Meeting cadence

Hold More Effective Meetings

This month we’re discussing the PSE Method’s Meeting Cadence, which is a major component of the accountability structure of the PSE Method. The cadence keeps you and your staff on task and on track in 90 day increments. You’ll be checking in on a weekly basis to make sure that things are moving forward and are being executed effectively. And then stopping quarterly to celebrate your accomplishments, reevaluate your direction, and set new priorities.

One thing that we commonly hear from companies is that they don’t want more meetings, they want fewer.

The reason people want fewer meetings is because their current meetings are ineffective. They sit there while everyone reports out. It’s boring. People ramble on about things that no one else in the room cares about. Nothing gets solved and no one leaves with new initiatives.

The structure that we teach makes your meetings more effective and makes sure that you’re accomplishing something every meeting. You’ll be making progress towards your goals every week. And you’ll have a great handle on how the company is doing overall.

The cadence keeps you focused on the right things at the right time. We see some companies that are only tactically focused and don’t do any strategy work. And we see other companies where every meeting turns into strategy sessions and daydreaming. You need both, but you have to find the right balance.

You find this balance through weekly tactical meetings and quarterly, and annual, strategic meetings.

You’ll spend 90 days down in the weeds getting the work done, checking in on progress and solving problems every week. And then every quarter you’ll come up above the work to make sure you’re still moving in the right direction. Then you’ll get back down to the ground and move the work forward until the next Quarterly Meeting. In the fourth quarter you’ll have your Annual Meeting which is an even bigger breath of strategic air.

The Weekly Meeting helps you continue to take small steps every week, which leads to big action over time.

The Weekly Meeting helps you make sure that projects are moving forward. You’ll also be holding people accountable to what they said they would get done last week. Making sure they followed through this week.

The Weekly Meeting starts with quick updates from everyone in the room. We call this the Good, the Bad, and the Unsaid. Everyone should, succinctly, share out what went well this past week, what didn’t go well, and share anything that they need to get off of their chest.

You might not really use the Unsaid section for a while. It takes time to build the comfort level to share those type of comments, but by making space for it every week you’ll be reminding everyone that you welcome open and honest conversations. And eventually people will be able to bring up anything and everything with the goal of making the team better.

After those quick individual updates, you’ll run through a series of reporting sections. You’ll check in on whether everyone’s Rocks, or quarterly goals, are on track or off track. You’ll see whether everyone accomplished the To Dos that they committed to last week. And you’ll check in on the company’s key metrics on the Dashboard to see if everything is running smoothly.

These check ins are not an opportunity for someone to give you a full narrative of what’s going on. They should be simple updates of on track or off track or done or not done. No discussion. No explanation. If there is an issue, you can park it in the Parking Lot and come back to it later. Don’t get caught in discussing it now or you’ll lose control of the meeting.

You’ll spend the majority of the Weekly Meeting problem solving and removing obstacles.

Which you accomplish by using the Problem Solving Process and solving problems captured in the Short Term Parking Lot. The Parking Lot is a place to capture all of your problems so that they don’t get lost or ignored. As you move through that first reporting section, you’ll be parking things in the Parking Lot to make sure that you revisit them as needed.

Even if you can’t solve the problem right away, you’ll have it written down so you will get to it eventually. This is the list that you will use to prioritize which problems are most important to solve this week. Rank the top three most important problems and then get to solving.

The goal is to remove any obstacles that could hold back your progress over the next week. The solutions to these problems will generally result in action items, or To Dos, that someone then takes ownership of. They’ll come back next week and tell you whether they completed it or not.

The Quarterly Meetings give you time to reset and refocus for the next quarter.

You’ll set those big priorities, or Rocks, for the next 90 days and making sure you’re still moving towards your Annual Goals.

The meeting starts with a review of the previous quarter. How did things go? Did you accomplish your Rocks? What worked well? What didn’t? How can you do better going forward? You want to make sure that you take time to celebrate all of the work that you accomplished over the last 90 days, while also finding any lessons learned that could help you be even more effective in the future.

Once you’ve reviewed the past quarter, then you will review and update your PSE One Page. Is all the information on there still accurate? And are you all still 100% on the same page about it? At its core, the PSE One Page is a communication tool. You need to make sure that it is always accurate so that you are always sharing the most up-to-date information with the rest of the company.

The Annual Meeting helps you review and reset for the next year.

First up is to revisit your Rocks and Annual Goals, making sure that you accomplished what you set out to at the beginning of the last quarter and the year overall.

After reviewing the previous year, you’ll spend time thinking strategically about where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Prior to the meeting you and your team will complete a series of online assessments designed to help uncover your company’s most pressing issues. You’ll discuss those results to further understand the opportunities and challenges your company might face over the next year.

Then you’ll use those discussions to set new Annual Goals and new Rocks for the first quarter. Setting you up for another year of incredible growth.

The Meeting Cadence is about balance.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this Meeting Cadence focuses on helping you find the right balance between thinking strategically and thinking tactically. Our brains are not good at switching back and forth between the two, so you need to set aside dedicated time for each. Following this cadence, and these agendas, will make your meetings more effective and keep you focused on discussing the right things at the right time.

Eure Consulting