Meetings are critical to ensure your team is aligned and working toward the same priorities. Maximize your team productivity by following a meeting rhythm.
Setting the right rhythm for meetings drives productivity.
Communication is key when scaling up a business. Sustainable growth is possible only in a transparent environment, which is established via regular meetings in which all team members can communicate with each other and review progress.
Many businesses, however, find it difficult to establish a meeting rhythm that promotes productivity. Meetings can be a surprising waste of time — data assessing over 19 million individual meetings reveals that wasted meeting time costs businesses over $399 billion annually in the US alone.
Likewise, it is crucial to adopt a dynamic approach to the circumstances in which your business is currently evolving. Rearranging a successful meeting rhythm and proactive teamwork attitude must consider the new working foundations that COVID-19 has brought to the market and the way we communicate in our working environment.
Regularity and structure are key to executing an efficient meeting. Author Verne Harnish presents a detailed framework for running effective meetings in Scaling Up, focusing on the importance of setting a clear agenda, limiting meeting length and attendees and, most importantly, following a regular meeting rhythm.
Structuring the frequency with which your team attends meetings helps an organization to increase productivity and accelerate execution, reducing communication friction and wasted meeting time. We’ll proceed to run through each meeting type that can help your team run productive meetings and scale up by achieving strategic goals.
1. A Daily Meeting Rhythm
Clear lines of communication are established between team members by running a daily huddle. A daily huddle is a brief meeting that optimally runs for just 15 minutes, and involves all team members. Each team member present in a daily huddle meeting reports on a variety of factors to the group, which include:
- News relevant to the entire meeting group or company as a whole
- Status updates on three specific tasks and progress toward individual quarterly KPIs
- Any obstacles that are currently preventing the team member from completing tasks
- The top daily priority of the team member.
2. A Weekly Meeting Rhythm
Once per week, the daily huddle meeting is replaced by a weekly meeting. The weekly rhythm for meetings allows all team members along with the leadership team to attend. This meeting can involve executive team members that may meet separately prior to the weekly meeting in order to clarify agenda topics.
- A weekly meeting can run between 30 and 90 minutes, and should cover the following factors:
- A status assessment of progress toward the quarterly priorities of the company
- A detailed assessment of customer and employee survey feedback
- The discussion of 1-2 high-priority focus topics
Weekly meetings should be run in order to facilitate decision making, as opposed to daily huddle meetings that are designed to maintain open communication between team members.
3. A Fortnightly Meeting Rhythm
The fortnightly top task review meeting occurs every two weeks, and functions as a one-on-one meeting between a team member and their supervisor. In top task review meetings, supervisors will assess the progress of a team member toward their individual quarterly priorities.
- Fortnightly top task review meetings should take 30 minutes, and cover:
- A review of the team member’s previously completed top tasks
- The assignment of new top tasks for the next two weeks
- A discussion of personal achievements and current obstacles.
4. A Monthly Meeting Rhythm
Monthly meetings function as an opportunity for mid-level and senior leadership team members to discuss key issues that face the company and present potential solutions in a decision-making process.
- Monthly meetings should run 4-8 hours, and should cover the following issues in-depth:
- Leadership representatives from each department of the company will update the meeting group on the key outcomes and decisions made in the previous month’s meeting
- Brainstorming sessions with a focus on solving any new concerns or problems that have arisen
- Professional education, coaching, and training opportunities
- A review of the core ideology of the company
Monthly meetings also present the opportunity for leadership team members to share expertise or knowledge in a particular area with the group.
5. A Quarterly Leadership Meeting Rhythm
Quarterly rhythm of meetings should be split into two separate meetings — a leadership meeting, and a planning meeting. The quarterly leadership meeting should be run directly before the quarterly planning meeting, and allows the senior leadership team of a company to review its current performance and progress toward major objectives.
- A quarterly leadership meeting covers:
- The discussion of employee engagement survey results
- An assessment of the company’s progress toward it’s BHAG, or “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” as outlined in Verne Harnish’s Scaling Up
- The adjustment of KPIs, targets, and upcoming priorities as necessary.
6. A Quarterly Planning Meeting Rhythm
- Quarterly planning meetings can involve the entire team of a company or the senior leadership team only on an as-needed basis, but is often restricted to executive team members only. Quarterly planning meetings are typically run off-site, run for 8-10 hours, and cover the following factors:
- A review of company performance in the previous quarter
- The establishment of new targets and priorities for the next quarter
7. A Annual Meeting Rhythm
- An annual rhythm for meetings allows the team members of a company to reflect on its performance for the last year, and is generally limited to the leadership team. In an annual meeting, leadership team members review the long-term goals of a company and gauge employee perception in order to:
- Review company culture and employee satisfaction
- Determine annual targets and priorities for the next year
Meeting Rhythm is a Critical Strategic Discipline
The rhythm of meetings may vary depending on the individual needs of a company, but following a rigid meeting structure establishes a baseline rhythm that ensures all team members are aware of their current tasks and future goals.
Establishing a meeting rhythm promotes transparency and accountability within a company. In order to ensure meetings are effective, a company may choose to have meeting attendees rate the productivity of a meeting on a 1-10 scale at its conclusion. Collecting meeting productivity ratings in this manner allows the leadership team of a company to determine which meetings are effective.