Our recent, ongoing discussion has been about the blessing and curse of being a leader.  We’ve discussed how necessary leadership is to any growing company and how it can be overwhelming for a leader to balance the needs of their team with their own.  We’ve shared how the strategy of “Leading by Example” can provide leadership for your team, in a leveraged, structured manner. Here is another strategy to produce results, while allowing you to maintain a balance between the demands of your team and your own needs.

The Set up for a Productive Week

Team meetings often seem like really bad episodes of the TV show Survivor;  half the team arguing about HOW to do something, while the other half is day dreaming, at least one person is upset and at least one is just sitting there shaking their head “YES” to everything to keep the peace.  However, with the blur of day to day noise in a small firm, its impossible for a team to be effective and avoid miscommunication without checking in once a week, as a group, on goals and things that impact the team (firm).  It also makes sense to make group announcements ONE TIME to everyone, versus FIVE TIMES to each person individually, or worse getting stuck in a email game of “Communication Ping Pong”.

Most team members run and hide from any mention of a “meeting.”  They simply want to get their work done.  They don’t want to talk about it, or strategize about it—they just want to do it!
As much as we can commiserate about sitting through long, drawn out useless meetings with endless discussions and nothing accomplished, it’s imperative that you set your week up to be productive with the following HOUSE RULES for running a concise, effective weekly team meeting:

1. You must start your week with a team meeting, whether Monday or on your company’s first business day of the week.   Who needs a meeting at the end of the week to discuss what’s already happened?  Monday team meetings help plan for the week and get everyone on the same page.  It MUST be the same day, the same time each and every week, so everyone can plan on being there. This meeting is sacred and should never be postponed.

2. The meetings should be no longer than an hour. 

3. Everyone attends the meeting—from the boss to the receptionist. No exceptions.  That’s why it’s called a TEAM meeting.

4. All phones are turned off! Office phones go to voicemail with a recording that let’s callers know that you’re in a team meeting from X am to X am, and will return calls at X am.  No cell phones, no Blackberrys. (We know this little device makes you feel very important…but it is a blatant display of disrespect.  And we promise your listserv email responses of “me too” can wait an hour.)

5. A predetermined, consistent leader should run the meeting with a standard agenda.   The leader should never, ever be the owner of the business. Everyone should be made aware of the agenda prior to the meeting, and come prepared and organized.  If the team leader is you, take responsibility for bringing the necessary implements (current schedule, copies of tools/worksheets, pencils, etc.). You can prepare for it at the end of the day Friday, or come in early Monday morning—whatever works for you. (You don’t want to have to say, “I don’t have that” five times during one meeting.)  The key is to be accountable. The result is an effective Monday Morning Meeting and respect from your boss and team.

6. Keep “Monday Morning Meeting” agendas and worksheets in front of you all day Monday, until you have all action steps calendared for the bigger strategic items.  The easy “Gottas” go right from one list to the next until you can knock them off your list, typically by Tuesday. The result is a focused, planning day.

7. At the end of the week, hold a quick meeting to summarize what was accomplished for the week.  We call this “The 10 Minute Team Huddle.”

For a Sample “Monday Morning Meeting” agenda – email us.
SIDEBAR

Mondays are “Grounding Days” and that’s okay! Give yourself permission for Mondays to be the day to do nothing but attend effective, productive meetings in the morning and recover from the fall out of them in the afternoon. Return calls, emails, and accomplish all the “little” things that are delegated to you during your Monday meetings.  Call it a huge WIN! The result is that you’ll be able to hit the ground running Tuesday, which will create a productive, kick butt week, because there’ll be no little things hanging around. It also shows efficiency as you complete all those little things right away.  Completing all the meeting fall out by end of day Monday also ensures that little follow ups not immediately handled don’t become major disasters later in the week.