It’s no secret that leaders have differing views on meetings. Some meet far too often, while others don’t believe in meeting at all. Frankly, it’s not about how often you’re meeting, but rather what those meetings are accomplishing.
We wanted to see what type of meetings work at successful businesses, so we asked Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner, David Cummings about how he creates a healthy meeting culture.
David has been an entrepreneur for over a decade. In 2001, David founded Hannon Hill, which was recognized as the 247th fastest growing company in the U.S. by Inc. magazine. In early 2007, David co-founded Pardot, which was recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as the fastest growing technology company in 2010. Pardot was named to the Inc. 500 in 2012 and shortly thereafter Pardot was acquired by ExactTarget in one of the largest SaaS acquisitions ever of a bootstrapped company. Most recently, David founded the Atlanta Tech Village, which at 103,000 sq ft is the largest technology entrepreneur center in the Southeast.
David believes there’s a fine line between “extensive communication and death-by-meeting” that businesses should always be conscious about.
He warns that while these meetings may feel like a lot, they each have a specific goal and most are well under an hour. The purpose is to make meetings more meaningful, take up less time, and have people look forward to them.
8 meetings worth attending:
1) The Daily check-in
DC: A 10-minute status update where each team member stands and answers the following questions: what did you accomplish yesterday, what are you going to accomplish today, and do you have any roadblocks?
Also known as ‘stand-up’ meetings, these are quick meetings designed to increase accountability and update team members on their daily tasks.
2) Weekly all-hands meetings
DC: A 20-minute company meeting talking about good news and answering town hall questions.
This is a positive meeting allowing employees to openly ask questions with management. This usually helps avoid future individual meetings as well.
3) Weekly Company-wide lunches
DC: No agenda other than to hang out and enjoy each other’s company.
It’s no coincidence that his last company, Pardot was voted number one place to work in Atlanta 2 years in a row. Company lunches breed camaraderie and give employees something to look forward to each week.
4) Weekly tactical meetings
DC: Discuss KPIs, what was accomplished last week, and what will be accomplished next week.
5) Monthly strategic meetings
DC: Discuss big topics that take 30+ minutes each.
Helps ensure everyone is on the same track and strategy matches company goals.
6) A quarterly simplified one-page strategic plan
DC: Review a one-page document with S.W.O.T. analysis, vision, goals, elevator pitch, and more talked about at the first all-hands meeting of the quarter.
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are nothing new, but it certainly helps to see how those challenges change over the course of a year, and in what areas your team can improve.
7) Quarterly one-on-one check-ins
DC: Four questions are answered: what did you accomplish last quarter, what are you going to accomplish next quarter, how will you improve, and how are you following the values?
Quarterly reviews can take up a lot of time when there is no clear agenda. Knowing the questions in advanced allows you to work toward accomplishing them each quarter and makes it a lot easier to talk about them come meeting time.
8) Quarterly off-site
DC: The previous quarter/year is reviewed and the next quarter/year is planned, goals are set, and big items tackled.
A chance to get outside the office, review previous goals and set new targets.
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