I said in a previous email the single most important habit we had at Appletree, the call center company I built, to scale our business was the daily huddle. What I want to share today may be the second most important. In fact, it might even be 1a important.
The Weekly Meeting
There are a lot of ways to run a weekly meeting. The Scaling Up methodology that we used has a pretty specific format. I am biased and think it is among the best, if not the best, but I want to share one key component that I deem to be the most important, and fits any meeting style you choose.
Each week, every participant has to come to the meeting with their #1 priority for the week. Not their to do list, not 7 objectives, not the status of the projects they’re working on but the #1- no matter what – most important – PRIORITY for the upcoming week.
Why does this matter??
#1 it forces the discipline for every member of the team to actually consider the most important priority, and that alone probably makes it worth it!!
#2 every member of the team can see patterns, much like the daily huddle, by hearing everyone else’s NUMBER ONE priority.
#3 it gives the leader the opportunity to see exactly how the team is thinking about what is most important. Imagine you know that getting 5 new pages of content, about the 6 reasons our services company outperforms our competition 3:1, written and uploaded by Friday at 4pm is the #1 priority of the CMO, and instead they come to the meeting and say their #1 is finding a new google analytics software package. It opens the door to a great discussion.
Sidebar: one of the absolute keys to the process is it is ULTRA specific, measurable, time constrained, and can garner a “yes” or “no” answer as to whether it was done. Using the above example it wouldn’t work to say “my #1 is writing web content about how we match up to competitors”, but rather it says how many pages, the message, the deadline for upload, etc. You cannot be specific enough in the process!
There are many more reasons, but imagine every week, week after week, you go through this exercise. You will create a simple heat map of a green square for yes and red square for no. With a 10 member executive team, and 13 weeks in a quarter you will have 130 heat map data points in just a single quarter!
More importantly, you will learn more about how your people think and prioritize than you can imagine. You will also see who “mails it in” and picks easy priorities and who bites off more than they can chew. The result of 13 straight green boxes may not be as good as 11 green and 2 red based on how much people are stretching and pushing themselves. At Appletree, I actually didn’t like to see 13 straight green boxes as it made me think that person might not be stretching, and gave me reason to dig in further.
Trust me when I tell you that you will be amazed by what you learn if you add this to the senior team meeting and have it cascade through the organization.
Happy weekly meetings!
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