The last two meetings I introduced from the agile software development domain:
- The Daily Huddle, which is the daily meeting for communication and information within the team
- A very rigid, structured, always-the-same weekly meeting, which replaces the standard jour fixe.
There are several other meetings, of course, like an annual meeting—which I’ll talk about next time—where we talk about strategy, and also a meeting that I have monthly.
The So-Called Monthly Meeting
In addition to the Daily and the Weekly, I would like to introduce another meeting I always have. Of course, if I am new to a team, I do not introduce all of the new meeting formats at once. However, after a couple of weeks, I always add something new from Daily to weekly to monthly and so on.
When introducing a lengthy meeting, as with other new stuff, I always hear the same excuses:
- We can’t afford that.
- It costs a lot of money. I can’t leave my team alone.
- I can’t get out of the operational business.
- You have no idea how much work there is here.
I’m usually strict about having my meetings.
Before you contradict me here—I can well understand that you will say: “No, we already have enough meetings”—let me break it down for you! The focus of an Annual Meeting is on setting the strategy and focus of the Dailies. On the other hand, the Weekly is on operational execution of the work. That leaves the focus of a Monthly Meeting: learning.
Your team, especially if they are leaders themselves, need to learn, too.
This is an opportunity for the leadership team, i.e., the top-level, to pass on its ideas, content, and DNA to the next level, for example, to the team leaders.
Actually, four hours should be enough for the Monthly Meeting. However, in practice, we often went so far that we usually needed an entire day. If the cadence was then only every six weeks and not every month, we even stayed overnight.
It’s good if you can bring the extended management, including your executives’ managers, into this meeting as well.
In the Monthly Meeting, you can review the progress of individuals, but also of the whole:
- You can see if the priorities that the individual areas have set for themselves have been met.
- You can check the numbers and the achievement of goals in detail.
- You can discuss what works and what doesn’t from a process point of view.
- And since the entire management team is present, you can make all the necessary adjustments.
The Monthly Meeting is also the time to do a couple of hours of training. That can be team-building or problem-solving. That can also be presentation training.
But I also have to learn, and I am part of the team.
As a manager, I’ve always found a way to peel money from the budget to hire outside trainers. Why? Because I’m part of the team, too.
If I now had to organize and moderate the whole thing as the top executive, it would not only be very exhausting; I simply wouldn’t be part of the team. I would have to focus on running the workshop and the learning exercise.
Whenever you can book an external trainer, do it. That’s my clear recommendation.
In any case, it is crucial to involve the entire senior and middle management teams so that everyone has a structured collaboration time. This is especially important when it comes to growing and aligning the middle management team. This ensures they become a team as well. Not just the team around you.
I can already hear, “We already do all that in our quarterly or annual meeting. And what are the one-to-ones still for anyway? We don’t need all this extra structure.”
I’ve heard all that. I understand, too. Change always hurts.
Let me take one more shot at convincing you.
These daily, weekly and monthly meetings are proven to be superior to any one-on-one meeting. Why? In one-on-one meetings, and the one-to-ones, there is no one to really disagree with you – it is just you and your direct. If your direct says something untrue or makes excuses, you can’t verify that. In the end, you cannot know everything.
People often talk their way out of problems when they’re not in public. They don’t do that in a group because a confrontation is much more likely.
If accountability is an issue for goals, the peer pressure of daily and weekly meetings keeps things moving much better than when a single manager reports to the CEO.
It’s easier to get the work done than to have to face the team every day and every week, making an excuse for why you didn’t complete what you were supposed to do again.
So these meetings, as I’ve suggested here, as I almost always introduce them, increase the pace and quality of the deliverables. They also take an incredible amount of time pressure off the leader, yourself.
Next time, I want to discuss one last meeting with you: the annual meeting. Do this meeting in teams and smaller companies as well. You don’t just need an annual kick-off in sales. An annual kick-off is not just something for the big companies like Apple or Disney, but also medium-sized companies. It is crucial to look back at the beginning of the year and give a direction.
Those are my thoughts on the Monthly Meeting. Do you have any comments or ideas? Would you like to hear contributions? Perhaps you’d even like me to take a stand.
Join our LinkedIn group, where you can also ask all of your questions, and I’ll be sure to answer them.