How to make the most of meetings

imo-blogGood meetings are the nerve centers of a good organization.  Here are the three meetings every organization should have – and how to make yours better, according to leadership coach Tom Cox.

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Good meetings are the nerve centers of a good organization.  Here are the three meetings every organization should have – and how to make yours better.

Meeting 1 – the Daily Huddle
* Duration: 5 to 15 minutes.
* Purpose: Prepare operations team for the day; share last minute changes; ensure consistent execution

* Key Question: What’s going to prevent perfect execution today, and how do we overcome it?
How to conduct this meeting

Standing in a circle, follow this agenda:
1. Team Victory – what’s one good thing that happened yesterday, either in or because of our group? (1 minute)
2. Result Metrics from yesterday – report the same 1-3 key numbers every single day. These should be posted visibly nearby. (1 minute)
3. What are the last minute changes that will impact us today (absent coworker, late change request, supplier shortage) and how will we adjust? (2-10 minutes)
5. Is anybody stuck or needing help from the team? (1 minute) If complex, take it offline.
Ground rules –
* No detailed problem solving.  If it’s complicated, take it into a problem solving meeting outside this huddle.
* No stories.  If Fred is absent, don’t give us a long story about why he’s absent.  If you’re stuck, don’t give us a story about why you’re stuck, or how sorry you are, or all the things you tried.
Additional reading is here.

Meeting 2 – the Weekly Staff Meeting
* Duration: 30 to 60 minutes.
* Purpose: Make decisions, get closure on last week’s assignments, and make new assignments that move the firm’s priorities forward
* Key Question: Remembering our 1-2 most important priorities this quarter, how will we move them forward in the coming week?

How to conduct this meeting
Sitting facing each other, follow this agenda:
1. Personal Victories – what’s one good thing that happened in each person’s life, either work or personal, that they’d like to share? (30 seconds each)
2. Result Metrics from last week – report the same 1-3 key numbers every week, based on this quarter’s focus. These should be posted visibly in the room or handed out or displayed on a screen. (2-3 minutes)
3. Closure on last week’s action items – are they done? If not, what help do you need?
4. What problems or learning have we encountered since the last meeting?  For each problem, either solve it in the room or delegate to a team to solve it and report back. For learning, summarize the lesson and show where it’s documented and which processes have been changed. (2-10 minutes each)
5. What next steps do we need to take on this quarter’s focus areas? Who will do what by when? (10-20 minutes)
6. What’s one thing you appreciate about a teammate – something they did (in the meeting or over the prior week) that you would like to acknowledge? (30 seconds each)
7. Adjourn early or on time.
8. After the meeting, distribute the Action Items (the list of Who will do What by When) within 24 hours.
Ground rules –
Use the 5 Manager Behaviors for good meetings.
Use the 5 Structural Elements of good meetings.
Consider asking an outsider to watch your weekly staff meeting and give you private advice on how to make your meeting even more effective.

Meeting 3 – the Weekly One-on-Ones
* Duration: 25 to 30 minutes.
* Purpose: Build relationship with your direct reports, grow their skills, help them guide their careers
* Key Question: How has your week been, how have you grown, and what coaching do I need to give you?

How to conduct this meeting
The best guidance on One-on-Ones comes from the exceptional podcasts at – the key pages are here and here.

Tom Cox is a Beaverton consultant, author and speaker. He coaches CEOs on how to boost performance by building workplace trust. Email comments to [email protected].

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