“We have too many meetings!”
This is always one the first complaints we hear from our clients, and a concerning one at best.
The good news is that this can easily be fixed.
What causes this problem?
At times, meetings can become full of non-value added anecdotes or voicing of problems without solutions that take up the meeting’s allotted time. Key takeaways, whether or not they are noted, are not followed-up on. The only follow-up activity is another meeting which is even more detrimental. Like with the first meeting, this one is also unproductive, which leads to efficiency problems that cost the company more money.
These meetings turn out to be scheduled or unscheduled. When unscheduled meetings are held, attendees are told to drop everything, attend, and “follow” (for lack of a better word) what is really a random agenda. This leads to Groundhog Day, where this meeting is once again, full of non-value added conversations. In this case, the staff is leaving their work behind to go to a meeting that doesn’t move anything forward.
How do we fix this?
Rigor. By installing rigor, businesses make their meetings more productive, reduce their frequency, and increase the velocity of the business, and therefore, its profits.
One of the tools we created and use with our clients does just this. This tool, called the Company Communication Schedule, defines when your meetings are, how long they take, who attends, and what the agenda is. It works.
From the business’s perspective, they see a defined meeting outline. There is no more “maybe we should do it this way” or “should so-and-so attend?” ambiguity. With meetings being scheduled and defined, they will then be much more efficient.
The Company Communication Schedule is one of our many tools that we offer within the STUCK Breakthrough Strategies process. The image below is a screenshot of the tool being used to show the defined meeting agenda for a stand up meeting with a production team.
What are the benefits of the Company Communication Schedule?
The immediate answer is that allows for businesses to minimize the duration of their meetings while maximizing the efficiency. More specifically…
- It’s defined. The days of hunting down participants who forgot to attend are over. Randomly scheduled meetings are turned into meetings that are held on the same day every day, week, month, quarter, or year.
- It has a designated start time. The meeting will begin once the clock strikes that time.
- The agenda communicates what prep work needs to be completed. When attendees come prepared, the meeting is much more effective.
- When everyone is prepared, the agenda will lead from topic to topic. Since staff knows that they have to cover all agenda items within the allotted time, less of that time will be spent on those non-value add items.
- The onboarding process of new hires will be expedited. They will know where the meeting is located and what is going to be covered, which will help them have a better understanding of how the business runs during their orientation process. This will lead to a better impression of the business.
- A predetermined agenda allows for easier rotation of facilitators. When facilitators change, there is a greater engagement of participants, which helps with leadership development.
Okay, how do I create a Communication Schedule?
It’s simple. Really simple.
- List every recurring meeting.
- List the name, frequency, start and end time, meeting owner, attendees and agenda for each meeting.
- Communicate it to staff.
- …and watch your meetings be transformed.
Tip: Even with a rigorous communication schedule, some random, but work related, communications may occur due to communication gaps that evolve throughout the work day. This is okay. If another topic must be discussed, include that missed topic to an existing running agenda. On the other hand, if there is nothing to report about an existing agenda topic, simply skip it.
Our experience with implementing this communication schedule with our clients has been extremely positive. By implementing this rigorous tool, their meetings have become dynamic, efficient, and shorter. These meetings add to the productivity of the employees, instead of from them.
Are you ready to transform your meetings?
The Company Communication Schedule is just one of our many tools. Please contact us learn more about how your business can breakthrough by using our business planning and execution tools!