With thanks to the Gazelles Growth Institute for permission to republish this blog
Not to sound like a broken record going on and on about “meetings”, but the importance placed on them simply can’t be overstated. There’s an entire chapter in Verne Harnish’s book dedicated to it (read about the rest of the Rockefeller Habits here). His idea is firm: regular team check-ins are undeniably important.
Verne’s written about daily huddles and how that alone can change your organisation’s environment for the better. In this article, he talks, and goes in-depth, about Weekly Meetings.
Just a quick recap on the 4 different meetings that he encourages every organization to practice:
- The daily huddle. A 5-15 minute meeting to discuss tactical issues and provide updates. [Read the article here]
- The weekly meeting. A 60-90 minute discussion to review progress on the quarterly priorities and address one or two main topics.
- The monthly management meeting. A half-day or full-day meeting, in which all senior, middle, and frontline managers come together to learn and collaboratively address one or two big issues.
- The quarterly and annual planning meetings. A 1-3 day offsite meeting where leaders establish the next quarterly and/or annual theme.
The difference between The Daily Huddle and Weekly Meetings
This might be obvious, as one happens daily and the other weekly, but you’ll be surprised how often the two can intermingle.
The daily huddle is for everyday issues and updates that pop up. You go in, share, and you’re out — this way everyone is informed on what’s happening. You don’t want to go into a weekly meeting trying to address issues that have accumulated over the week.
Weekly Meetings focus on your #1 Priority (which I assume you have set prior) and the big rocks supporting that mission.
In this meeting, you want to tap the collective intelligence of the team for 30 to 60 minutes on one or two important topics. This gives your organisation an opportunity to resolve 50 to 100 important things in a year and bring you closer to your #1 Priority.
So start with daily huddles, because as mentioned previously, this leads to immediate action on many issues that will later clog up weekly meetings. Once you have a good rhythm going with the daily huddles, only then will the weekly meetings be beneficial.
The long-term benefits of weekly meetings
- Weekly Meetings are very action-oriented meetings focused on addressing key issues and making decisions, not mind-numbing reviews. In turn, this focuses on the key issues and how they should be dealt with in order to reach your goals.
- Since Weekly Meetings are attended by both executives and frontline employees, it has the power to resolve dozens of issues right on the spot. If a press release needs approval, everyone that needs to make that decision is there to review and resolve it in minutes.
- Keep everyone connected and up-to-date with what is happening in the company.
- Slowly but surely move you towards your #1 Priority.
How to execute your weekly meetings like a pro
Meetings can run long, and if not executed properly, can be a waste of everyone’s time. So this part’s important: you need to run a right ship. Stay on topic and you’ll finish everything within your hour and a half.
5 minutes: Share good news.
Sharing good news — both professional and personal not only creates a positive start to the meeting, but also lets people connect on a human level with one another.
10 minutes: The priorities.
Review the status of your pre-set priorities and discuss any gaps in progress. Also, review any metrics not reported in the daily huddles.
10 minutes: Customer and employee feedback.
This is the time to review specific feedback from customers and employees. What issues are cropping up day after day? What are people hearing?
NOTE: This first 25 minutes is the warm-up. It allows you to share enough internal and external data to help the team see patterns and trends in the performance of the company. The next 30 to 60 minutes are designated for putting the team’s collective intelligence to work and making important decisions.
30 to 60 minutes: One or two topics.
This is where we get to the crux of the matter. Focus on one or two key topics. You can either pick your topic based on patterns and trends from the daily huddles, progress on your priorities/theme, feedback from your employees and customers, and/or the opportunities and challenges that have surfaced.
Other topics to discuss in this time slot include:
- Potential partnerships.
- Any major upcoming event that needs decisions made.
Sometimes it helps to prepare a topic in advance and email it to everyone the night before.
Who, What, When (WWW)
Just before the meeting ends, take a few minutes to summarize, “Who said they are going to do What, and When,” and email the notes to everyone. This makes sure everyone is on the same page.
Finally, close your meeting by asking each person for one word or phrase of reaction that sums up the meeting. This gives you insight to what everyone’s thinking and feeling and if you do sense any lingering issues or conflicts, you can follow-up later.
Weekly CEO one-pager
This step is optional, but CEOs are encouraged to send out a weekly one-pager to all employees updating them on the status of the #1 Priority and other significant developments inside the company and the industry.
It might sound trivial, but employees want to hear from their top leader and appreciate the sense of being informed by this kind of report.
Tips to keep things smooth sailing
- The Schedule — Make sure to schedule the meeting for the same time and place each week.
- Set aside 30 minutes for frontline employees, 60 to 90 minutes for middle and executive teams.
- For teams that are far flung, make sure everything you need for a clear conference call is working smoothly so you don’t waste precious time during the meeting.
- Pick one day a week for all your meetings instead of spreading it out throughout the week. For example, FedEX and Walmart both have set Fridays as their meeting days and conduct all their functional meetings on this one day.
- Ideally, weekly meetings will end right before lunch or happy hour so executives can have a more informal setting in which to discuss issues that surface during the structured part of the meetings.