How to Make Team Meetings More Effective
Team meetings are 100% a necessary part of running a business, but that doesn’t mean every single one is productive. In fact, one study shows 47% of meetings are seen as unproductive by employees.
In my experience, working with owner-managed businesses, team meetings are often seen as a waste of time or unnecessary because they are not efficient or effective.
So, while team meetings, by their nature, are critical to the success of any business, it’s essential to make them as efficient and effective as possible – especially if you are self-employed or run a small business.
How many of us have sat in a meeting and then left it, only to realise nothing has been achieved? How can you stop this and ensure your team meetings fulfil their purpose rather than waste time?
I’ve developed a framework that helps keep your team meetings on track and productive, which I’ll share below. In order to make the most of your team meetings, you need to plan and run them with these ideas in mind. Before we run through them, some general tips for every team meeting include:
- Set strict start and end times, and don’t allow meetings to overrun.
- Create an agenda using the concepts I talk through below.
- Have a dedicated note-taker or similar function to ensure all actions are written down and then delegated.
It’s also important to note that I always advise having a weekly team meeting. So this blog assumes that you are having weekly team meetings.
The core concepts below should be part of every team meeting and instilled in every team member.
KPIs and Dashboard Review
If you’ve followed my other advice in my strategic planning article, you’ll know I think value can only ever be realised when proper goal tracking is in place.
Each team meeting should involve a round of review where those responsible for any trackable metrics or KPIs issue a run-down on their progress. This should include what the data is, what it indicates and any actions that are required as a result. Those actions should then be agreed upon and assigned immediately, wherever it’s possible to do so.
Client, Customer and Team Headlines
Dedicate part of the team meeting to a reporting round-up where you can discuss any issues or insights from customer, client or team interactions.
This could be good news, like a new client win, a customer success story, or an issue requiring action to resolve. In some cases, you could also use headlines to inform the team of a problem that has already been fixed but has learnings worth sharing.
I’d also recommend using part of the headline portion of a meeting to highlight particularly good work from employees or holidays/personal life updates that will impact the team.
One Week at a Time
Meetings that are too broad or ambitious will often lead to failure – you can’t expect to plan an action due in two months’ time, as new developments and tasks will inevitably distract from that action and lead to it being actively abandoned or accidentally forgotten.
Instead, focus on the week ahead. Review your internal projects and key service delivery areas for the week. Do you have any particular events coming up, or any important promotions, social media campaigns or content marketing going live? How can the team help amplify or assist?
This is a chance not only to welcome feedback and input, but also to assign tangible responsibilities for the next week. Everything you cover in this segment should be accompanied by an associated responsible team member and a trackable output.
Issues List Review
Issues are often a sensitive thing in a business, especially if you’re the director and the business is ‘your baby’. Employees and team members may spot issues that they feel need attention, but fail to alert you to them for fear of reprimands. You can’t afford to live in an echo chamber – a business needs feedback to improve, and if you’re only ever using your own opinion, you’ll never grow.
Issue lists come from the book called Traction by Gino Wickman. He says that, “Most…teams spend their time discussing the heck out of everything but rarely solving anything”.
During every team meeting, run through the issue list and allow it to become a safe space for employees or contractors to share their insights. Don’t hold anyone accountable for a specific issue; treat it as a way to allow the team to voice their opinion.
The key is to always ask “What is the real issue?” Getting to the core of what the real issue is, is the important part of this agenda item.
Then you need to decide what are the short-term (in the next week) actions that need to be delegated to start to resolve this issue. If it is a longer-term issue, it remains on the list to be discussed each week until it is resolved.
Once an issue is resolved (or appears to be resolved), it is striked off the issues list. In this way, the weekly team meeting is always focussed on the most pressing issues.
If an issue is brought up that isn’t immediately important or urgent, it remains on the list and is prioritised to discuss at a future date when it does become important or urgent.
If you’d like to know more about managing teams and scaling, why not get in touch with me right now? I’m always happy to help businesses learn more about effective resource management and how to plan ahead to support scaling.
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