Is your team waiting for the annual meeting to bring up logistical issues, bottlenecks, market trends and tactical problems? That doesn’t leave much time for the bigger picture topics that should be discussed in a once-a-year meeting.
If you’re looking to scale up your business, one of the best things you can do is to increase the frequency and consistency of your meetings. Having more regular meetings makes it easier to stay on track and achieve your goals.
Daily, weekly and monthly meetings are critical for keeping everyone aligned. The result is addressing problems faster and staying focused on the company’s objectives. By scaling up your meetings, you can ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction so that progress can be made towards your goals.
What is Scaling Up Your Business?
Scaling up your business means increasing the size of your company by expanding sales, employees, or operations. It can also mean becoming a national or international company.
Often, scaling up involves making changes to how the business is run, such as, improving processes or increasing efficiency. Scaling up can be a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity for businesses to grow and become more successful.
Here are some quick tips for scaling up your business:
– Evaluate your resources and capabilities
– Identify the key areas of the business that need to be scaled
– Set clear goals and targets
– Make a plan for scaling up each area of the business
– Manage change effectively
– Monitor progress and revise the plan as needed
The Benefits of Frequent and Routine Meetings
One of the most important aspects of scaling up a business, and one that often gets overlooked, are meetings. Productive team meetings help encourage and motivate the team to continue working together towards the common objectives. Why? Because frequent meetings help constantly remind the team of what those objectives are in the first place.
Meeting time is a precious resource that should not be wasted. By setting a routine, it becomes easier for everyone to attend. It also creates an expectation of accountability—which results in better goal attainment.
In frequent meetings, things are communicated quickly and accurately (because it’s still fresh in people’s minds) versus waiting for a monthly, quarterly, or dare I say it—annual meeting, to bring up minor issues.
Another benefit is that everyone hears the same messages in the meeting at the same time, so you don’t have to repeat the information over and over in separate one-on-one conversations or multiple emails.
As an added bonus, you’ll be reducing the amount of time spent on planning and scheduling the meetings because they’re already set at an established time.
What Meetings Should You Be Having?
Meetings are a key part of how teams operate. Face-to-face interactions provide an opportunity for members to share their thoughts on the current state or future plans and cover topics such as new opportunities or concerns regarding company strategy, culture, work load or team dynamic.
The first step in scaling up your company meetings is to decide how often the team should meet. This will depend on the business’ needs but daily, weekly, and monthly meetings are a good place to start. Once the frequency is decided, stick to it as much as possible. The key is consistency.
Gathering daily with the team is a key component in maintaining communication and building relationships. “Huddles” are the best way to make sure your team knows what’s going on with each other and how they can support one another.
The daily huddle is a quick way to cover topics and get information from your team that would otherwise be communicated in various time-consuming methods (like multiple email strings or tracking people down at the water cooler), which is NOT an efficient use of time.
For the daily huddle you will want more people in fewer meetings. You will have one person from management (or someone who is very disciplined) to facilitate, with the rest of the team present.
These should be shorter huddles (15-minutes or less) to focus on the specifics, which may vary depending on the goal of your meeting. This is not a meeting to get bogged down with discussing issues at length or trying to solve big organizational problems. However, you should have someone in charge of documenting those emerging issues so that they can be discussed in the weekly meeting–which we’ll get to next).
How Do I Execute?
Start off slow by having only the executive team meet. Then after the team is comfortable with the routine (usually about 2-4 weeks later) start having those leaders implement the meetings with their respective teams. Continue that ripple effect until everyone is on board.
Have your team stand for this one so they know it’s a quick in-and-out discussion. Try setting a timer for 15-minutes for the first few meetings to get everyone in the groove. After a few of these meetings don’t let it drag on longer than the allotted time.
Use one-on-one weekly sessions to help you identify opportunities and challenges before they become problems for everyone involved. This keeps issues at bay and prevents them from getting out of control.
Use these meetings to discuss progress on the main priority. If your daily meetings are doing their job right, many of the issues that would normally come up in the weekly will have already worked themselves out within the daily huddles.
Management and their respective teams need to be present for weekly meetings.
Allow 60-90 minutes for weekly’s. You will need to designate 30-60 minutes for communicating and creative thinking on one or two important topics. You’ll be surprised how assembling once a week will motivate your team to come prepared with problems that need to be solved or ideas to help grow the organization.
How Do I Execute?
Every week, have the group discuss and address the chosen topics (again, keep this to one or two). These topics can be things like the current state of the market, strategic concerns, new opportunities, roadblocks, etc.
If you’re not sure which topics to focus on, start having the meetings and you’ll notice trends in the items that come up over and over again. Then use that information to set the standards going forward. Be sure to cover last week’s notes and actions to hold people accountable
If you have a larger team, start out by having these meetings with leadership and management only. Once the routine is established, have your leadership team branch this out by having their own meetings with their respective teams.
A successful monthly meeting is going to include education, collaboration and critical thinking—not a monotonous review of reports.
You need an organized and structured monthly meeting with your management team so that information can be communicated from upper management to middle management. Not doing this will result in your middle management team being outgrown by the business and your executive leadership team drowning in challenges.
Anyone who supervises or manages the business in any way needs to attend this meeting. This means all senior, middle and frontline managers.
This meeting requires a half day to a full day to be effective.
How Do I Execute?
Pick a date for the entire team to meet (which is not always an easy task). Create a structured agenda for the day that includes data and numbers sharing, as well as review of the company’s vision, mission and values.
The bulk of the day should be designated to team collaboration on one or two larger issues that require more time and brainstorming. If you’re doing a full day don’t forget to schedule a short break in the morning, a team lunch, and a short break in the afternoon.
To close the meeting, go around the room and have everyone share a brief statement on what they enjoyed most about the meeting, what their biggest takeaway was, or something new that they learned that day.
Quarterly and Annual Meetings
Quarterly and annual meetings are best used for assessing what went well and what could be improved. The objective is to set goals for the coming quarter or year.
A well planned meeting will help you take stock of your company’s progress, identify any potential obstacles ahead, and set the tone for future success. If possible, it’s best to have this meeting facilitated offsite.
The entire team from upper to middle management and all employees within the company need to be in attendance.
Plan for a one-to-three day offsite meeting. For an annual meeting one day usually isn’t going to be enough.
How do I Execute?
These meetings require much more preparation than the frequent meetings. Aside from the logistics that go into selecting a date, time, location and theme, you will also need to do some preparation to achieve effective strategic planning at the meeting.
Prior to the gathering you will want to survey your leadership, employees, and even your customers to get their thoughts on your company’s strengths and where your business needs to go next. This will help bring ideas to light for changes that could be beneficial to the organization.
Consider having the executive leadership and middle management teams complete a SWOT analysis in advance. You will need to provide enough time for the data to be collected, analyzed and organized so that it can be shared and discussed in the meeting.
Make the Most of Your Meetings with These 9 Actionable Tips
Scaling up your business with more frequent meetings provides a more methodical approach towards achieving your goals.
The daily, weekly and monthly meetings keep the team focused and on track while quarterly and annual meetings keep the team informed on how the business is doing. All meetings ultimately provide a systematic environment for effectively planning future goals.
If you’re looking to scale up your meetings, there are a few things you can do to make it happen.
1) Be Consistent
Schedule a recurring day and time for your frequent meetings. This will make it easier for everyone to remember and attend. You will also want to keep the meeting structure the same each time to set expectations.
2) Establish the Standards
Your leadership team will need to determine what matters should be discussed during the meetings and share that information with the team. Starting out, you will need to remind the team what the focus is for each discussion (do this at the start of each meeting). It will take some time for your team to get used to the different structures. But long term there shouldn’t be any confusion about what topics are meant to be discussed in which meetings.
3) Come Prepared
One of the best ways to make sure your meetings are productive is to come prepared. That means knowing what you want to get out of the meeting, and having clear goals in mind. By having a set time and consistent agenda for meetings, both the team and the individual members can be more effective in their tasks.
4) Clarity is Key
It also helps to be familiar with the other participants, and know what they hope to achieve. If everyone comes into the meeting with a clear idea of what needs to happen, it will be much more productive.
5) Stay on Track
Keep the meetings focused. It can be tempting to allow the discussion to stray off topic, but if you want to get anything accomplished, it’s important to stay on track. If someone brings up a side issue that needs to be discussed, you can always table it for another meeting. With all that being said, some straying from time-to-time is fine for connecting on a human level and breaking away from the usual business niceties—just keep it to a minimum.
6) Hold Your Team Accountable
Accountability is critical, otherwise the meetings will not provide traction nor momentum. Create a system, such as the Who-What-When (WWW) system, to help your team keep track of what they’ve committed to.
To use the Who-What-When system, when an action item comes to light, that item becomes the “What”, then you assign the “Who”, and then you select a due date for the “When”. These WWW’s are documented and then reviewed and updated weekly. Using this system provides a visual so that everyone can see what they’re responsible for and when it’s due for completion. The best part is—no one will want to show up to a meeting without their tasks completed in front of the rest of the group. So it’s the process that holds your team accountable rather than the manager. Now that’s a win-win!
7) Be Objective
When it comes time for brainstorming ideas, don’t count anything out and don’t be surprised if some are better received than others. Everyone has something unique that could contribute positively towards growth.
8) Follow Up
Don’t forget to follow up after the quarterly or annual meetings. Send out an email with action items and next steps, and make sure everyone is clear on their role in moving forward. Meetings are only productive if they lead to tangible results, so following up is critical for some meetings.
9) Mix it Up
Don’t be afraid to mix things up from time to time. Incorporate some humor, morale boosting tactics or find ways to bring some humanity into your meetings. Have the meeting at a different location every once in a while, bring in a box of donuts one morning, or have a walking meeting on a nice day to keep the blood flowing during your conversation and take advantage of the nice weather.
Scaling up your meetings doesn’t have to mean boring or repetitive – mixing in new topics or activities can keep everyone engaged and excited about attending.
Ready to start Scaling Up Your Business Meetings?
Scaling up your business can be a daunting task, but following these tips for implementing more frequent and consistent meetings will make them more meaningful for your business.
So if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, this is a simple change that can make a big difference in your ability to reach your goals.
If you’re not sure how to move forward with a plan of action that works for your business, an executive coach can provide guidance. At Champion PSI we specialize in Scaling Up businesses with productive meetings and beyond. Contact us today for a free Scaling Up assessment.