What is an optimal business meeting schedule? Should you meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly?
According to Gino Wickman, the author of Traction, your business meeting schedule should consist of two types of meetings: quarterly and weekly. Your quarterly meeting should be a full-day event. Your weekly meeting should take place on the same day each week and follow the same agenda.
Here is how to set an optimal business meeting schedule, according to Gino Wickman.
What Is an Optimal Business Meeting Schedule?
It’s a myth that meetings are a waste of time—meetings are where you practice accountability and get traction. But they need to be productive. By following a structured business meeting schedule with purposeful agendas, you’ll find that everyone will get more done and continuously advance the company’s vision. You should have two types of leadership meetings: quarterly and weekly.
The Quarterly Meeting
When you have annual, three-year, and 10-year goals, it’s human nature for people to start wandering off track in about 90 days. To counter this, you need to focus on interim goals every 90 days—or you’ll lose sight of your vision.
Your quarterly leadership meeting should be a full-day, off-site event with the following agenda:
- Opening: Each team member should share the following: good news from the last 90 days, what’s working/not working, and expectations for the day.
- Review the previous quarter: Review the financials, then review the company and leadership team priorities to confirm which ones were achieved (you won’t complete 100% every quarter; strive for 80% or better). If you missed hitting a priority, you can advance it to the next quarter, reassign it, or, if it’s close to completion, just put it on a to-do list and finish it.
- Review the vision to ensure everyone has clarity so you can set the right 90-day goals. As part of this, update the issues list.
- Set the next quarter’s priorities: Follow the steps for setting priorities described earlier in this chapter. List what must be done in the quarter and narrow the list to three to seven items.
- Tackle key issues: Determine your top three issues and go through the IDS (Identify, Discuss, Solve) process for each of the top three. Then begin moving down the list, solving as many issues as you can in the time available. Save the rest for your weekly leadership meeting.
- Next steps: Clarify who is doing what, and whether there’s anything to communicate to the employees—for instance, any decisions made to solve problems.
- Conclude: Each team member should share: feedback on the meeting, whether their expectations were met, their rating of the meeting from one to 10. (A successful meeting should get at least an eight.)
Repeat this meeting every quarter—don’t skip any quarters. Your quarterly meetings will become increasingly productive. At the end of the year add a second day to your quarterly meeting for annual planning, following this agenda.
Annual Planning Agenda — Day One
- Opening: Team members should share: the company’s three greatest accomplishments, the individual’s greatest personal accomplishments, and expectations for the meeting.
- Review the previous year: Review the financials, the previous year’s goals, and the last quarter’s priorities (just note whether each was done or not done).
- Team building exercise: “The One Thing”: Have the team give each member feedback on her greatest strength and weakness. Then have each team member choose one thing to do differently.
- SWOT/issues list: Discuss the company’s SWOTs (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). From the discussion, create an issues list.
- Challenge the vision: Take a critical look at your core values, core focus, marketing strategy, and 10-year target. Make sure everyone is still on board with it. Create a new three-year plan, then your one-year plan for next year (including revenue, profit, up to seven priorities, and budget).
Annual Planning Agenda — Day Two
- Establish your priorities for the next quarter
- Tackle issues
- Determine the next steps
The Weekly Meeting
Your business meeting schedule should also incorporate a weekly meeting. The weekly meeting is like a drumbeat that keeps your leadership team marching forward in step. In terms of productivity, this meeting should be a “10”—most people rate their meetings as a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.
A level 10 meeting will keep your Scorecard numbers and priorities or “Rocks” on track, and give you an opportunity to troubleshoot and solve problems. The following agenda will ensure a productive meeting.
The Weekly Meeting Agenda
- Opening: Spend five minutes sharing good news.
- Scorecard: Review the numbers compared to goals— any misses should be moved to the issue solving (IDS) part of the agenda
- Review priorities: Review the company’s and team members’ priorities to see which are on track; when a priority is off track, move it to the IDS agenda item.
- Customer and employee news: Cite positives and move issues to the IDS agenda item.
- To-do list: Review to-dos from last week’s meeting—these are action items that pop up throughout the week—for example, a commitment to ship an item immediately. Indicate whether items have been done/not done. No item should be on the to-do list for more than two weeks; the vast majority should drop off each week. The list creates traction and accountability.
- IDS: Identify, discuss, and solve the issues on your issues list. There should be a few holdovers from last week, plus others added during the week, or a total of 10-15 issues. Go through them in order of priority. Once an issue has been solved, an action usually should be added to the to-do list. Next week, confirm it was carried out.
- Conclude: Recap your to-do list and the assigned actions; determine whether anything from the meeting needs to be communicated to employees (what and how); have everyone rate the meeting on a scale of 1-10.
Tips for Setting Your Weekly Business Meeting Schedule
- Have the weekly meeting at the same day and time each week, follow the same agenda, and start and end on time. Assign someone to run the meeting and someone to maintain the agenda.
- Once the leadership team has the process down, apply the same format to set a weekly business meeting schedule for each department.
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- How a first-time entrepreneur can gain the traction needed to grow
- Why hard work and determination aren't enough for your business to succeed
- The 6 key principles of the Entrepreneurial Operating System