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Creating an Effective Business Operation System [Part 8]

Process Management

The BOS Implementation Strategy

Over the past seven weeks, we have discussed the key elements and five essential pillars of an effective Business Operating System (BOS). Now let’s talk about an easy way to incorporate the BOS framework into your business. 

There are seven specific steps you should take to implement this Business Operating System:

Business Operating System: Step 1

The first step is to clarify who you are going to work with to implement your BOS framework over time. In the beginning, the focus will be on tightening up the planning and documentation. You want to keep this within a small group; often it can just be one other person to share your ideas with. When you feel prepared and ready to begin having weekly meetings, you will then want to include your direct reports. There are situations in larger companies where it can make sense to add a few more people who oversee key activities within your company but mainly they should be your direct reports.

Business Operating System: Step 2

Developing your company’s core values, vision, mission statement and USP is a key component of the BOS framework. These may continue to evolve over time, but initially, they need to be good enough to encapsulate what the company stands for. Another part of the company documentation that needs to be established is the longer-term strategic plan with a future view of between 3 and 10 years. How are you going to achieve your lofty goals? You want enough substance and motivation to give your plan some credibility.

Once this longer-term strategy feels credible you are ready for Step 3

Business Operating System: Step 3

The next step in the process is to clarify your next one-year financial goals and objectives. These need to be both compelling and strategic. Once again, these can be strengthened and adapted over time.

Business Operating System: Step 4

Creating or improving your company scorecard will allow you to identify and discuss what the critical activities and numbers within your business structure need to be and who is responsible for them. Once again, the key is not to achieve perfection in this, but rather to develop a starting point from which you can continually evolve.  

Business Operating System: Step 5

With the first four steps completed, you are now ready to initiate your weekly management meetings. This first meeting should introduce the objectives and strategies for the meeting and with each subsequent meeting the agenda should become an ever-stronger guide to productive meetings that promote individual accountability.

Business Operating System: Step 6

The next logical step after your first 90 days is to conduct the first quarterly meeting. This will give you the chance to identify a clear set of key quarterly ‘rocks’ or objectives for each team member that will align with accomplishing the company’s one-year goals. It will also provide you a bit more motivation and urgency to improve upon the company declarations and longer-term goal definitions.

Business Operating System: Step 7

The final step is to continue refining each of the previous steps of this management process over time. Within a short period, this strategy will take shape and need less, if any ongoing development. From this firm foundation, it is now possible to begin enhancing the people and process management strategies and disciplines within your business.  

Conclusion

By following my previous blogs and implementing them through this framework, your business will develop more transparency and efficiency. With the Business Operating System applied to your company at a management level, it is now also possible to develop similar operating frameworks at every level of your business.

We hope this process sounds both practical and achievable. Just like in business, a good idea is almost worthless without dedicated execution.  

By effectively implementing these steps, you will develop:

  • a strategy to generate better execution results, helping you to work smarter, not harder  
  • a stronger team of focussed, motivated and talented individuals working to the same goals
  • a more valuable company by being able to demonstrate a proven framework for strong ongoing company performance.

Feel free to contact us with any questions along the way and, as always, enjoy the process! 

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Creating an Effective Business Operation System [Part 7]

Process Management

Why Document Your Process Management?

Many businesses underestimate the value of documenting their core processes, assuming that they are already being done the right way, and that their employees know what they are doing. However, in today’s competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever to have a clear understanding of the processes that drive your business and adapt accordingly.

As I’m sure you already know, documenting business processes involves capturing and organising the steps required to complete a specific task or project. This could include anything from how to onboard a new employee to how to manufacture a product.

First, let’s remind ourselves as to why it is important to be able to consistently improve process documentation over time: 

Improving Process Management

One of the key reasons why businesses need to document their process management is to ensure consistency and quality across all operations. By defining and standardising the steps involved in completing a task, you can minimise errors and improve the overall quality of your output. This is especially important for businesses that rely on repeatable process management to deliver their products or services consistently.

Another benefit of documenting your business processes is that it can make it easier to train new employees or delegate work to existing employees. When processes are clearly defined and documented, it becomes clearer for people to understand how things are done and what is expected of them. This can reduce the learning curve and help new employees become productive more quickly.

Furthermore, having well-documented process management can also increase efficiency and productivity. By breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, you can identify areas where processes can be streamlined or automated. This can help you eliminate unnecessary steps, reduce bottlenecks, and ultimately save time and resources.

Documenting your business process management can also help you identify areas where improvements can be made. By having a clear understanding of how things are currently done, you can identify areas where processes can be improved or optimised. This can help you reduce waste, improve quality, and increase overall efficiency.

Finally, documenting your business process management can also help you prepare for growth and scale. As your business grows, it becomes more difficult to keep track of everything that is going on. By documenting your processes, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that tasks are being completed in a consistent and efficient manner. This can help you scale your business more effectively and avoid potential issues down the road.

So now that we’ve reminded ourselves on why process management is necessary to scale a business. Let’s talk about how you can achieve this amongst a million other competing pressures.

How to Achieve Effective Process Management

First, the BOS framework download has a tab to easily document you company process management. This allows for quick reviews when questions come up about how things should be done or a place to put lessons learned that involve a certain business process.  Often it is seen as too time-consuming to find this documentation during a management meeting, so the conversations remain at a highly generalised level resulting in lower-quality conversations and solution strategies.

The BOS framework promotes is an ongoing focus on making incremental process documentation improvements as and when they relate to executing strategies and objectives. Creating process documentation for documentation’s sake isn’t practical, but creating it as the company solves issues or gains opportunities that involve the business process adds to the quality of the solution and increases the company’s overall level of process management over time. 

Documenting your business processes is critical for achieving consistency, quality, efficiency, and scalability. It helps you reduce errors, train new employees, increase productivity, identify areas for improvement, and prepare for growth. If you haven’t already started documenting your core processes, it’s time to start now.

Determining Which Processes are Most Important to Document

The second practical strategy for developing business process management is to refine the development effort and work from the most critical processes downward.  

In essence, you are making a conscious decision to develop your core business processes over a defined time period. This can work better than your past results with the help of the BOS Framework. In addition to providing you with a strategy to access your process management information, the BOS framework also pushes you during quarterly meetings to identify key processes that have strategic value in documenting, then uses ‘rocks’, objectives, or projects to make incremental improvements over a 90-day period. You will be amazed at how quickly you develop a solid library of business processes while not impacting the execution efforts on more urgent issues.

Now that we understand the way in which to iteratively improve process documentation over time without disruption, let’s come back to how to determine the most important processes to document.

The first step is to prioritise them based on their impact on the organisation. Look at the processes that are critical to the success of your business and determine which ones have the most impact on your ability to achieve your goals. This can be done by asking questions such as:

  • Which processes expose your company to the greatest amount of risk?
  • Which processes are most important to customers?
  • Which processes are most closely tied to revenue streams?
  • Which processes have the highest risk of failure?

Once you have identified the most important processes to document, the next step is to break them down into smaller, manageable components. This will help ensure that each process is documented thoroughly and accurately. You can use flowcharts or process maps to help visualise the steps involved in each process. We’ll talk more about this shortly.

There are numerous ways to get help on how to document your process management. The point we want to focus on is the critical success factor in process management. This is something the BOS framework supports, keeping ongoing visibility and pressure on the need for well-documented business management.

By following the steps, utilising the BOS framework and considering the benefits of process documentation, you can begin to build a culture of continuous improvement within your organisation. This will help ensure that your team members have the tools they need to be successful and that your organisation is positioned for long-term growth and success.

Insights When Documenting Key Processes

Over the years we have observed some particularly helpful strategies that don’t often show up in your typical business process descriptions.

The first of these insights is the value of focusing on clear triggers to commence and complete a business process. We want to be acutely clear on how this process begins.  Some processes start on a specified date or time, others begin when an event occurs, but however it occurs each process should begin in a specific way. Often more valuable is the second step, which is the definition of how the process should end. This clarity often provokes discussions and strategies for doing it well and not cutting corners. Thus, you can often tighten up your process strategy and clarity by ensuring those two events are clearly defined.

The second insight is adding a section to the documentation titled “Screw Ups Look Like…” or something similar.  This becomes an all-important benchmark of all the lessons learned over the years through people completing this process. This strategy focuses on retaining all the knowledge gained and problems paid for by the company when this process was done incorrectly or poorly.    

This “Screw-Up List” becomes a major asset for quickly training people on key data points that will prevent repeating mistakes made in the past. It also helps provide more context to why the process is important. 

The third insight is using a “Who Is” versus “Who Should” analysis for each step in a process to identify opportunities for delegating work within the organisation. This exercise often uncovers opportunities to free up the most talented people in the organisation to do more valuable work.  

Clarity is king in life and business. Clearly defined and developed business process management can be a game changer for scaling or selling a business. The right approach is that of a marathon, not a sprint. The good news is that you can begin gaining benefits almost immediately after starting down this journey.

This completes my seven-step guide to the pillars Business Operation Systems. With this information, you will be able to refine your company processes, manage your staff more effectively, increase productivity and yield, and foresee issues and opportunities before they occur. 

Next week, we will look at the strategies for implementing all you have learned in this series.

Until then, enjoy the process!

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Creating an Effective Business Operation System [Part 6]

Optimising Team Members

Why Are Core Values Important?

Core values are the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide the behaviour and decisions of an organisation and its team members. 

Having clearly-defined core values is essential for an organisation’s success. They define the organisation’s identity, help to create a shared vision and sense of purpose among team members and guide decision-making at all levels of the business. Core values also help to attract and retain the right employees, who share the same values and beliefs as the company.

So, how can you ensure that core values are adequately used in your company’s day-to-day operations and universally adopted by team members? The first step is to clearly define and communicate your core values to all employees. This can be done through company-wide meetings, employee handbooks and other communication channels. It’s important to make sure that all team members understand the significance of these values and how they are expected to uphold them in every aspect of their work.

Once core values have been defined and communicated, it’s essential to integrate them into all aspects of the business. This includes everything from hiring and onboarding processes to performance evaluations and daily operations. For example, when hiring new team members, it’s important to assess whether they share the company’s core values and would be a good fit for the organisation’s culture.

How the Business Operation Strategy (BOS) framework drives the use of core values is that it has a five-minute section in every weekly meeting in which each team member provides an observation on the use of a core value. It is quick but effective for reinforcing core and in the conversations of team members – especially when those values are broken. 

In order to maintain the integrity of core values, it’s important to hold employees accountable when they fail to meet the standards set by the business. 

Ultimately, the success of an organisation is dependent on its ability to align its operations and team members with its core values. By clearly defining and communicating these values, and integrating them into all aspects of the organisation, companies can create a culture of excellence and achieve long-term success. This is not just a common business school strategy, it is a fundamental law of business.  

In this way, core values become the foundation of a company’s success. They represent the organisation’s culture and personality, and guide decision-making at all levels of the business. To ensure that core values are adequately used in day-to-day operations, it’s essential to clearly define and communicate them to all employees, integrate them into all aspects of the organisation, and hold employees accountable when they fail to meet the standards set. By doing so, companies can create a culture of excellence and achieve long-term success.

If you are struggling with getting Core Values effectively utilised in your organisation simply contact us and I’m sure we will be able to provide you with some troubleshooting support along with some additional strategies.

Team Member Accountability Chart

An organisational chart is a visual representation of a company’s structure, showing the roles and relationships between different positions. However, it doesn’t always provide the necessary detail to understand who is responsible for what tasks and outcomes. On the other hand, a Team Member Accountability Chart is a more focused tool that begins by identifying the correct positions for a specific company’s work output needs.  

To create an effective accountability chart, it is important to involve key stakeholders in the process. It starts with what the business needs to deliver and is accountable for. It then identifies the necessary seats to complete this work and activities.  Each seat clearly calls out what it is accountable for, describes the core activities and defines the fundamental KPIs it needs to achieve. So the required work and outcomes are first defined before any team members are contemplated for what roles, or seats, they could fill.

When you have a clear company structure that is aligned to best produce the work required to maintain a growing company you are then ready to add team members to the seats and work through the process of ensuring they have the ability to check three boxes for the seat you are considering them for. This is defined by three key questions:

  1. Do they understand what the seat needs to deliver? This may seem straightforward but it often isn’t when the person is the wrong fit for the seat.  
  2. Do they want to do all that is necessary to deliver the expected results? This is a big one; often team members understand what is required and can do the required work but they simply don’t want to. Cold-calling is a good example for a seasoned sales professional. Often they are not interested in going back to hammering the phone.
  3. Do they have the necessary skill sets, capacity or capabilities to deliver? It is also common to have people who really want to do the job at hand but they simply lack the skills or experience to be successful in the near term.

The BOS Framework doesn’t try to imply that these are the only strategies for developing and maintaining a great company culture. What it does do is provide a practical and effective process for consistently managing some core strategies for having a strong culture.

So an accountability chart is different from an organisational chart in several ways: 

  • First, it is based on outcomes, not positions. This means that the focus is on what needs to be done to achieve the company’s goals rather than on the positions themselves.
  • Second, it is more precise than an organisational chart because it clarifies the activities and KPIs that each position is responsible for.
  • In addition to defining roles and responsibilities, an accountability chart can help identify gaps and redundancies in the company’s structure. It can also help with decision-making by providing a clear picture of which team member is responsible for what tasks and outcomes. This makes it easier to hold individuals accountable and to make necessary changes to improve overall performance.

An accountability chart should be reviewed regularly to ensure that it remains accurate and up-to-date. Within the BOS framework accountability is regularly reviewed at quarterly meetings. As the company grows and evolves, new functions and roles may be required, and it is important to adjust the chart accordingly.

An accountability chart is a powerful tool for building high-performing team members. By defining roles and responsibilities in detail, it can help prevent confusion and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. It is important to involve key stakeholders in the process of creating the chart and to regularly review and update it as the company evolves. By using an accountability chart, companies can build a culture of accountability and achieve greater success.

Team Member Check-Ins

The importance of ongoing check-ins cannot be overstated. They are more effective than annual reviews and the BOS framework ensures these check-ins continue to happen consistently.

We don’t mean traditional annual reviews; we are talking about monthly or quarterly meetings where we discuss not only performance but career path options, team dynamic observations, current bottlenecks and challenges, and more. Each review is expected to be a high-quality interaction.  

For many years, companies have relied on the annual review process to assess employee performance. However, research has shown that annual reviews are often ineffective and do not provide the necessary feedback to improve the performance of team members. This is where ongoing check-ins come into play.

Ongoing check-ins are a proactive way to investigate how team members are performing with their core deliverables, identified objectives, career development, and other areas that are critical to their engagement and success. These check-ins are typically held quarterly and provide managers with an opportunity to give and receive feedback, identify areas for improvement, and address any concerns or issues that may arise.

One of the key benefits of ongoing check-ins is that they allow for more frequent feedback and discussion. This is important because it enables managers to address any issues as they arise, rather than waiting until the end of the year. By having ongoing conversations with team members, managers can provide timely feedback, recognise accomplishments and identify opportunities for growth and development.

Another benefit of ongoing check-ins is that they encourage accountability. When employees know that they will be meeting with their manager on a regular basis, they are more likely to take ownership of their work and stay focused on their goals. This creates a culture of accountability, where each team member is responsible for their own success and that of the team.

Ongoing check-ins also provide an opportunity for career development. During these meetings, managers can discuss career goals with their employees, identify areas for improvement, and provide training and development opportunities. This helps team members feel inspired, valued and supported, which can lead to increased engagement and productivity.

So, how do you implement ongoing check-ins in your business? Firstly, it’s important to set clear expectations and establish a schedule for these meetings. Make sure everyone on the team understands the purpose and format of the check-ins, and ensure that they are scheduled well in advance.

Next, make sure that the check-ins are focused on specific goals and objectives. This involves identifying what success looks like for each team member and creating a plan to achieve it. It’s also important to be transparent and honest during these meetings, providing constructive feedback that can help employees improve and grow.

Finally, use ongoing check-ins as an opportunity to recognise and reward good performance. This can be as simple as acknowledging a job well done or providing incentives or additional opportunities for growth and development.

I’m sure much of what you’ve just read you already believe and know – right? Why then is it so difficult for most companies to implement consistently and effectively? Once again, our observations are that there often isn’t a management framework to help team members remember to complete these or feel accountable for completing them. In short, they don’t have the visibility they require. The BOS framework provides that visibility and accountability by including team members within the quarterly meeting agenda.  

Ongoing check-ins are a powerful tool for managing employee performance and fostering a culture of accountability, growth, and development. By establishing a regular schedule of check-ins, setting clear expectations and providing constructive feedback, you can create a more engaged and productive team. So, consider fully implementing ongoing check-ins in your organisation today and watch as your team members thrive and succeed.

Until next week, enjoy the process!

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Creating an Effective Business Operation System [Part 5]

Weekly Meetings

As I’m sure you know, weekly meetings are an essential part of management practice, and a critical aspect of ensuring the continued success of any business. They provide an opportunity for communication, collaboration, and decision-making, among other things. However, poorly run meetings can waste valuable time, lead to frustration, and negatively impact the morale of the team.

To ensure that your meetings are productive and run smoothly, there are a few basic requirements that should be met.

Weekly Meetings: Requirement 1

The first requirement is to have a clear purpose for the meeting. A clear purpose ensures that everyone is on the same page and can contribute to the meeting’s success. We focus on weekly management meetings which have a two-fold purpose at the simplest level of monitoring company and team performance and effectively identifying and solving for any issues that are getting in the way. We could also clarify our weekly meetings with the following 5 objectives:   

  1. Monitor company and team performance
  2. Share key information amongst the team
  3. Identify current challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed
  4. Create clear action plans for required solution strategies
  5. Monitor the follow-through on tasks that stem from the meetings.

If your weekly meetings don’t have this clear set of objectives then I’d suggest you go back and revisit your desired meeting results and identify something that truly matters to you.

Weekly Meetings: Requirement 2

The second requirement for weekly meetings is to have the right staff members in attendance. Attendees should include those who can contribute to identifying, discussing and resolving issues that come up during the meeting. 

Weekly Meetings: Requirement 3

Thirdly, you should have a well-defined agenda for the meeting. We have identified a basic agenda that consistently delivers the desired results. Every company will end up with a slightly different agenda the core process should remain the same.  below is an agenda template to download and implement:

Weekly Meetings

Weekly Meetings: Requirement 4

The fourth weekly meetings requirement is to incorporate a leader or facilitator. The facilitator ensures that the meeting stays on track, that all attendees have the right amount of opportunity to contribute, and that decisions are made on core issues rather than the first problem that is identified. The facilitator should also ensure that the meeting starts on time and is managed in a way that it both ends on time and addresses the most important topics.  This can be the company leader or another capable and credible person.

A realisation we’ve had in helping companies implement the Business Operation System (BOS) framework is the value that an outside facilitator can bring to management meetings – whether in weekly or quarterly formats. Most leaders find more value in not having to run the meeting because allows them the chance to listen, observe and think more clearly about what is and isn’t being said. They find they don’t have to use their attention and energy to keep the group focused or manage discussion. They have more attention for maximising the productivity of conversation and the overall meeting. This is why the majority of what we do is facilitate meetings for companies leveraging the BOS framework.

Weekly Meetings: Requirement 5

The fifth requirement of weekly meetings is to have effective communication throughout the meeting. All attendees should be expected to contribute regularly, and the discussion should be kept on topic. Attendees should also listen to each other actively, and avoid distractions such as mobile phones and laptops.

Weekly Meetings: Requirement 6

The Sixth requirement is to have effective time management during your weekly meetings. The agenda should be followed closely, and the meeting should not run over the scheduled time. The meeting facilitator should ensure that everyone has the chance to contribute, but should also keep the discussion moving forward to ensure that all necessary topics are addressed.

Weekly Meetings: Requirement 7

Last but certainly not least, you should have a clear set of action items and follow-up after the meeting. This includes documenting decisions and any action items that were assigned during the meeting, as well as setting a timeline for completion. Follow-up should also occur after weekly meetings to ensure that action items are completed, and that progress is being made towards any goals or objectives that were set.

Summarising these seven requirements, to have highly productive management meetings, you should implement the following: 

  • A clear purpose
  • the right attendees
  • an effective agenda
  • an experienced meeting facilitator
  • effective time management
  • a clear set of action items that are relentlessly followed up. 

By following these requirements, you can ensure that your weekly meetings are productive and contribute to the continued success of your business.

Critical Success Factors

Now that we have discussed the core requirements for productive weekly meetings and why they are important for business growth, we can explore two critical success factors that are essential for achieving your business objectives. These two factors play a significant role in ensuring that meetings are productive and effective in driving business success.

Task Follow-Up

Nearly every meeting has tasks being generated as a result of the discussions. These tasks must be followed up in subsequent weekly meetings to ensure that they are completed on time. Following up on tasks assigned from previous meetings is crucial for maintaining accountability and progress towards business objectives.

To make task follow-up more effective, it is essential to have a tracking system in place as you will find in the meetings tabs of our BOS Spreadsheet. This tracking system should clearly show who is responsible for each task, the status of each task, and the deadline for completion. By having a clear tracking system, it becomes easier to ensure that tasks are completed on time and that everyone is held accountable for their responsibilities.

Again, you will see in the BOS Spreadsheet that each weekly and quarterly meeting sheet has a place to add and monitor to-dos with columns for the task owner along with the due date. This makes the process of task management easy to follow and highly visible.

The second critical success factor is issue management. The majority of your weekly meetings should be spent on problem-solving the most important issues that could prevent the team from achieving their objectives. To do this, it is important to identify and prioritise the most critical issues that require immediate attention.

Once the most critical issues have been identified, they should be discussed and resolved during weekly meetings. To ensure that the issue is fully addressed, it is important to assign specific action items and follow up on them in subsequent meetings.

Task follow-up and issue management are two key factors for productive management meetings. By ensuring that tasks are followed up and critical issues are addressed and resolved, meetings become more effective in driving business success and creating trust amongst the team.

The Next Level of Meetings

We have now covered meeting basics and how to incorporate critical success factors such as task follow-up and problem-solving. But what’s next? How can you further improve the effectiveness of your weekly meetings?

The answer lies in something I mentioned briefly when covering company performance and that is the use of scorecard forecasting. Simply put, forecasting is the process of predicting future outcomes based on current and historical data and trends. In the context of business meetings, it means projecting how well the company (or specific team) is likely to perform in the future based on past data and real-time observations.

Why is Forecasting so Important? 

Forecasting allows you to be proactive rather than reactive. Instead of waiting for problems to occur, you can anticipate them and take corrective action before they impact your bottom line. It also helps you make better strategic decisions, allocate resources more effectively, and communicate more clearly with stakeholders.

The Key Steps to Forecasting 

First, you should already have an effective company scorecard, as described in previous modules. We do not suggest jumping into forecasting efforts before first ensuring that you are monitoring the right KPIs along with the correct target levels.  

The next thing you do is to ask those responsible for reporting the previous week’s KPIs to begin forecasting what they feel their numbers will be for the upcoming week and sometimes longer depending on the subject.

The act of looking into the future to predict where performance will be will often uncover concerns and issues earlier than when KPIs are simply reported as a result.  

Over time people become more calibrated with their understanding of what is and isn’t working, furthering the company’s ability to identify issues and address them when they are smaller and easier to manage.    

Taking your weekly meetings to the Next Level involves more than just basic meeting etiquette and task follow-up. By incorporating forecasting into your meetings, you can become more proactive and effective in achieving your business objectives. With this single strategy, you can take your business to a new level of execution.

Until next week, enjoy the process!

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Weekly Management Meetings | Blind Spots Part Three

5 Common Blind Spots Leaders Have Are Not Seeing How To:

Company Planning Collaborative Accountability

The aim of this blog series is to remove these common business leader blind spots by focusing your attention on each issue and bringing visibility and understanding to concepts that will be easier to see and, therefore, improve over time. Let’s take a look at the benefits of Collaborative Accountability.

Blind Spot #3 – Not Seeing the Value In Weekly Management Meetings

This article focuses on the third of five blind spots many business owners have when trying to grow from 5 to 50 employees. In a previous article, we discussed the first blind spot which was around not seeing the value of consistent company planning and the second blind spot focusing on how to maintain employee accountability.

The third blind spot lies in not realising the value and importance of a weekly management meeting. Many jokes are made about meetings because good meetings are hard to come by, but when done well, an efficient, well-executed weekly management meeting is an absolute game-changer.   

Do you struggle to see the value in weekly management meetings? If so, it is typically because you don’t feel you and your team have time to meet, when staying ‘productive’ seems to be a more practical use of your time. Another common issue is the feeling that meetings aren’t very productive. Last but not least, a leader can feel it is difficult, possibly even painful, trying to facilitate a meeting week over week when it seems to be a repetition of the previous week’s topics.

Truth be told, all those things can be legitimate challenges of past meetings, but it doesn’t have to be that way, and when weekly meetings are run well they will raise both the economic and productivity aspects of your business.  

What’s required to create effective weekly management meetings?  

Defining the format of your weekly management meeting is essential. Whether it is the staff included or the structure and schedule of the meeting itself, clearly planning each aspect is vital, and surprisingly simple. The following four steps will ensure that you not only hold an efficient meeting, you will also find exceptional value in it and recognise it as a fundamental and productive part of every single week.

Weekly Management Meetings

Step 1: Decide on who should be in the weekly management meetings

If you have less than 10 employees it is likely everyone should be in the meeting. When the company grows, it can be reduced to the managers of the various departments. This is the team that needs to understand and fortify where you want the company to go.  Without this clarity, it is nearly impossible for them to make the best day-to-day decisions on how to achieve the results you want from them. Many accountability issues stem from a lack of understanding rather than a low level of commitment.

Step 2 – Prepare for your weekly management meetings

You should have two key company documents and strategies in place: 

1. Your quarterly and yearly goals. You will need to know where you want the company to go before you can begin having effective weekly meetings.  These plans should include two key elements:

2.  The core financial numbers that often include revenue, gross profit and sometimes a more net profit type of number like EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Tax).  Ideally, some KPIs (key performance indicators) can also be included but we don’t need to get too fancy out of the gate.  

3.  The critical projects the company needs to complete by the end of the quarter (or any 90-day cycle) to be able to hit the desired financial and strategic targets. Often in management books, these ‘projects’ are referred to as “Rocks” and we do the same in our management consulting practice. Rock identification and completion is a topic unto itself but for the purpose of this article, we will keep the concept to the identification of how the company can most practically improve over the next 90 days to best move it towards its desired outcomes (vision, mission, BHAG, 1-3 year goals, etc.).  

Step 3 – Have a practical company scorecard

Ultimately, you want to have a scorecard that monitors all relevant aspects of company performance but that often takes some time and effort to get right. Start with some basic numbers that offer an overarching projection of your company’s health. For example, your company revenue may seem like a valid number to track on your scorecard, but it is a ‘lagging indicator’. It doesn’t shed much light on how the company is performing this week because it requires invoice and/or money collection and demonstrates how the sales team was performing last month and your marketing the month before that. When you try to pick a few initial scorecard numbers to track it is often more effective to use more ‘leading indicators’ such as the number of proposals submitted or the number of new qualified opportunities for a projected period.  

Regardless of which numbers you pick, begin measuring and documenting something consistently. There is a very good reason great business people consistently say, “what gets measured gets managed.” When you don’t measure with practical numbers you have no objective measuring stick for providing performance feedback.  

Step 4 – Use a proven meeting formula

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Great weekly management meetings have the same attributes:

    1. They happen the same time every week.
    2. They start on time and end on time.
    3. They stay on topic and are not allowed to devolve into unfocused dialogue.
    4. They have a consistent agenda that includes:
      1. Starting on a note of gratitude or positivity.
      2. Review the week’s performance scorecard – regardless of how simple initially
      3. Share employee / team and customer headlines for the week
      4. Review the status of this quarter’s “Rocks” or projects.
      5. Review the To Do’s that were identified in the previous meeting(s) to ensure completion and accountability.
      6. Discuss the key issues, opportunities and topics that have come up over the previous week
      7. Rate the meeting on a scale of 1-5 on whether it provided value for the individuals attending and rating the meeting.
    5. At the end of each 90-day period, a day-long planning meeting is utilised to update the Goals and Rocks and have a longer session to unpack bigger opportunities and challenges facing the company.

In conclusion, weekly management meetings are often not seen as critical to a company’s success but this is due to a blind spot created by a history of negative meeting experiences. 

By following the four steps outlined above, any existing blindspot will quickly and permanently be removed creating a new opportunity for greater employee accountability and buy-in along with significantly higher company performance.  

Until next time, enjoy the process!

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