Organizing your time and how efficiently you use it, is the best skill to master as an intrapreneur/entrepreneur. As you start to build and grow your team to delivery your products and services and support your clients, it is so important to make sure everyone is disciplined on how time is spent across all the multi-functional facets of their job.
Meetings tend to creep up and take over calendars, which will directly impact productivity if they are not managed with some discipline. How many times have you sat in a meeting and started to roll your eyes and said to yourself, “Yet another useless meeting where I get a status update that is days old, and I am being talked at.” Believe me, if you as a leader feel this way in the meeting, your staff does too! What a waste of time!
Why perpetuate an activity in your company that doesn’t create action? This applies to all levels of leadership within a firm, if you can focus on the effectiveness of why you are meeting you will increase the performance of your company.
Here are 5 Meeting Management Tips to avoid the slow death of your company:
1. Have an Explicit Actionable Agenda for ALL meetings (No Excuses)
Create a rule if there isn’t an agenda established ahead of time, then the meeting doesn’t happen. It eats away at time at the start of each meeting if you don’t have an agenda in place.
Agenda’s also make sure the right attendees are in the meeting to help drive decisions or removed obstacles that stop people from getting their job done.
Agendas determine the length of time required for the meeting.
Most meetings can be accomplished within 15 meetings if you are efficient.
Obstacles – Handle critical items at the start of the meetings so they can be resolved during the meeting with action steps and owners
Celebrations – What was accomplished since the last meeting
Threshold to Cross – What are you aiming for next
Oh, and if you called the meeting, you are responsible for putting the agenda together, even if you want to have others lead part of the meeting, it is up to you to form that agenda and guide the meeting.
2. Relevant Attendees Only
Meetings are expensive, especially when experts and leaders are involved. I love calculating the cost of a meeting for some of my larger clients to help them assess what is worth it.
For one of my clients, I put together a meeting calculator that would give you the cost down to the minute by the members attending that meeting to help them realize efficiency in that meeting was key and justifying attendance was worth it.
When they saw the spend and the lack of output from attending each meeting in the non-actionable format, when they changed course to be Actionable Agenda driven and it saved them thousands, and their staff was ecstatic that they were not bogged down with meetings and could get their work done during the work day, as opposed to after hours.
3. Operating Procedures for each meeting is essential for effective time management.
I know you are thinking, that sounds so systematic, well it is. Imagine how efficient meetings would be if you agreed ahead of time how you would conduct decision making, conflict resolution, how actions are tracked and who owns them. Imagine if you were able to get the questions you truly need answered to get your job done or advance the company in the actual meeting vs. offline and after the meeting ends. Imagine if you had full transparency in meetings vs. side bar agenda management when others are not listening.
All these behaviors create your code of conduct for each meeting. As leaders/meeting managers, if you take the first time you are coming together with a new group and outline how the meeting will be conducted up-front, the ease of coming together in action becomes so much more effective. You will spend less time in the meetings wondering why you are there and if you will get the outcome you are looking for and jump back into action moving your business forward vs. herding cats to agree on how to move forward over several meetings.
If you want to create your operating procedures in a collaborative way, run a 30 minute meeting with the meeting members and answer the following questions:
How will we track our meeting actions, obstacles, ownership and follow through?
If we come across conflict in our meeting, how will we resolve it?
How we will manage the use of time in our meetings? Do we have a standing actionable agenda we want to use for each meeting?
What is the standard meeting time we need to accomplish?
Who and how will we be managing the agenda, invites, and meeting management requirements when we come together?
How will we manage topics address in the meeting that do not pertain to the agenda?
If there is no agenda outlined for a meeting, will you agree not to have the meeting?
Document your answers to the above questions and share with the group. The facilitator of each meeting will then ensure you follow the guidelines you have put together and save you so much time and money and helps you stay effective and in action.
4. Tracking outcomes and actions is everything to ensure meeting efficiency over time.
When you track outcomes and actions and assign owners and due dates, you will be able to follow through on delivering against them with ease. It’s not just a statement in a meeting anymore, it shows ownership and follow through to track the value of why you came together in the first place.
If you have a virtual board that consolidates all activities from your meetings, it will make it easier for attendees to update with their results and track what they are responsible for with ease.
5. Stay Consistent! It takes a rhythm of reliability to have long term impact.
If you stay consistent in running your meetings with an agenda, only having the people that own the outcome attend, and track your actions, decisions, and follow through, you will find sustainable value when your team comes together.
Do you see how the above meeting management methods could increase your productivity at work and save you time and money? Apply this to your 1:1 meetings too! When you put this into action, I want to hear from you!
I would love to understand how the energy across your teams has shifted and how your time management has become more efficient, so you can focus on what is most important to you and your company’s growth strategies.
These are tips from my GSD methods I have been sharing with my clients over the past 15 years. I can’t wait to hear how they have impacted your work environment.