8 People on a 1 hour Monday Morning Status Call - is 1 Full Day of Work - Was It Worth it?
Many executives and employees are overwhelmed or getting burnt out from the extra calls and conferences they have to attend on-line. To be clear - many of these calls are required and valuable - but many more not - and its wasting resources or diverting focus on more important things.
In the search for speed, advantage and better financial performance - one quick way to ensure your calls, meetings or worksesssions hit the mark and don't waste resources is to ensure the overriding purpose of "getting people together" is to RESOLVE and not just REPORT.
Case in Point
Early in June I sat in on a 4 hour strategy update Zoom call with 10 executives. They asked me to attend to provide an extra strategic lens on their business since sales were up 34% for Q2 of may very surprised. COVID, product, our great sales team, competition, pricing ...related or NOT?
I sit for 3 hrs and 45 minutes on the call watching slide after slide of slick graphs and financials being shown or REPORTED. Having just got throught the deck - the CEO - said
"we're running out of time ..but does anyone have questions?
No one did - so she asked me - "any thoughts?"
I said yes - just one ....Why are you down 30%? - because - unless I am misssing sosmething ----their was no known cause or POTENTIAL CAUSE discusssed - so what actions are you planning resolve this GAP?
Her response - "May be we an set that as a takeaay or add to next week meeting?
In my 1 on 1 debrief with the CEO after the call - I shared with her the following considerations - even before adding any strategic lens perspective on their discussion.
The HOW TO
If you're looking for speed, ownership, clarity and performance in your company start with focus on Resolving issues (not reporting on them - everyone can read and should pre-read the data ( graphs, charts). To move from the REPORT to RESOLVE mindset instill all or some of these parameters into your cadence for online meeting (also in-personnmeeting and specifially any QBRs)
1. Resolve Don't Report - The focus of getting people together is to ensure they are there to do somehting not just listen - ensure the issues are teed up - gaps in performance are clear and they spend the time looking at possble causes, eliminate red-herrings and come up with next actions that will impact the next month or quarter performance
2. Set Objectives/ Outcomes - an agenda with activities you walk through is helpful for a planning and timing of the meeting - but you need clear outcomes that spell success - and they should be made visible at the start of the call - its not about actions it's about outcomes
3. Set Quick Turnaround Times for Actions - the days of "next mnth are done - teams and thinking need to be more agile and iterative - force your team to come to the best set of actions relative to critiera and get on with it. - not search for the OptimalONE - which never exists. Short focused bursts, tend to produce better results faster
4. Confirm Objetives are Met - At the end of the meeting - the last slide should be the same as first one did we meeting our objectives if YES - great - if Not what can we do different.-c
5. Pre-Send Data to Read - Don't review graphs and charts during the call for the data itself - that's why its already a graph. RESOLVE actions focused on positive and negative variances should be wear the time is spent on the call. Data should be absorbed and thought through prior to the meeting to whoever is attending.
To implement this RESOLVE vs REPORT mentality - rapidily - get your team to do it and have them cascade these 5 ppoint to their directs report. This will get you:
1. More speed (you free up time for people to work on other things)
2. Less Meetings ( you cut meeting everyone always knew you should have)
3. Shorter Meetings ( less material to "cover")
4. Better Performance ( more directed actions at cause)