What is your business’s pulse?
As an International Business Coach, I assisted more than 130 key executives worldwide in 2020 to learn the Meeting Rhythms that help their teams successfully communicate.
Upwards of 70,000 corporations deploy these particular “Meeting Rhythms” along with their 4 Decisions every company has to get right to grow:
Companies who utilize the “Meeting Rhythms” for their company’s pulse have C-Suite level executives who are determined to scale up their companies 10x in value. After reading Scaling Up by best-selling author Verne Harnish, they learn one of the critical components of the proven growth methodology is knowing “the pulse of your company.”
The Pulse of Your Company
In the October edition, we explored the Execution Decision of Scaling Up. Several crucial points to executing well involve excellent communication include – communicating early, communicating often, and repeating the communication until others can memorize and repeat it back to you.
Remember the telephone game where you all sat in a circle as kids? What was whispered into the first ear was nowhere near what came out of the final child’s mouth at the end! In Scaling Up, we call the right communication process “the pulse of your company.”
We believe your company’s heartbeat pulses down from the CEO and up from the Employees and Customers too. The larger your company grows, the further insulated the CEO typically becomes with layers of management forming between them and their frontline employees, crucial vendors, and loyal customers. This insulation cannot occur if you want to continue to make quick and accurate forecasts of your industry, market trends, and company culture.
Deploying the Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, and Annual “Meeting Rhythm” of Scaling Up helps CEOs and other C-Suite level executives ensure their company’s pulse never gets lost in translation, like the childhood telephone game.
Verne Harnish, the author of Scaling Up, is famous for the Meeting Rhythms that add accountability and insight into your routine. Internal to your team, these Meeting Rhythms are a set agenda for:
- Daily Synchronization of Departments
- Weekly Detailed Tactical updates for short-term success
- Monthly transfer of Leadership DNA and long-term knowledge to build what John Maxwell would call a “Level 5 Leader”
There’s a Daily Huddle of no more than 12 minutes where everyone is standing to cover the News, Weather, and Traffic of the day. Each team member verbalizes their commitment to achieving a set goal for that day. Just like a football team would huddle up to be in synch on their next play, your professional team will huddle up to be in sync with one another that day.
You learn “what’s up” with each person or each department, and they commit to what they will achieve that day. A report on your daily metrics is given, and employees speak up if they have any “stucks” that are roadblocks impeding their progress. Shorter, standing meetings will have more focus and energy! No chairs are allowed because once people sit, they ponder, pontificate, and elongate into death by meeting territory.
Managers don’t allow generalities in the Daily Huddle, such as, “My day today will be more of the same,” or “I have nothing new.” Managers push to ensure the agenda sticks to each person equally. It should sound like, “Yesterday, I cold-called 25 people. Today, I have Zoom appointments with Mary and Mike as prospective clients at 10am and 2pm. I commit to achieving my weekly KPI of 10 appointments. Right now, I’m at 2 of 10.”
If a teammate has “a stuck” or a roadblock is hindering their ability to hit their KPIs, it may sound like this: “Yesterday, I received 80% of our employee surveys. Today, I am stuck. I committed to achieving my KPI of 100% participation by Friday. Who can help me by finishing their department satisfaction survey today so I close the gap from 80% to 100% in the next 24 hours?”
No problem-solving is done within your quick, Daily Huddle. You take note of what’s needed. If it can be addressed or resolved in a 2-minute sidebar like a coach on the sidelines, then it’s done right after your huddle is dismissed. If it’s a more significant issue, it’s added to the weekly agenda for group think tank time.
In your Weekly Meetings, you need to address any detailed projects or problem-solving for your organization. These typically run about 1 hour or less, depending upon your size. If you had any daily stucks, problems, or questions that arose during Daily Huddle, you add it to this weekly agenda to ensure you have more team think time to dedicate to the solution.
Weekly Meetings are great for “the 2 pizza rule” – if you need to order more than two pizzas to feed the meeting attendees, you may have too many people in that meeting. You may want your weekly-focused sessions to be per department to ensure each person has a relevant reason to be there and can actively participate in the brainstorming and problem-solving discussions.
Got a big project that just closed in sales? Need time to sort out the who, what, when, where, and how to get it to kick-off? That’s a Weekly Meeting Agenda!
Just received your semi-annual client surveys, vendor feedback, or employee Net Promoter Scores? The Weekly Meeting Agenda is a great time to discuss results, assign action items on ideas, and move forward.
In your Monthly Meetings, you’ll look to the future of your organization. These may be a longer 2-hour “Lunch and Learn” atmosphere or “Brainstorming Sessions,” where you’re able to transfer the important DNA of your company and leadership team to the second tier.
Examples of good use of your small business monthly meeting time could be:
- You may be forecasting the next 90 days’ finances, looking to the future.
- You may bring in a Corporate Trainer to invest time in your leadership knowledge.
- You may want 2-3 hours to fully flesh out a brand-new product or service offering you want to roll out later that year.
I’ve seen larger corporations with many management layers or many companies in their portfolio who stretch their monthly meeting to be a half-day presentation on Merger & Acquisition targets, for example, where they are continually looking toward their growth in the future.
Then Business Coaches help their Scaling Up clients to professionally facilitate Quarterly sessions to “work on the business” rather than “in the business.” These are generally all-day, 8-hour sessions every 13 weeks to review the previous quarter’s successes and hold all the leadership team members accountable to their Rocks and KPIs they set.
Coaches serve as an objective, 3rd party to ensure everyone participates, gets equal talk time, and shares how their previous quarter went, as well as their goals for the upcoming quarter.
The most important aspect every 13 weeks is the peer-to-peer accountability of announcing whether you met your 3 Key Performance Indicator metrics or fell short; whether you finished all 5 of your Personal Priority Rocks or you’re late; and whether you were on target for your 2 Critical Numbers to celebrate achieving your goals or explain why you’re disappointed not to hit them.
Using an outside facilitator is best because it allows the CEO to be an active participant. If they are running the meeting, they are not on an equal footing with their C-Suite level peers when they announce their own personal KPIs, rock deadlines, and critical numbers.
An outside coach isn’t pulling double duty within the company and as a meeting agenda facilitator. This allows coaches to be objective, hold everyone accountable, ask the big questions, and dig deeper. One of my favorite roles in facilitating is to watch for equal talk time, quiet executives, and body language to “read the room” and pull out any elephants that might need to be addressed.
Annual Retreats are usually a Coached 2-Day Retreat with up to 16 hours of work put in. You review the 3-Year Mountains set out in the One Page Strategic Plan, the 1-Year Boulders, and the Quarterly Rocks. The long and short-term strategy is reviewed from as little as the next 90 days to as much as 3-5 years from now.
Companies check in with their BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) to see how they are performing to their 10 to 15-year-strategy, market trends, and industry changes. Leaders will review their core strengths, weaknesses, plus any opportunities and threats. They grade or assess how well they’re doing in the 4 Decision areas of People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash, as well as all 10 Rockefeller Habits.
Death by Meeting
A similar meeting model is also represented in Patrick Lencioni’s book Death By Meeting. Great minds think alike, right? An excerpt from Lencioni shows the similarities:
- Daily Check In: Share daily schedules and activities.
- Weekly Tactical: Review weekly activities and metrics, and resolve tactical obstacles and issues.
- Monthly Strategic: Discuss, analyze, brainstorm, and decide upon critical issues affecting long term success.
- Quarterly Off-Site Review: Review strategy, competitive landscape, industry trends, key personnel, and team development.
Both Verne Harnish and Patrick Lencioni have proven with thousands of companies that having a specific cadence of meetings that include a Daily Huddle will help your managers have fewer workday interruptions and impromptu emergency meetings.
This Rhythm saves you time! And as we all know, time is money! Verne Harnish recently told me, “Teams find that every minute they participate in a daily huddle gives them back 10 minutes in their schedule. Thus, an 8-minute daily huddle will win everyone back about an hour-and-a-half a day.”
I know these meeting rhythm ideas will help you achieve a successful internal communication strategy in 2021 and beyond. I’ve been blessed to coach the ideal Meeting Rhythms to companies in Canada, Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and my home state of Oklahoma. The principles are universal to various industries, including Edmond Churches, Software as a Service (SaaS), Global Manufacturing, Marketing Agencies, Law Firms, B2B Service Providers, Automotive Dealerships, and Energy sectors.
How does your company stack up in the disciplines of People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash?
These principles work anywhere in the world. I became a Certified International Coach because I loved the idea of sharing the tools with other CEOs as I do in this monthly Edmond Business column. For a free 30-minute coaching session to learn the Scaling Up Meeting Rhythms, please set up a private Zoom training with no further obligation.
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About Stacy Eads
Edmond native & UCO Alumna, Stacy Eads, is an award-winning “Most Admired CEO” who scaled her company as a Woman in Tech before becoming an International Scaling Up Business Coach. She now empowers other CEOs from $2M to $200M to embrace their leadership potential through quarterly strategic planning. Her talent is in high demand to CEO Coach, Train Teams, and Speak at Events in both the U.S.A. and Canada.
Stacy Eads’ career affiliations include 50 Women Making a Difference award, Circle of Excellence award, Torch Ethics award, Most Admired CEO award, Edmond Chamber & UCO Mentor, Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma Board of Directors, TEDx OKC Speaker Coach, and Ambassador Chairwoman for the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce.