I recently checked in on a new client a couple of weeks after their first session with me, and their Integrator was over the moon about how much they’d been accomplishing in their weekly meetings. He said, “We got 10 issues resolved today! Normally, we’d have been hung up and lucky to solve one, but every week, we’re solving things that have been hanging around for months or years, and worse still, the same problems kept recurring. But now we’ve solved them for good, and we can focus on what matters: making our customers happy and growing our business.”
Don’t you wish you could say that about your meetings?
Most of us hate meetings because they’re boring or frustrating (or both), and they don’t accomplish much. But you can have meetings that are productive – and often fun – that keep your team members inspired and focused on hitting their targets if you follow what we call the Level 10 Agenda (download it here).
We call it “Level 10” because one of the things we ask new clients to do is rate the effectiveness of their meetings on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best. The average is usually a four, but after teams start using the Level 10 Agenda, the ratings skyrocket. We’ll discuss the full agenda, but let’s first go over…
The keys to having a great weekly meeting:
1- Have the meeting on the same day, at the same time, and using the same agenda every week. There are several benefits in doing this, but one of the most important reasons for this consistency is that one of the items on the agenda is reviewing the “To-Do’s” that were assigned in the previous week’s meeting. Having the meeting at the same time every week helps with individual accountability because people know when they leave the meeting that they have seven days to accomplish the tasks they’ve been assigned, and that they’re going to be asked about it in the next meeting. This automatically builds traction into your operations.
2- Start on time. Being late is disrespectful because the message a late person sends the rest of the team is that his/her time is more valuable than everyone else’s, and that’s a serious barrier to building a cohesive team.
We’ve all heard the quote attributed to Vince Lombardi that says, “If you’re early, you’re on time, and if you’re on time, you’re late.” This is true for the Level 10 meeting. That means if your meeting starts at 8:00 on Monday, your team members aren’t walking in the door at 8:00. At 7:55, everyone is in his/her seat, ready to begin the meeting, and the person in charge of running the meeting calls it to order at 8:00 on the dot.
3- Do not discuss problems the minute they arise. This is the most important element of a successful meeting because this is where most meetings go off the rails. We become aware of an issue, and we immediately depart from the agenda to discuss it. The discussion inevitably reveals more issues, so we start talking about those and never get back to the original problem. The meeting keeps going down a series of rabbit holes, and before you know it, it’s time to adjourn and nothing has been resolved.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the way to keep a meeting moving along is to make a list of issues as they come up and talk about them later. The Level 10 Agenda incorporates a 60-minute segment that is dedicated solely to issue-solving. If someone reports a problem or a goal that was not met, don’t immediately ask why. “Drop it down” to your list of issues to be discussed later.
There is an art to discussing and resolving issues, and we’ll talk about that and go over the full Level 10 Agenda in our next post.
What is it about meetings that makes you crazy? Tell me below. I love to hear your comments!