Ep #93: Conducting Team Meetings

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Team meetings are absolutely essential. But are you using them as the grounding stone that they are intended to be, or are you using them as a work group? Are they debilitating or are they relationship building? Let’s talk about the what, when and how long of team meetings.

What you’ll find in this episode:

  1. What a meeting is for.
  2. When you should or shouldn’t be having meetings.
  3. The frequency of your meetings.
  4. The way Kris handles her team meetings.
  5. Why learning to delegate is key.

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Podcast Transcript

Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team Podcast. Running a million dollar business is not easy. And whether you’re just getting started with building your team, or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use right now today to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.

Hello. Welcome. Welcome to the podcast. I am thrilled that you’re here. I’m going to talk to you about a really tactical thing today. You know, sometimes I have these sort of more conceptual conversations with you. Today, I want to talk to you about conducting a team meeting. Listen, I know that the title is so boring, but my aim is to make the topic not boring. However, I think that most of us are really bad at meetings, and so I kind of want to cover several elements of the meeting. I want to talk to you about what a meeting is for.

I want to talk to you about when you should or shouldn’t be having meetings. I want to talk to you about your frequency of your meetings. But what I am not going to talk to you about in this podcast is what a successful meeting looks like. And I have a reason for that, but stay with me, because I think you’ll figure that out anyway. I think I just learned how to conduct meetings because I had a boss when I first started who conducted meetings. I just kind of did… I think that was just my organic learning.

Now, whether or not I run a terribly effective meeting, we could argue that. What I will tell you is I don’t have a lot of them. I don’t believe in a lot of meetings. I hate them. I hate meetings. In my last job job, corporate job, the higher up I got into the corporate part of the business, the fricking more meetings I was in and the less work that was getting done, and I just lost my mind. Really when I became very clear that, oh, I’m not supposed to work in this building with all of these people. I need to go make my own thing, so I don’t have to do this.

All the meetings are just about all the other meetings. It’s tedious. And as your business gets bigger, you have to have awareness of that. Okay? Now, if you’re small, your business is small, maybe there’s just two of you, seven of you, there really isn’t a lot you need to be meeting about. Okay? I’m going to tell you what I do, and I’m going to tell you what I hear my clients are doing, and then we can kind of pull this together. First of all, how you run a meeting has a lot to do with your preferred communication style.

Now, I’m an extrovert. Maybe that doesn’t surprise you. I love to be with people. I like to think with people. I like to brainstorm with people. I am conceptual and a visionary, rattling around ideas and sort of ruminating. That is the style that I like. I just don’t want to do it all the time. We have a Monday meeting and my Monday meeting is with everybody on the team for a portion. And then a couple people step off and I finish up the meeting. It’s a long meeting. It’s usually from about 10:00 to noon, so it’s a two hour meeting, but it’s how we set…

What we do in that meeting is we review everything that was supposed to happen the previous week. And each member of my team sort of has their areas of… Not sort of. They have their responsibilities, their objectives. They share back where are we with whatever it is that they’re working on. I bring my agenda, questions I have, things I want to work on, things I’d like to implement, get done, ideas I’ve had. We kind of flush those out. And then sort of over time throughout the course of the meeting, some people don’t need to be on all of the parts of the meeting, so they step off.

That’s the only team meeting I have all week. Now, I don’t have a huge team, right? There’s four of us that meet every week. I have about six or seven people that support my business, but this is my admin team. These are my folks who help me run the company every day. I do have one-on-ones. I meet with people individually to talk about their work, their goals, what they need from me. And that’s a much more or focused meeting. That is like a combination of very tactical and production focused about their role and then also kind of how are you, a check in, personal.

Okay? And that’s it. And for me, that works because we all have work to do. I don’t need people to be meeting all the time. Now, what we do have is we use Slack, a lot of businesses use, as a means of communicating throughout the week, which I have to tell you, I used to think was a terrible idea. But now that we really have this down, I love it. I really do love the Slack. I don’t love a Slack that has a ton of stuff in it. But the way that we have it set up, it really works. And I have a lovely and very communicative team, which also makes it work.

But the purpose of a meeting is to ensure that there is a grounding moment for your business. And I believe it should be weekly where everybody he hears from you what’s that going on from your perspective, what’s going on in your mind, what’s going on in the business, and everyone hears from everyone else. Here’s what’s happening in marketing. Here’s what’s happening in sales. Here’s what’s happening in operations. Here’s what’s happening in customer service, right? Everybody has to have a view of the business from everyone’s perspective.

It’s how you build team. If you don’t have that, you are not creating a culture where everyone understands what everybody does, what everybody’s responsibilities are. And just the camaraderie, just the few minutes of banter. I mean, of course, all of us… Many of you might have people in a building. But at this point, the majority of us don’t. Those first few minutes on a call, like we just have a great time. I love when we’re together. It’s fun. And that builds team. And we can’t underestimate that part of running a business.

If all you do is think about hiring experts to execute work and not creating the dynamic of an engaging team, you end up shallow. You end up frustrated as a leader. That’s where you don’t see people take discretionary effort. They just do what needs to be done and then they go home, right? We know that 70% of employees in America are disengaged. Now, what that really means is about 50% of them show up, do their job, and leave. They don’t initiate discretionary effort. They don’t take the extra step.

And I believe that has everything to do with the relationships that they have with people. If I know you, if I care about you, if I like you, if I laugh with you, if I feel supported by you, if I feel seen and heard, I’m going to do a little bit more. To me, that’s not disingenuous. That’s understanding that I think people prefer to work in that kind of a culture. Most people. For me, if I hired someone who didn’t want to work in that kind of culture, they don’t want to work for me. So that initiating congealing time on a Monday is critical to me.

I feel lost when I don’t that. I used to do my meetings on Fridays, and I didn’t love that. It was almost like a wrap up. I prefer a plan versus a wrap up. That probably gives you more of an indication of my style anyway. And then the one-on-ones are where we do more personal touch. A lot of times people ask me, well, what’s the difference between a one-on-one and what they do in the team meeting? The team meeting discussions are more at the business level.

So for example, if I’m talking with my social media person and she’s sharing with me our engagement or our growth or whatever, that’s kind of what she might talk about at the team meeting. And then when she and I are meeting with her individually, she’s going to give me more of her ideas, her strategies, her what do you think abouts. And then we kind of pick and we think, okay, why don’t we go with that? Let’s try it. I think you’ve got to think about why you want to have a meeting. From my perspective, a team meeting is about grounding.

It’s like everybody grounds in this one moment. Everybody knows what’s going on in the business. And then we can have one-on-ones. Now, if you have a C-suite or you have a director level that reports to you, that’s good, then they would do those one-on-ones. You do the one-on-ones with your directors. And you may end up over time if you’ve got 20 people, 30 people, 50 people, you’re going to have department meetings. So then your meeting will be you with your first team, your director team, your C-suite team, whatever your titles are, that’s your Monday meeting.

And then they go and have a meeting with their team. But as the founder, you shouldn’t be in all the meetings. That’s part of what happens to my clients initially when they come to me. They’re like, “I’m in so many meetings.” Right, because everybody’s relying on you to make decisions, because we have to learn how to empower and lead the director team, the C-suite team, to be the ones who make the decisions and also are held accountable to them. Now, I also have some clients who like to have meetings just to get everything done.

They’re like, yeah, we’re going to have a meeting on Tuesday. It’s a two and a half hour marketing meeting. And during that meeting, we’re going to write all of the copy. No. We have a production meeting. And on that meeting, we’re going to scope out all of the da, da, da for this project. No. Now, you might not like to hear me say that, but that is not a good use of your time if you have a team. That tells me a couple of things. It tells me that you are the resident expert. You’re not developing someone to be that person for you, which that takes time.

If you’re the newer end of that, I understand. But the key to being a CEO is learning how to delegate. So yeah, go ahead and scope out the marketing. Go ahead and get all of the copy written. I’ll review it, but I’m not sitting in a two and a half hour meeting while you write it or I write it. Some people we’ll do that because they don’t trust that their team members will focus and get it done. So they hey create meetings. There’s a lot of wasted production time in meetings.

And I’ve coached a lot of people who work for CEOs, and this is one of their biggest challenges is the amount of meetings their CEO makes them have and go to. It’s a debilitation. It debilitates your progress. It creates lag and drag, and it will over time absolutely burn your people out. So I really can’t stress enough that what I’m trying to say here is remember what the purpose of a meeting is. It’s like a grounding stone where everybody understands what everybody’s up to. It is not a work group. All right?

And then we go to the next step, which is we have one-on-ones, and that’s how we know what everybody’s up to individually. That also decreases the amount of noise you get during the week when people have all these questions. Let’s talk about it in your one-on-one. Let’s talk about it in your one-on-one. Let’s talk about it in your one-on-one, instead of all day, every day. Fire Hosey. You do not need to have meetings to get work done. You discuss work, then people go get it done. But if you have too many meetings, they don’t have time to get it done.

But you absolutely need to be having it’s a team meeting every week without fail. And if you’re more structurey than me, I’m not, and I’m going to do a podcast on this someday. I’m not, and I’m okay with that and my team seems to respond okay to that. But if you need more structure, build an agenda. Sometimes board meetings get boring. Rotate who’s managing the meeting. Give it to someone else. Hey, Josie, you’re in charge of the meeting this week. What do you want to do in the meeting?

Add a personal development element, have a topic that you talk about, get a book that you guys are reading, watch a TED Talk, listen to a podcast and discuss it. There are things you can do to create more energy around meetings but remember that the other critical reason that we create a meeting is for team relationship development. As the leader of that team, that has to be on your mind, right? I appreciate a lot of you who are very focused, like let’s get it done. Let’s do it. Let’s make it happen. I am too.

I love a great result, but I also want people to kind of like coming to work and have fun. And I think you have to pay attention to all of that. So have a meeting, ground your work, stop having so many. If you’re having more than one meeting a week, first of all, you should hire me. You need to be in the How to CEO program because we got to figure that out. And B, it’s highly unlikely you need to be having so many meetings, which is also why I think you’re probably tapped out. But one-on-ones I think are really essential.

So I don’t want you to forsake the one-on-one because you have so many other meetings. Team meetings are very essential. Start thinking about what you can do if you’re not doing them consistently or if you don’t like your structure, what you could do to make those changes. All right? And as a reminder, we are going to be starting a new How to CEO and it’s amazing. It starts in January. You want to get on that waiting list, howtoceojoin.com. You’ll get all the details you need, and we can rock it out together. Have a good day.

To claim your complimentary download, just go to meetingtemplate.com. That’s meetingtemplate.com.

One more thing before you go, in a world of digital courses and online content, I like to work with my clients live. Because I know that when you have someone you can work with, ask questions of, and meet with, you’re so much more likely to get the success that you want. So head on over to howtoceolive.com to learn more about our very exciting, very exclusive program just for female entrepreneurs. We’ll see you there.

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