When you have a small business, you know that communication is important. But does everyone communicate properly inside your business? This blog is about developing the right team meeting rhythm. The goal of your meetings is deployment of your strategic objectives.
When you first started your business, your communication was more caught than taught. It was easy for people to understand your goals because they were with you all day. However as your business grows your team becomes more spread out. You must become intentional and proactive with the way you communicate.
Effective Communication or Gossip?
One common misconception is that just because your office is open and everyone can sit near to each other, teams communicate. However, proper communication within a small business isn’t the same thing as simply chatting about the weather. Left unchecked, communication will degrade into gossip and other unproductive topics. Your communication needs to be directed to a specific purpose and strategic. So, to ensure that this happens within your business, you need a team meeting rhythm.
When your team isn’t proactively communicating or in a consistent rhythm, it will be harder for everyone to do their jobs. In addition, it will also be more difficult to establish priorities.
Developing The Right Team Meeting Rhythm
While you may already know that a lot of communication occurs in unproductive meetings, some reports that show that “employees spend 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings”.
So, how can you put a stop to unproductive meetings that everyone hates and start using the right team meeting rhythm?
Topics and Activities for Your Meetings
Ultimately, the main goal of the team meeting rhythm is to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This means that there should be some scheduled team meetings which objective is to set goals, reporting, and accountability. These meetings should be regularly scheduled and the information that is gathered on each one of the meetings should then cascade through the organization in a quick and efficient manner.
Within your small business, you should make sure that you have scheduled 5 different meetings:
#1: Daily Meeting (or Team Huddle)
The daily meeting should only take a couple of minutes depending on how many members your team has. Ultimately, the daily meeting has two main goals:
- Keep your team up to speed and aware of what each one has to do.
- Create extra pressure from the peers for people who aren’t making the effort they need to make.
This meeting should gather everyone, even if some members are out of the office for some reason. In this case, make them call via conference call. You can also use video and screenshare tools such as www.zoom.us .
As we already mentioned, the daily meeting should be short. After all, no one wants to get to the office and sit in a conference room for 3 hours. So, during the daily meeting, you need to ensure that every team member has the time to speak and each one speech should cover three different aspects:
- What they did yesterday
- What they will be working on today
- What are the bottlenecks.
Remember that the goal of this meeting is not finding solutions. It is only for everyone to be aware of what they have done yesterday, of what they will do today and the bottlenecks that may have appeared in their way.
#2: Weekly Meeting:
The main goal of the weekly meeting is to have everyone involved with strategic decision making. Unlike the daily meeting, in the weekly meeting there will be decisions made. After all, with all team members participating, it will be easier to decide on what each one needs to do to ensure that the small business reaches its goals. As the facilitator you want to make one or more decisions on actions that result from this meeting.
The weekly meeting should last between 1 and 2 hours and it should include the following topics:
- Review of the KPI of the week
- Defining the KPI’s for the next week
- Determining the strategic goals for the next week.
#3: Monthly Meeting:
The main goal of a monthly meeting is to make decisions about key issues for the small business and it should include mid-level and senior leadership teams.
Since the main goal is to make decisions, monthly meetings need to be longer. They usually last between 1 and 2 hours and they should take place in the morning when everyone is fresh.
This is the meeting where the managers from each department make an update about the key decisions and results of the past month as well as it is also the time to brainstorm solutions to any problems or concerns that may have arisen. During this meeting, it may also be necessary to review any potential opportunities for training or education.
Ultimately, a monthly meeting will improve the communication skills of the middle management team, the delegation, the management, and the leadership.
Summing it all up, the monthly meeting is the time to:
- Review the past month KPI’s as well as defining the KPI’s for the next month
- Review the monthly goals that were set in the previous month and defining new goals for the next month
- Determining the need for learning and training.
- Updating your action plan.
#4: Quarterly Meeting:
The quarterly meeting usually takes a bit longer than the monthly meeting. So, one of the things that many small businesses do is that they make the meeting out of the office.
With this meeting, the main goal is to evaluate how the last quarter of the business was in terms of performance. In addition, it is also the time to brainstorm priorities and targets for the next quarter.
In terms of the people attending this meeting, some businesses prefer to only have the executive team while others like to include all team members. We believe that the second one is a better approach.
During the quarterly meeting, there are some topics that should be discussed:
- Review of the quarterly KPI’s and defining the new KPI’s for the new quarter.
- Review of the quarterly goals and setting up new goals for the next quarter.
#5: Annual Planning Meeting:
During the annual meeting, you should think about your business performance over the previous year. Usually, the leadership team determines the annual priorities and targets for the upcoming year as well as reviews employee perceptions and long-term goals. This is the time to review your strategic plan: your vision, value and mission, your KPI’s, your goals and your actions. You are setting goals for the upcoming year, creating a budget and taking your team through a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) exercise to determine priorities for the upcoming year.
A team meeting rhythm done right will move your business forward by empowering your employees through a shared vision and teamwork. Creating a strategic plan is a good beginning, but team meetings ensure that you are deploying your plan. Here’s an article about creating a strategic plan for your business.