It’s no secret that most people cringe when they hear the words, “let’s have a meeting.” Most meetings are awful.
When I first took the helm of our third-generation family business, I ran some pretty awful meetings. I knew I had to get the team on the same page with everything that was happening on a day-to-day basis, so I scheduled the leadership team to meet for 2-3 hours every other week.
Truth be told, I dreaded meeting days because I knew it would mean several hours of preparing the agenda, along with numerous charts and graphs as backup (I was a whiz at Excel and could slice and dice data hundreds of different ways).
We were scheduled to meet on Wednesdays, but something always seemed to come up—an important sales meeting, an operational firefight, or a key team member that double-booked themselves. As a result, we’d attempt to change the day and time of the meeting so everyone could make it. I wasted countless hours just trying to get everyone there at the same time!
We’d rarely start on time—someone would always be late (and sometimes it was me…after all I’m greek, and Greeks operate on “Greek Time”). And let’s face it, my meetings never ended on time. I felt like it was an act of God just to get everyone together at the same time, so I wanted to make sure we got through everything. Yes, everything.
I wish I knew then what I know now.
EOS makes it possible to focus your leadership team on the most important use of everyone’s time each week. The solution is baked into weekly Level 10 Meetings, along with five simple rules to running great meetings.
5 Points That Make a Huge Difference in Running Effective Meetings
1) Same Agenda. Use the same agenda each week. The Level 10 Meeting agenda is simple and effective. It saves time because you won’t need to create a new agenda each week.
2) Same day. Pick a day of the week, and stick to it. If someone is on vacation, the meeting must still go on—don’t change it!
3) Same time. Set your meeting as a recurring appointment in your calendar as well as the rest of your team’s. If your meeting is 9:00-10:30 a.m. every Monday, make sure it’s blocked out on everyone’s calendar every Monday, forever. Plan everything else around this meeting time and treat it with the highest level of importance. Plan customer meetings around this time block.
4) Start on time. You’re paying your team to be there—eliminate frustrations, wasted time, and wasted money from people waiting around for the meeting to begin. All of our clients subscribe to Vince Lombardi’s rule: “Early is on time, on time is late.” Plan to arrive at least five minutes early every week for your meetings.
5) End on time. There is nothing more frustrating than a meeting that never ends. By not ending on time, you’re creating a domino effect for everyone else in the room, potentially throwing off their entire day. Protect your team’s time and give them confidence that they can plan activities right after your stated end time.
If I had known about these five simple rules to running great meetings, our team would have been more productive, and would have gotten more done in less time. And now I feel sorry for putting everyone in our family business through that mess! I can only imagine how much they must have dreaded those meetings. Please learn from my mistakes!
Stay tuned for my next post to find out how to effectively manage the overwhelming 14-page list of issues that I tried to tackle in our family business meetings!