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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