This week on The Growth Whisperers Brad and Kevin are talking about the weekly meeting, one of the most important parts of execution and also ensuring you successfully complete your quarterly priorities. They provide the top 7 best practices to ensure your weekly meetings are engaging and valuable.
The top 7 best practices for weekly meetings
Episode 43 – The Growth Whisperers
The Growth Whisperers is a weekly podcast hosted by Brad Giles and Kevin Lawrence two advisors to mid-market businesses, one Australian, one Canadian, who each work with CEOs and Leadership Teams across the world with a mission to build enduring, great companies. Each weekly episode covers interesting situations and questions from the world of strategic planning, leadership development, talent and hiring in high growth entrepreneurial companies where real results matter.
Kevin Lawrence 00:12
Hey, welcome to the growth whispers podcast where everything we talk about is about building enduring great companies because we believe in it. We believe that there’s an opportunity to build companies that go for decades or generations, and expand continents and to new countries and new territories. And, you know, one day maybe other planets, but we’re not quite there yet. So anyways, I’m Kevin Lawrence. I’m here today with my host, as always, Brad Giles, Brad, how you doing today?
Brad Giles 00:45
I’m doing really good. It’s a long weekend in Australia. Tuesday is the public holiday. So everyone takes off the Monday. So you really get a four day long weekend. Yeah. And so we’ve come down south in a different location for those of us on video and come down to our Southwest, the wine region, one and surfing region, as many people in Perth do. And yeah, I’m doing fantastic every day at the beach. It’s Summer here obviously, every day at the beach.
Kevin Lawrence 01:22
It hurts Bradley that hurts. Yeah, I’m excited. I’m happy for you. I sincerely I’m happy for that. You get that great weather and that great experience.
Brad Giles 01:33
Yeah, it’s good. So yeah, doing good. Things are great. And yeah, I’m happy to be I guess we’re like Episode 43. Yeah, we’re really enjoying this journey. It’s going well,
Kevin Lawrence 01:45
it is a great journey. Yeah. And in Vancouver, things are good. We’ve actually had a lot of good sunshine last week, which is a treat for us in our winter, and there’s all this, the media was cranking up and getting all worked up about this big snowstorm that we were going to have today. And this club that I’m a member of I went and had breakfast out this morning and did some writing and thinking this morning and the place was empty, like oh, Where’s everyone? Like, oh, everyone’s expecting this massive snowstorm? Well, there was about 1.3 centimetres of snow that we got. And they scared the daylights out of everyone make your plans, you know we may not want to drive all this stuff. And all the plows rode everywhere. I mean, it’s probably good for the economy, because all these machines are fired up. And that was nothing. But anyway, it just it’s a good day here. really crazy period of time. I’m really busy time for us here right now. But as always good. Very good stuff. So what’s the good that we’re going to get into on the show today? Brad?
Brad Giles 02:53
What an interesting question. Yeah, let’s get into it. So more than anything else, more than any other subject. I think what I tend to find, I’m talking to people about in between quarterly planning sessions is the weekly meeting. Okay, so that is the meeting that a leadership team or an executive team would have every week. That really is the bridge between a daily huddle, and a monthly meeting, or in some cases a quarterly annual meeting. So yeah, we’re gonna dig into that, like, what makes a good weekly meeting? Right? And
Kevin Lawrence 03:32
what do you have to do so it’s not a weekly health session, kind of equivalent to being sent to the principal’s office when you were in grade school or younger? You know, some weekly meetings, a lot of weekly meetings are a nightmare, like a complete nightmare for a lot of people. And that’s one of the things we want to talk about these and how to make your meeting actually amazing and add a lot of value. Did I hear a baby in the background there, Brad?
Brad Giles 03:59
Because I’m on holiday, because I’m on holiday is not a baby. Because I’m on holidays, I’ve needed to find somewhere quiet to record the podcast. And so I found a friend of a friend’s house because they were at work. And they’ve got a cat inside the house. And the cat has just come up to me we’ve been speaking together for what an hour hour and a half before this, and suddenly the cat just decides to come up to me and meows. And my apologies for that. And also they said once upon a time someone was staying in this cat house And the cat decided when they were just sitting here watching TV to jump on them. So I’m quite fearful that I’m going to get a cat jump on my bag and dig its claws in.
Kevin Lawrence 04:41
So the good news is, that we’re recording the video. So it happened we’re gonna capture that moment. Stay tuned. See if Brad gets attacked by the cat, as a side note, I actually babysat for my neighbors when I was a kid. And they had a cat and it’s made me uncomfortable. with cats ever since, because would jump up on your lap, and then it would dig its claws on into my legs like it was, yeah, it does it with a rug or something and it doesn’t do anything. So Brad, I’m hoping the cat doesn’t jump on your back and dig its claws in and start massaging your back with his claws.
Brad Giles 05:19
It’s already given me a very evil look. So, and it’s a black cat. So I’m quite worried here. But we must, we must continue we must push on. Because weekly meetings. Yeah, weekly meetings are really it’s the cornerstone, it’s such an important part between the good work that you do at an off site, you get the all of the leadership team, off site. Everyone works through a series of tools. And they say these are the this is our strategy, these are the most important things that we’re going to do in the next 90 days. And then, if the weekly meeting isn’t effective, the rate of execution can be abominable. But also you’re often not spending the time each week to think about to get data on the longer term, some of the longer term things. So that’s Yeah,
Kevin Lawrence 06:15
and if you think about it, it’s this is the leaders for whether you’re a CEO, an executive team, or a customer service manager and your customer service team, it’s your opportunity to lead your people towards the strategy of the company. It’s it like, yes, you can talk about, well, Mary Jo didn’t show up for work today, or the printers broken or who knows what, like, there’s always those things to deal with. But if you let that consume your weekly meeting, you’re going to avoid the opportunity to march towards the most important goals your team has. And that’s the most important thing, we have these goals that are risk, we have a responsibility to execute. And we forget, we get caught up in the fires and the issues or the excitement or projects or who knows what. So it’s an opportunity to bring us back to reality and focus and the reality of marching towards strategy, not the reality of the day to day fires. But the reality of what our job is and what we’re trying to achieve. And march towards that. So that if you remember that is the intent. And a lot of the troubleshooting stuff, some of it might happen in a meeting. But if you let the meeting in meetings go to directions, they become firefighting meetings, where we get together once a week and just deal with all the problems, or they become update meetings where we get together and bore each other to tears with our show and tell. Yeah, and that’s, and we and we what we really want is neither of those
Brad Giles 07:53
about 10 or 15 episodes ago, we spoke about how to get a leader to think strategically. And one of the challenges that we often face is, is people spend all of their time in operations. And this kind of translates a little bit into the beginnings of the weekly meeting. And, and when people spend all of their time, let’s say 40 or 50 hours a week, whatever they wait when it’s all about customer problems for most of their career. It’s very hard to unlearn that. And then to say, what’s more important is the priorities of the company. What’s more important is the role of the leadership team. Because the whole time, all I’ve been thinking about is we’ve got to execute that company project, we’ve got to do the right thing by the company, customer, we’ve got to do all of we’ve got to make the customer happy. And then so to take them out of that environment in which they spend all their time. And now say, now we’re going to spend one to two hours a week, where we’re going to speak about the company, which is really the most important thing that can be quite a challenge. And so really beginning the process by remembering that this is the most important meeting of the week, when people join a company. People come in, and they’re interviewed and they want to do everything that they can to please us as leaders. Yep. And so then we’ve got to kind of maintain not their need to please but the reminder that the advancement of the strategy, the advancement of the company is so important.
Kevin Lawrence 09:35
Yeah, exactly. So if I look at these weekly meetings, there’s, you know, there’s so many it is a hard meeting to run effectively and we regularly talk about tuning them up in it’s almost like a machine that needs to be maintained regularly because they get kind of loose and sloppy no matter what so don’t beat yourself up if your weekly meeting is Perfect, actually, I know your weekly meeting probably isn’t perfect. None of them are. But even if it’s really rough, we’re going to give you some ideas. And, and so like, you know, are we like 5,6,7 points. So we’ve got seven points that we’re going to share today, to really break down how you look at we claim means that we might have a bonus of a jumping cat on Brad’s back. And if you hear this little cat in the background, it’s got some things to say. Now, let me give you a prize if you know what the cat is saying. Probably something along the lines of who is this strange person in my house?
Brad Giles 10:36
So all right, so let’s jump into the five to seven.
Kevin Lawrence 10:39
Yeah. Seven. Yeah, number one. So number one, we’ve already been talking about this. And this is the kind of the primary but it’s a no the value want that meeting to create like no the intent, it’s not getting the team together. That’s not the intent. Right? That’s an activity. The idea is to it’s about knowing how to bring the team together to drive the company’s strategy ahead. And whatever tangible goals your team has for the quarter, it’s to make those happen. So I’ll give an example. On our team. And again, we have a like a, you know, a boutique coaching and consulting firm, our team meets every Monday. And we have an hour and a half meeting. And every week in that meeting, we go through and we review, much like the agenda of that we’ll share with you later. But we will review where we’re at on the company goals, and people give an update. And then we use a colour coding system red, yellow, green, red means we’re in a likely to fail position. Yellow means we’re off track, but we can fight back and get it done. And Green means we’re on track, we will accomplish this goal. Every week we talk where are we at? You know, what’s the progress? And what do we have to do next to accomplish the goal on time in the quarter. So that does two things, it keeps us from forgetting and it myself, I sometimes get lost and forget the goal. So it’s a reminder to achieve our goals. But also, it’s a chance for the team to talk if we’re stuck on something or if we need to troubleshoot something. So you know, this coming week, we’ve got an I’ll be bringing a piece. When we talk about goals on the structure, we’re going to use on a new SharePoint that we’re getting set up. Now we brainstormed but we got to rip it apart as a team a little bit to make sure that we don’t have to build it, you know, two or three times, but the point of it is, is it’s the time to reconnect to those goals. Deuce provide a bit of a quick update of where you’re at, and what is needed, and maybe even what’s needed from the rest of the team to get it across the line. So pretty straightforward.
Brad Giles 12:44
And the important thing is that if you’re red, we’re not really looking for excuses, we could be looking to support you. But these people really quickly lose focus that these are the most important things that we said we need to do when we’re at our quarterly off-site. Okay, you can’t lose sight of that. It’s going back I guess to Stephen Covey’s four quadrants two things that are important, but not urgent. And if we’re never working on the things that are important, but not urgent, we don’t gain the momentum in the longer term. So we’ve got to have time to steer away from the things that are important and urgent, go to the things that are important and not urgent. And that’s really Exactly, yeah. And that’s the rocks as it’s called. So it’s good. It’s good to know, from the outset, where are we at? If we are four weeks into the 13, week, quarter, we fall? Are we on track, basically, as a team do are we where we’re supposed to be? And I’ve seen so many times for I’ll say immature teams, but teams are reasonably new to the process. And they will leave an off-site. So excited, they’ll leave an offside workshop, and they’ll go Yeah, we’ve got to do this. We’re heading in the right direction. I’ve got absolute clarity, the mountain that we’re climbing, and then they go back and then they slot straight into the daily operations that they’ve always been doing again, and then suddenly, they’ve only got three weeks, 10 weeks have passed. They haven’t done that much. And they’ve only got three weeks, until the next opponent and they get into a panic and they go oh, what can we get done in the next three weeks?
Kevin Lawrence 14:37
Yeah, and then they never get them accomplished. So the simple thing is, the weekly meetings, it’s your 13 chances to be reminded of and refocus on accomplishing your goals for the quarter. Pretty straightforward. So let’s go into the second one. And that’s to ensure the agenda creates the right conversation. You have to have an agenda and everyone knows Yes, sir. every meeting needs an agenda. And lots don’t have them not that they don’t need them. They don’t have them. So you have to have an agenda that creates the right conversations. And that is where most meetings fall down, is forget that even knowing they should look at the company goals, the agenda isn’t that clear. And it ends up being more of a show until update. And next point, we’ll talk about timing, but even just the agenda, so I’m going to share an agenda that you know that Brad and I both use a very similar version from another project that I worked on. And he and I are very, very familiar with. Pretty straightforward. But the first one is, Brad, I start off with wins or something positive, like where what has been good about this past week? That would be the first point. Yep. The second one is looking at the numbers, this new business is a game of numbers. How are we doing on those numbers, and there’s going to be a handful you look at every week, you know, some companies do a full p&l or income statement every week. Most aren’t that, ah, I would say sophisticated. But you’re gonna have a handful of numbers or KPIs every week that give you a sense of where you’re at and how you’re trending. Yeah. Point number three is, let’s take a look at those quarterly goals for our team. Right? We don’t care about the other teams, we only care about what we have committed to the organization. Again, it could be the CEO and executive team. And that’s the team you’re on. Or it could be the customer service team, or the finance team or the maintenance team doesn’t matter. But let’s review those. What’s the progress we’ve made? What’s the next steps we have to take to accomplish them? And then the fourth is customer and employee feedback, like what are we hearing from people that we might need to pay attention to now? Right, and it could be all good. And that’s fine. Go ahead. Brad, you want to add something in that one?
Brad Giles 17:01
So customer employee feedback. You might say Net Promoter Score, employee Net Promoter Score. So he said something like that. Now, what I’ve seen a lot of people do is they would say, even we don’t do the NPS, or we do the NPS once every quarter or once every year or something like that. Or we only and they say we don’t need to talk about it weekly, because we do these surveys so irregularly. But how long would it take a toxic person in a team or a toxic customer to create major problems for you or your organization? And I would say it would be a matter of weeks. And that’s why. So if we’ve got 10 minutes in the agenda, dedicated customer and employee like we still even if we don’t have new data, we still want to talk about it. Right? So what have we heard from our employees in the last what are the interesting things positive or negative, that we’ve heard from employees in the last week, full stop, move on to the next one, and he and customers so that we’re still spending the time even if we don’t have data, and we’re beginning the process to try to get some kind of data? What can we do in the next week to get a little bit better insight?
Kevin Lawrence 18:14
Yeah, and if you’ve got nothing every week, it might be a bit of a catalyst to get you going, Hmm, maybe I should be listening better or talking to a few people and ask a few questions. So I get Yeah, it’s not meant to be the statistical data unless you have an employee feedback system or customer feedback system that constantly spits it out. It’s just sharing what do we need to be aware of, because we should be talking to them on a regular basis. So I’m going to review those four because this is the first half of the meeting, wins, numbers slash KPIs, goals, and then customer or employee feedback. And that cross at that point, you’re supposed to cross the line because that’s the information sharing. And then you need to cross the line, which most meetings never ever cross this line, but we need to cross this magical line and, and the fireworks shoot up in the air. And all of the sharing remains done. And now we actually go solve some problems, or leverage some opportunities. We call it collective intelligence or brainstorming on challenges or opportunities. But this is where those most effective people on your team actually get to put their brains to work and do something valuable.
Brad Giles 19:33
But the really important point is that this is prepared so you don’t get to the halfway point in the meeting and then say, Ah, so what’s our collective intelligence? Anyone got anything that we want to talk about? Pause. Anybody know, we pre before the meeting, we know who will be presenting, because you’ve got all of the decision-makers in the room, which is rare. You say I’m going to present about this project or this problem, or this opportunity, or this new marketing, release, whatever it is, I’m going to present I’m going to have a 10 minute presentation, we’d have 10 minutes of discussion or whatever, and then we’re going to solve it within this time. So it’s, absolutely we are prepared beforehand, and the person comes in and they present to the leadership group.
Kevin Lawrence 20:27
Yeah, it’s insanely important that you’re prepared. Unless it isn’t. And sometimes it’s awesome when you’re not prepared. And you just have a discussion and brainstorm about something that has come up, that may not be prepable Brad. And so as an example, in our team meetings, I agree, I do agree that the prepared important discussions are the ideal thing to do. And they are important. And, you know, with our team, we will have both, we have a bunch of stuff where we flush out when we’re doing it, we start off with wins. And then you know, challenges or opportunities as part of our that first five minutes, we will spend as a team, no 10 or 15 minutes every week just going through life on the spot situations that people have. Because we’re all doing similar work and doing it and it can also be highly effective now, and then they’ll have the ones that people are prepared to present to get feedback on. So I would say that both are good. But as everything disciplined preparation can make conversations, notably better. And for us, we’ll find if there’s one that does that we just can’t brainstorm, as a team and create the value was okay, how would you prepare your thoughts? And then and then and then let’s do this next week.
Brad Giles 21:53
So two of the points I’ll make about that. Number one, so many people use the weekly meeting as an operational discussion, how’s this project going? How’s that client going? Talking about those kinds of things. And, and that often comes about because in absence of trust, I don’t trust the person who’s in charge of operations, to do the right thing, I need them to report back. And I want to know every single itty bitty detail, and then you never really get to work on the priorities, which are the most important things that advanced the strategy to advance the company. So So there’s that. I think that without that, without that structure of saying, Where is the Where are the things that are not operational, it can be a challenge, I remember I was working with, for sure, I was working in the early stages with this company or international engineering firm across, I’m going to say, three or four continents, and they had the opportunity pre COVID days, when we used to fly in the air to meet one another. They, they, they would come together for two days. And all they would talk about is the projects that they were doing. And one of the problems with that is that when people are spending so much time doing a status update, they’re looking for approval and recognition from their boss. And it’s kind of maybe an insecurity thing, maybe because they want to stand out. But it’s like, hey, do you know how like, do you know how good I am? Or,
Kevin Lawrence 23:29
oh, they’re trying to show their demonstrate their value to the organization, and they’re proud of what they’re showing? It’s there. And as a friggin nightmare to participate in those meetings?
Brad Giles 23:41
Yeah, it’s absolutely a nightmare. And that’s why the weekly meeting is, are you red, Amber, green? Where are you at? Is there any other relevant sort of details about that in one or two sentences, and if you read and you’ve got major problems, then take that off somewhere else go and have a separate meeting with the relevant people, one or two people take that off. And then we’re getting back to the real important agenda items that we’re trying to work through, because everyone’s time is valuable, and we want to maintain the momentum of the business.
Kevin Lawrence 24:16
For sure. So if we go back to the point where I was brainstorming the challenges and opportunities, and there will be a lot of them that are pre-prepared, and I encourage, I like to run systems a little bit entrepreneurial, loose sometimes. And then if there’s something that’s not prepared, but keep that can be a constructive conversation, that that can be a forum to do it. And then And then the final step is to confirm whatever the heck you’ve decided, like confirming your actions and we’ll talk about that as we get a bit further because, you know, it’s great to talk about stuff, but when you’ve decided something’s going to happen is documented and have a system to make sure that it gets done, because it closed the loop we forget. Exactly. So so that’s the agenda wins. numbers and KPIs goals, customer employee feedback, then you cross that magical line. And then now we’re going to fully use our brains and work through some challenges or opportunities together, and then confirm whatever we’ve decided. So pretty straightforward. Now, you know, I don’t know about you, but the split, you know, I like to look at it as a minimum of 5050. A minimum of 50% of the time is on that collective intelligence where our brains are working together, ideally, two thirds, but at least 50%. And that means in a typical weekly meeting that lasts about an hour, you have to do the first reviewing of stuff in 30 minutes. And that’s not easy to do. Most people will run out of time, because the update section, the first four questions will take an hour. That means you’re getting into too much detail, and you’re probably discussing things way too much. So the goal is both 30 minutes to get through that. And then at least half an hour to work on challenges and opportunity. So so that would be our a point number one second, where are we that would be point number two. And we’ve kind of covered off some of the rest. So we might handle those differently, but isn’t sure the right agenda creates a conversation.
Brad Giles 26:21
Yes, three is time. And you were kind of getting to that point, just then, yeah. I would generally say to people that a weekly meeting, you want to go for one to two hours. And then depends on the size of the leadership team, the size of the company that you know, like and what feels right. So, best practice one to two hours. But when you when you’ve decided what that is, if you’re going over there, if your meeting is going to go from 9am until 10am. If you’re going over 10am, then that meeting is fundamentally a failure because those people are booking in other meetings after that meeting. So yep, you know, it is the latest job primarily to ensure that they maintain decorum and control within the meeting after the meeting runs to time and that the most important things are worked on. Many people want to talk, talk talk and show off, as we said earlier, you got to make sure you rein that in and that we know what’s going on. It’s not about operations. That’s a separate thing.
Kevin Lawrence 27:31
Yes. Yeah. So on time. And we know, Brad, Brad, you and I run meetings for a living. That’s basically, you know, with our group work is running meetings. And even with our one on one coaching, we’re in meetings and driving agendas on meeting so so once you have that agenda, it’s using timers, and I’m telling you, we use timers more and more every day, especially with virtual meetings. That’s why it appears and I think it’s actually very true, that we get more accomplished on a virtual meeting than we do in person. You know, we had a strat planning session last week, it was not a week, it was a two-day strat plan. But we’re using timers for everything we got through so much stuff, it was shocking. Going back to the weekly though, because you have smaller time chunks, you know, five minutes, 10 minutes, the use of timers is critical. It’s a very important discipline to help you to stay on time. And then if you’re running out of time, say, okay, Frank, and, and, and jack, why don’t you take that offline, you figure it out. And we can, you know, if you need us, you can bring it back next week, or you can come and see me the CEO one on one. But having the time defined, and having timers will help an incredible amount and even sometimes managing time is setting up the right expectations. So when people are going to present and again that show Intel, I’m proud of my work want to show my value, you know, how much time do they have to present and so we have a system that we use if they have five or 10 minutes to present like in my world. 10 minutes is a long presentation for an executive update on something. If it is 10 minutes, we give them we set a timer for nine. So then they have they already know they have one minute left to wrap up. Because that time for some people go so the Time management is a critical skill in anything you would add to that, Brad?
Brad Giles 29:30
Well, what matters is the first most important thing is that the meeting when it comes to time that the whole meeting finishes on time, so that people get value. If the meeting goes 30 minutes over everybody’s day has been fundamentally changed. Okay, their next meeting, the other work that they’ve got to do and if especially if that 30 minutes happened because someone spoke over time, or there was a lack of discipline. So there’s a lack of discipline. In your weekly meeting around timing, there’s a lack of discipline present in many other parts of the business. So the CEOs job is to get this, or the latest job is to get this meeting to be timed and disciplined. That’s probably on him.
Kevin Lawrence 30:14
Yep. And it’s about training your people to get used to being succinct on things. And sometimes you just got to call the question, okay, we need to make a decision and move on. So for example, you know, a meeting I was running last week, it’s like, okay, two more comments. And we use the raise their hand function and zoom to more comments, and then we’re gonna close this conversation, make a decision and move on to the next one. And that’s about leading a meeting. So that’s managing time. Number four, is to push the deeper dive conversations to one on ones, or maybe even the monthly meetings, like the stuff that comes up, you know, you can’t get through this in 10 minutes a lot, you can see it start, you know, and if you push these things too hard, too fast, you’re not going to get the buy in or the right decision. So it’s knowing as the leader when to call it and saying, Hey, can we deal with this offline? Should this be on the monthly? Could this go into the sales meeting? Could this go into the marketing meeting, like to know that this is maybe not the forum? and What to do? To do differently with this?
Brad Giles 31:21
Yeah, so I like to get teams first of all set up with the weekly meeting, get them meet weekly, get them performing well on the weekly meeting, and then once they’ve got the weekly meet, when we claim meeting performing? Well, I’ll get them to begin the monthly meeting. And I like to say that the weekly meeting is a shallow dive into your strategic plan. And the monthly is a deep dive. So you can like we spoke about collective intelligence, the presentation, whereas it might be 30 minutes or so or 45 minutes at a weekly, it’s gonna be like an hour or an hour and a half at a month, I like to say exactly two to four hours for a monthly a deep dive in one to two hours for weekly, a shallow dive. And that, that that overarching context, it allows people to say, all right, well, that’s more appropriate for us to discuss at the monthly rather than the weekly, but the other part of it is the quarterly and there are some bigger subjects than you mentioned. And I encourage leaders to say don’t chase the shiny things, because entrepreneurs are, you know, I’ve started six companies, I know I have this affliction myself, you get distracted, so easily just execute the 13 week plan. And then when you come up with a crazy idea, or an exciting idea, or one of the leadership team to say that’s an awesome idea, let’s table that for our quarterly where we’ve got a full day to, to work on that type of stuff.
Kevin Lawrence 32:55
Exactly. Because that’s, that’s, that is something that’s different than your current execution plan for the quarter. So if you say yes to it, you’re actually changing your quarterly execution plan or adding more to it. Awesome. So know when to get stuff off the engine. And Brad, you know, the way I think about it, because I think in my mind, you know, the weakness, the maximum of an hour and a half. Again, that’s you that may, you know, make up your own mind about it. But it’s like a what a 15 to 20 minute discussion max at a weekly. And again, like at that monthly, it could be generally they’re 30 to 30 minutes to an hour or sometimes an hour and a half and a monthly we need more time. Again, these are guidelines, customize it to suit yourself, right. The key is to make it valuable and not make these things a drain or a distraction. So the next point number five is to update it, we’ve been talking about this, we probably already mentioned it 10 times in this podcast is that you know is to really go and update on those company goals. The purpose of this meeting is to move those ahead and to hit those things. And this is the only forum those are going to get focused on throughout the month, except for on the monthly. So as we talked about already, progress on them. And then next steps to ensure completion as I shared, you know, our team uses and limiting of our clients use like a red, yellow green system, where are we at Red, more likely to fail, yellow, we’re behind, but we can still make it work. Green, we’re on track. And it makes it’s a simple way to communicate it and when we review those, and again, you review those that accompany level in the weekly, you go into, we go into including the individual level at monthly, but it’s a key way to stay calibrated on those and remind people about what has to happen next. And if there’s an issue or a resource or a stuck that someone has that they could use our assistance with that can come up there too.
Brad Giles 34:50
The underlying key here is that you’ve got to set SMART goals. You’ve got to set things that you can measure through the quarter to be able to colour code them. Funnily enough, my colour codes are slightly different. But what matters is that the company, everyone is on the same page. So mine would be red web behind, it’s urgent it needs action. Amber is we’re likely to achieve it by the due date. And then green is it’s complete. We don’t need to do any more work on it. But I’m not necessarily right. And nor are you it’s what is what feels right. And what will work best in your company.
Kevin Lawrence 35:31
Yeah, it’s a system pick what suits you no matter what, it’s an easy communication method to be able to look at whether it’s goals or KPIs, to have a sense of where they’re at. And where we might need to pay some attention to when.
Brad Giles 35:46
And there’s also the way the tool that I use that I get people to work with is what I call last seven, next seven. So let’s say it’s a 13 week race, that we’re trying to execute all of the priorities. And so what have you, if we were role playing? Kevin, I would say, so what have you done in the last seven days on that project on that priority? And what do you need to do in the next seven, so this doesn’t need to be a 45 minute update. But that’s what each person is reporting on and documenting. And we talked about closing the loop and accountability before I find a started using the who, what when method, which is who is going to do what by when, and then you finish the weekly meeting with a list. But this pays more particular attention to the individual. So on the item of let’s say, implement Salesforce might be a priority for an organization. So what did you do in the last seven days? And what do you need to do in the next seven days, so it maintains a momentum around all of those things.
Kevin Lawrence 36:51
And both of us when we do core live planning sessions, ideally get people to pre plan we call them rock action plans, but a list of activities they’re going to do to accomplish that goal, they just need to pull that up and refer to that. So that’s, that’s critical to move those goals ahead. Let’s go to number six. And we’ve already talked about that collective intelligence and being prepared. But there’s a couple of really important points. And the first one, and this one drives me crazy. Brad drives me crazy. When people are presenting, and I’m like, Okay, what do you want from us? Oh, I just wanted to let you know, well, then send a bloody email, if I just need to know about something, send me an FYI, we’re not going to burn our highest value time, which is when we get together every week for an hour or two. And so so as to know what is the desired outcome, and or the decision that needs to be made, and by whom? Now we do this also, at monthly meetings and quarterly meetings, you know, we’ve made a huge improvement in some meetings with companies by just this step. So what is the outcome? And, and, and, and the decision that needs to come out of today’s meeting, and by whom, once you frame that, then we know what to listen for? And what to be thinking about, well, this is happening.
Brad Giles 38:15
And that’s just about maintaining discipline, you know, we can just catch up for coffee and have a chat if you like. But there’s, there’s no inherent leadership team value for the whole team around that, you know, that is the framing of the question that comes back to the preparation as well, which is it is it’s the depth of the quality of the preparation and the rigidity of the agenda and the timing that leads to the quality of the meeting, because, you know, there was a cartoon called Dilbert. And they had no end of have material to work with when it comes to meetings, because meetings can be so boring meetings can be so invaluable to any team. But if you’re talking about a two hour meeting, people will go into a dark room for two hours and be completely captivated. Okay, around a movie, they’ll go into a movie theater to watch a movie. And, and yet, people will equally go into a meeting and they will be completely bored. And they will just think, yeah, they’ll be bored to tears and they will see no inherent value, and it will be one of the worst parts of their week. And that all comes down to the preparation, the agenda, the timings are the meetings engaging and that’s what we’re really talking about here. And these
Kevin Lawrence 39:53
little points of discipline make a difference. So imagine that Brad comes and wants to present an update on His project, and he makes an appt presentation in a weekly meeting for 25 minutes. And then he says any questions and we ask a few questions. And then we say, Okay, great. So now what Brad? Oh, nothing, I just wanted you to be aware, it’s gonna be a nightmare. So instead, Brad Pitt prepares with the end in mind. We also on the next layer would say, Brad, you’ve got five minutes to present. And I really pushed for shorter presentations. Because for some reason, we just we, you know, as Mark Twain was quoted saying, and it may not have been him, but you know, I love this quote is, I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time. You know, and short presentations, you have to really know what you’re talking about, or what you’re trying to achieve. And so, no matter what, I recommend five to 10 minute presentations, and then twice that time for discussions and debate. And that’s where the value is tapping into the brains. And whether it’s helping to improve a decision, getting buy in on a decision, or maybe looking at alternatives to a decision. It’s incredibly powerful. But how long do you think some if someone’s going to make a five or 10 minute presentation? How long do you think they should be preparing for their segment of the meeting?
Brad Giles 41:24
I would say it depends. but bear with me, it depends. If it’s something that, you know, really, we’ll, I would say, five to 10 minutes, I would say maybe twice that amount, like maybe 20 minutes. If it’s something that they don’t know very well, it could be quite a bit longer. But if it’s completely in your wheelhouse, and you know, you already know a lot about it still, like 20 minutes,
Kevin Lawrence 41:51
yeah, you need cuz you gotta, cuz you’re gonna spend 10 minutes presenting to seven people, you’re going to consume 70 minutes of time presenting, and then probably 140 minutes of this discussion when you add up everyone’s time in that room. So I think the key point, the key is here is be very prepared know, what is the desired outcome, and or decision and who is going to make that decision. And that helps for the people in the room to be set up. And then you know, time limits. So the final point, number seven, and it’s just to be really clear on what the committed action is. So, you know, in a meeting I was in recently, they use a system, I forget the name of the system, they use to track it. But as decisions, we change the discipline, because there’s meetings that I was a part of, and they would lose the actions they would forget. And they’re really good people, they’re not bad people. So what we do is that they had somebody had, one of the people being described for that section of the meeting, would have that platform open where they know their actions. And they’re, they’re writing it in when the decision is made, the who, the what and the when, and then they’re confirming it back to make sure we have it right. Now, it sounds so simple. But uh, Frank is sitting here making notes, and he forgets to update it or rewrites it differently, you know, things get lost, and we don’t want to lose these important decisions. So the who, what, when formatting has been around forever, it’s the basic, it’s smart. But what is the system that you’re going to constantly refer back to? So you don’t lose sight of the commitment? And if there’s no commitment? Well, then what do you what are you doing?
Brad Giles 43:37
Yeah, and there’s the commitment. But there’s also the accountability loop. Right. So so this is what I call the credibility chasm. So we’re trying to, we’re trying to close the accountability by saying, Kevin, when we met, when we met last week, you said you were going to call three people? How did you go with that? And you called three people, so that’s great. Or no, I didn’t have any time. I didn’t call anyone. Okay. So I’m using that credibility. To create accountability, okay, in front of this. It’s not about embarrassing them or anything like that. It’s just saying, This is what you and I’m not forcing you. This is what you said you were going to do? Did you do it? So it’s about creating that accountability so that we can drive the performance and help it with a focus on the most important things.
Kevin Lawrence 44:27
Yeah, and it’s not rocket science. We just need reminders. And as a leader, you can start to see patterns with people who consistently do what they say. And as an individual, you can see those same patterns. So So Brett, why don’t we kind of sum up these things. And you think, oh, weekly meeting. It’s such a basic thing. Yeah, but it’s intricate. And there’s a lot of little details to get it right. So so the first thing is to know what you’re trying to create with this meeting, what’s the value and that is driving the strategy of the company ahead those quarterly execution goals. Making sure we get them all done. That’s number one. Number two, ensure the agenda creates the right conversations and action. And we went through and ran through that agenda for you. That is critical. Three, set time limits manage time. Well, so having pre planned time on the agenda, but as the leader staying on time, that’s one managing the conversation to having timers to audibly guide you and your team members. Number four, there’s deeper dive or sideline conversation, push them to a one on one, push them to a marketing meeting, or wherever they belong. Or maybe it’s your monthly or quarterly, but get the conversations that aren’t relevant to this meeting somewhere else, or maybe they don’t need to happen. Five updates on those company goals every quarter, though your piece of the company goals and driving to make sure and I’d rather like your I know, you mentioned this one before, you know last seven x seven, what did you do in the last seven days? What are you going to do in the next seven days just to keep marching ahead and grinding out the completion of those goals. Pre prepared for that collective intelligence point six. And that’s you know that where you’re going to tap into everyone’s brains to leverage an opportunity or solve a problem. Know the desired outcome and or decision know who that decision-maker is. And then know how much time you have to present it should only be five or 10 minutes and how much time for discussion. And then finally, just be really clear on what the outcome is. What are the actions who what when document those so we can follow up and I call it you know, you call it the accountability credibility is that what you call the pride or credibility?
Brad Giles 46:48
The credibility chasm, we’re trying to create that which one identifies and illuminates the chasm between the things that they say they’re going to do and the things that they actually do?
Kevin Lawrence 47:00
credibility chasm, that’s a great one. Awesome. Good list day.
Brad Giles 47:05
It’s a good list and I’ll tell you what, I’m you saw the evil eyes that cat gave me earlier on in this podcast, right? It’s sent us a wave of fear through my heart. So yeah, I’m so glad that I wasn’t attacked. That’s
Kevin Lawrence 47:21
Yes. And I saw you at one point pick it up and carry it somewhere else now did a follow you back.
Brad Giles 47:27
Now I love I locked it in a room like put it in a room and close the door. Because those guys were haunting me.
Kevin Lawrence 47:36
A black cat is not awesome. On the day that we even had some interesting technical things to say, Hey, that was great, Brad. That was That was good. Well done on your kitty cat management as well.
Brad Giles 47:54
All right, so let’s move to close. This has been the growth whispers as always, we’re talking about how to build or building enduring great companies. I’m Brad Giles, joined by Kevin Lawrence. If you’d like to find me, you can go to evolution partners.com.au if you’d like to find Kevin is at Lawrence and co.com. So thanks very much. We hope you enjoyed the weekly meetings and have a great week. We’d love to chat with you again next week.
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