- Orchestrating Your Meeting Symphony From Stand-Up to Weekly to Monthly
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May 15, 2024

We've been conditioned to believe that meetings are the enemy of productivity. We've all have horror stories of endless, soul-sucking gatherings that drain our energy and stifle our creativity. But what if it didn't need to be that way? What if there was an option that left you and your team feeling energized and focused?

As a Scaling Up Coach with years of entrepreneurial and executive coaching experience, I've seen firsthand how a well-designed meeting flow can alter a company from chaotic ramblings into a well-oiled discussion machine. As a coach, this is one of my favorite areas to work with teams on because the transformation is palpable. 

Stand-Up Meetings

The Daily Huddle

Your daily stand-up meeting is the drumbeat that sets the rhythm for your day. I once worked with a client who compared their stand-up to a NASA mission control briefing. They'd assemble their team, align their efforts, and tackle the day's challenges with laser focus. Here's a winning agenda for your daily stand-up:

1. What did you accomplish yesterday that would be meaningful to this team?

2. What's on your plate for today? No more than your top three items. 

3. Any roadblocks or support needed?

Keep it concise, targeted, and under 15 minutes. This daily check-in is your team's chance to stay in lockstep, address issues swiftly, and maintain forward momentum. Also, it's up to the team to police those that are rambling, off-focus or having a discussion. Think "roll-call" rather than a forum. 

Weekly Meetings

Urgent / Important then Non-Urgent / Important

Teams gather once a week for no more than 90 minutes. The goal here is to review dashboard metrics pertaining to company health, review progress on priorities and rank discussions according to impact significance. Once again, it's up to the team to hold the teammates accountable to sticking to the agreed flow of the meeting and ordering of topics. 

  1. Segue - Personal and Professional best from the last week (5 mins)
  2. Scorecard review - Is the metric green or red, if it's red for multiple weeks make it an issue candidate. (5 mins)
  3. Customer and employee headlines. HEADLINES, not discussions. Think New York Times headlines, if someone in the team wants to hear more they can ask to drop it down to your Issues list. (5 mins)
  4. Progress on quarterly priorities (Rocks). Declare if your Rock is "on or off-track", if it's on-track take no more than 15 seconds to share what you did to keep it on-track. If you were off-track, we're not sharing excuses, if someone wants to hear your excuse they can drop it to the Issues list. (5 mins).
  5. To-do List Review - It's either done or not done. No discussion. If a teammate missed the to-do then they get an * next to the title of the to-do. Once you get three astriks it automatically becomes the number one issue on the list. The team needs to hear why you aren't able to complete the work you said you'd do. 
  6. Issue List - Rank and order the issues according to greatest organizational impact. Look for the urgent/important items first, then switch to the non-urgent/important items. NOTE: Not all issue will be addressed in a single meeting, some issues will carry over for weeks. If that happens then perhaps it's not an "issue" at all. (60 mins)
  7. Conclusion: Recap, rating, and feedback. Review to-do assignments and dates, and change as needed. All members then grade the meeting from a 1 to a 10, 10 being the best meeting ever. I suggest everyone submits or writes their scores first to avoid peer influence; then everyone shares their score and rationale for grading. This helps normalize actions and involvement across the team. (5 mins)

Monthly Meetings

Slowing is Smooth, Smooth is Fast. 

Now, let's discuss your monthly meeting - think of it as your quarterly off-site compressed into a half-day. This is where you rise above the day-to-day, assess your progress, and adjust your course if needed. One of my clients called their monthly meeting "The Strategy Summit," where they'd gain a panoramic view of their business's goings-on. Here's a peak-performance agenda for your 3-4 hour monthly meeting:

  1. Welcome & Check-In (5-10 min): Open on an energizing note with personal and professional wins.
  2. Team Development (30-60 min): Dedicate time to culture, morale, collaboration, and skill-building.
  3. Scorecard Review (15-20 min): Review key metrics, celebrate wins, and identify critical issues.
  4. Headlines & Highlights (10-15 min): Share major developments, changes, and customer feedback.
  5. Pressing Issues & Challenges (60-90 min): Prioritize and solve the most critical issues. In this meeting we start with non-urgent/important issues first. I also suggest reviewing the Issue List and removing or redefining old issues. 
  6. Quarterly Goals and Rock Progress (20-30 min): Review progress on 90-day goals and adjust as needed. 
  7. Meeting Recap & Closing (5 min): Summarize decisions, confirm next steps, and close on an inspiring note.

Your monthly meeting is your opportunity to ensure you're staying true to your vision, adapting to market changes, and positioning your company for long-term success.

As the legendary Steve Jobs once said, "Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people." Your meetings are the stage where your team comes together to create magic. By orchestrating your meeting flow from stand-up to weekly to monthly, you'll create a symphony of collaboration, innovation, and unstoppable momentum.

Remember, your meetings are not just about ticking boxes and going through the motions. They're about generating unity, driving results, and celebrating the milestones. Grab your baton, tune your instruments, and lead your orchestra. Here's to your success, my fellow entrepreneurs!

author avatar
George Morris
I use my 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience and training to coach businesses on scaling up rapidly using Verne Harnish's Scaling Up framework. By doing so, my clients are more efficient and profitable, giving them the ability to make bigger impacts in the world. I deeply believe entrepreneurs are the best equipped to be the vehicle for meaningful change, and in the decade ahead, we'll see a substantial shift in how business is done. We'll move to a model where company purpose, impact, curiosity, and team health will be differentiators in overall business success. As Simon Sinek has pointed out, the finite games are the legacy of the past; we're moving to an infinite game.