the Integrator will wrap the meeting up: the to-do list is recapped; you discuss whether there is anything important that needs to be done; the next team meeting is scheduled. Finally, everyone rates the meeting on a scale of 1 to 10. Every team member must issue a rating, which is recorded so that you can keep track of the meeting’s progress over time. This facilitates maintaining a productive meeting culture.
Organized in this manner, you will be running along an efficient framework that promotes a healthy working environment. Your company will be anchored on a system that tracks all the important variables, readily addresses problems, and ensures optimal cooperation and information flow within the company.