COVID-19 threw many companies for a loop by forcing teams into working remotely with little or no time to prepare. Even though the tech industry had started to forge that path years ago, most companies hadn’t envisioned a distributed workforce in their future. Managers had to quickly tap into traits of flexibility, adaptability, and resilience to transition their teams into this new realm without sacrificing productivity.
While the pandemic has proven that companies can actually conduct business remotely, what remains to be determined is if they are as effective. Many employees have struggled to maintain healthy boundaries between work and personal hours toiling late into the night and suffering burnout. Others feel being remote has made it challenging to maintain connections with people in their organization. There is one way to address both of these concerns while also keeping teams engaged, focused, and accountable – powerful meetings.
Even though working remotely may require more meetings than in the past, the unlock is to ensure people’s time is being used efficiently. The first thing you need to do as a company is to establish ground rules for virtual meetings. Are you a camera on and no distractions facilitator or have you allowed people to determine their own level of engagement? The higher the level of engagement, the better your chance is of having a productive meeting. Once ground rules are established, the next task at hand is to make sure meetings are met with proper preparation and cadence.
All of us know a bad meeting when we see one. They lack focus, tend to end without resolution, and are all around painful. The structure in which meetings are shaped can make all the difference between being powerful or ineffective. Creating a context for meetings ensures success and effective use of time and focus. Naming it allows for each meeting to have a purpose, a flow, and a point. Preparing for the meeting with intended outcomes is a powerful way to stay on track. Making sure to end each meeting with an action plan and owners is just as important as the preparation
In his book, Death by Meeting, Patrick Lencioni recommends four different types of meetings. Each of these meetings serves an important function in keeping teams aligned and clarifying what should be addressed when. The first is the daily check-in or 6 big daily rocks(priorities). This meeting provides a forum for ensuring nothing falls through the cracks and the team is informed and aligned to what everyone else is doing. Just 5 minutes in the morning drastically reduces the amount of superfluous email between team members sent throughout the day. The next meeting is the weekly tactical check-in or 3-6 big weekly rocks which provides teams a forum for sharing priorities for the week, reviewing progress against critical business objectives, and setting an agenda in real-time that addresses the most critical needs in the moment.
The monthly strategic meeting and the quarterly review give leaders much-needed space to think strategically about the future direction and demands of the business. In the monthly strategic meeting, leaders review the performance of the company in light of competition or industry trends. It is also a time to assess the strength of the organization from a personnel standpoint. The quarterly review gives the team an opportunity to go deeper in assessing business and organizational performance in a more holistic, long-term perspective.
Regular and effective meetings are vitally important to the success of any organization. In today’s world of distributed workers, meetings are the lifeblood of connection and collaboration. They can be utilized as a way to bring team members together to align on corporate strategies or initiatives and move an organization forward. With the right approach, meetings can turn the boring into exciting, unfocused into alignment, and the pain into enjoyment and engagement.
Want to learn more about how to create momentum through powerful meetings in your organization? Check out KeenAlignment’s MOMENTUM program that drives breakthrough results for remote teams. Also download our FREE 6 Big Rocks accountability tracker to help keep teams stay focused and achieve results.