It’s Thursday morning and the senior team has gathered for the weekly meeting. The meeting where a group of your highest paid managers assemble to, you know, have a meeting. Sometimes there’s an agenda, and sometimes there isn’t one. There may be action items and follow-up tasks from previous meetings, but not always. They discuss sales, operations, customer service, customers, people, and sometimes even financial results. If these sound like some of the meetings you’ve been in, you know that they just aren’t as productive as they could be — and your team deserves better. Don’t let these meetings look like those run by John Cleese of Monty Python fame. After all, this should be viewed as time allocated to “working on the business.”
I am generally a fan of leadership meetings. My expectations are those assembled are the folks within the company who can influence the direction and outcome of the day-to-day, and year-over-year results of the business. If so, then how can they gauge the true effectiveness of their efforts? What should be on in their dashboard, or scorecard? What should they center on to stay focused, and course correct as needed, in order to accomplish their objectives?
Let’s briefly talk about the leadership team meeting logistics. These meetings seem to be more effective when they are scheduled in advance, stay on schedule, and follow an agenda that has been distributed well before the meeting time. The agenda will vary based on the company and the issues they are tackling, but if the goal is to work on the business, it should touch on all the relevant aspects of their operation.
We’ve all been in meetings when one person dominates the conversation, and also in those where it’s been more collaborative. I vote collaborative. In fact, another interesting method is to rotate who leads the meeting. This is commonly done in the EOS Traction model.
As I mentioned earlier, I view these meetings as the opportunity to work on the business. These meetings also provide accountability for each member of the senior team. Did they accomplish what they said they were going to accomplish? If they did, great. If they didn’t, why? What got in their way? Now, working as a team, can they help get this across the finish line?
Each manager should have their own set of metrics and areas of accountability. While they may differ for each company, they need to be specific to the areas of their responsibility. They need to be objective, achievable, and relatively easy to report on.
Two great resources from the past are the metrics included in the PIA ratio studies and NAPL’s 13 vital metrics. These remain as relevant today as ever. Use these two resources to evaluate and benchmark the metrics you are using in your business and determine if there are areas of improvement that you can make. Don’t forget to include feedback from your staff and customers — they vote on the effectiveness of the leadership team every day.
I do tend to see more leaders participating in industry specific peer groups. Perhaps as a benefit of being in a peer group, these companies tend to effectively use key metrics to drive their business, and gauge the effectiveness of their leadership team. Just an observation.
If your senior team meetings are effective, productive, and you get things done, congratulations. If they are not where are you want them to be, perhaps some of these ideas might be helpful. Let’s get a discussion going about the need for these meetings, and how to make them as effective and productive as they can be. I look forward to your comments.
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic counsel, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in Printing Impressions.