Running highly effective meetings is challenging, and it’s a “must do” for leaders who strive to lead by example. Executive leaders ask me to sit in and observe what they do and how they do in in order to get new insights on how to organize and lead better executive meetings. Here are seven key steps to setting up and running high performance executive leadership meetings.
Create the strategic agenda
An agenda is more than a list of topics; by addressing the most important things first, you set the tone as the senior leadership team. Clarifying whether the topics are for information giving, solving problems or reaching a decision helps team members know what is expected of them.
Be conscious of talk time
Who talks in your meetings? If it’s mainly one person, consider changing the format to create more involvement. Remember, involvement breeds commitment.
At the end of each meeting, ask, “what decisions did we make at this meeting?” Keep score and improve your results. Decisions drive business success.
What was the best question(s) in your last meeting? Questions invite leaders to think and take ownership of issues. Use questions to bring strategic thinking into your senior leadership team.
Be brief and come to the point
There is a saying amongst jazz musicians – don’t make it up if it doesn’t help. In the age of information overload, you will become a more effective leader when you are brief and come to the point. If the point has been made, there is no need to lay the same information over it.
Compliments & Critique
Share compliments when something works for you or is helpful and ask for some healthy critique from your colleagues and use it to improve.
Feedforward for Improvement & Growth
Ask your leadership team for feedback about how well your meetings are helping them. What’s the collaborative energy like during your meetings? Do people open up and put the really important issues on the table, and if not, what needs to happen so they will? These questions help senior leaders gauge their meeting’s effectiveness and identifies areas of improvement.
At the end of the day, a leadership team is only as effective as the meetings you run. Does the executive leadership meeting need to be the most effective meeting in the company? Maybe not, but it must be in the top 10% because it sets the tone of how everything is done in your company.
Remember, the way you do anything is the way you do everything.