There’s something so invigorating about getting your team together for a strategy meeting, even as the new “normal” is continuously being redefined within your organizational culture. It does not matter if it is in person or online. It is a chance for everyone to align, to discuss wins and challenges, and to look forward together as a team. Sometimes, though, these meetings get derailed. To avoid this from happening in your team, consider the elements of a successful meeting.
Getting your team huddles right can make the difference between achieving your market and revenue target, or failing to deliver. There are several things to consider when holding a team strategy meeting.
Know your purpose.
Do not call a meeting just to have a meeting. Instead, define why you are bringing your team together and give them a detailed agenda, so they know what is ahead. Be very clear about the objectives of your meeting and do not let other items on the agenda. If you want your team members to come prepared with status reports or specific information, ask for it a few days in advance. But do not ask for updates, that is a time-waster and meeting killer.
You do not need to have the team discuss an individual’s work if they are accountable and can continue without input. Place the discussion emphasis on places where you can help people strive towards learning and improvement.
Define your expectations.
Make sure you let your team know if you expect them to provide updates on the status of their projects, prospects, or investigations into new ideas. You may also set an expectation that no one multi-tasks or brings a phone or tablet to the meeting for any purpose other than taking notes. Additionally, be sure to start and end your meetings on time to show respect for everyone’s work time.
Clearly delineate the different topics of discussion. Meetings become ineffective when they combine varied topics because we are not good at changing the pace or tenor of conversation once it starts. Split conversations into different topics once you start the meeting.
Stay on track.
Conversations can often veer off in other directions during meetings. When this happens, you end up losing valuable time. If this happens, you might want to set up a time to talk about the issue later rather than letting the meeting run long. A way to get ahead of this is to allow a certain number of minutes to each agenda item and move on to the next topic when the time is up. This will help prevent trips down the rabbit hole.
Different meetings will require different amounts of time. When discussing strategy there may (and should) be dissent. This is good. It demonstrates passion among the team and allows for more creative outcomes. This may also lead to meetings between individual team members which improves overall communication and productivity.
Review progress toward goals.
This is one of the most important elements of a successful team strategy meeting. Ask each team member to come prepared to share their current projects, learnings, and prospects.
This is important because it will identify who needs to be working in the business and who needs to be working on the business. The idea is to identify opportunities to increase the capacity or capability of individuals and the team overall.
Share challenges and solutions.
In addition to status updates, reserve a portion of your team strategy meeting for collaboration. This time gives everyone a chance to talk about where they are struggling or get ideas on how to handle objections. This also allows team members to demonstrate strengths and knowledge that you may not know about.
This is an opportunity to share your challenges but also to identify the work that needs to be done to make meaningful progress towards each imperative. It is not about creating action plans, but an opportunity to share experiences and knowledge to help the team grow. It is the chance to champion the learning of one of the other members of your team.
Celebrate successes and high performers.
When you have your team altogether for the meeting, you have a captive audience to give public recognition to those team members who got a new contract, demonstrated the most development, or had some sort of positive impact. Public recognition is a powerful way to boost motivation and give a shout-out to your hardworking team members. While some people get embarrassed by public recognition, they still appreciate it.
This cannot be overemphasized. Studies have shown that acknowledgment of gains is a greater motivator than money. People want to be valued. Praise your team and let them know you recognize their contributions, growth, and creativity.
Decide the next steps and key action items.
Before you close the meeting, make sure everyone knows what to do next. Assign team members to specific action items and write down key goals for the next meeting.
This should be the last part of the meeting. This is a chance to ideate and communicate what is to come next. You will likely have more ideas than you can effectively use, but the exploration of potential is always worth the time.
Your time with your team is valuable. With some advanced planning, you can take steps to make the most of your sales meetings. Remember that this time together is a chance to collaborate and celebrate victories, which helps your team stay motivated to reach the next big goal.
Consider that most people dread the number of meetings on their calendars. People are tired of bad, unproductive, boring meetings. There are too many circular conversations and a lot of lost productivity. You will greatly improve your meetings if you tailor the discussions based on objectives. And this will help you thrive.