What Can Create the Vital Connection Between Strategy and Execution?

I have been working in the area of meetings for many years as I have explored and implemented greater collaboration and alignment with leadership teams and their direct reports. When I began, meetings were often seen as a waste of time and effort and I often heard the phrase, “the only good meeting is a cancelled meeting.” Or at the end of a meeting, as executive might say, “I have to get back to work.” The implication being that the meeting was not work and may not be moving the business purpose and agenda forward.

Now many see that meetings are the core of successful implementation or execution of strategic planning. Both of these areas can be done more successfully by setting priorities and giving teams the ability to communicate, set up accountability, and problem solve with greater trust.

The essential component of business growth and success is the Health of the Executive Leadership Team which cascades down into the business no matter how large the company. Meeting Rhythms are an effective way to promote a healthy company culture and ongoing awareness of priorities within the organization, which is essential to moving business goals and business growth forward.

Meeting rhythms encompass the course of a full year, and are positioned as an important part of the overall business strategy and flow. Below are the recommended meetings to include in your company rhythm , from daily huddles to the annual meeting. Some may already be a part of your execution culture, some may not. The important thing to remember is that team cohesiveness at all levels is vital to the process.

Daily Huddles: these meetings typically start the day, and are held with everyone standing (who is able), and last 15 minutes or less. Daily huddles must have a specific agenda:

  • What’s Up for you related to today
  • What is the top priority for the day
  • Am I stuck

Weekly Team Meetings for focus and collaboration: The weekly meeting should be held at the same time each week. Most organizations hold them either at the start of the week to set the stage for a productive week ahead, or at the end of the week, to serve as a recap of the week’s activities and performance. This is an opportunity to gather brain power to discuss strategically issues and solutions. This is also an opportunity for the leader to spend time with the team encouraging team relationships.

Monthly Meetings include front-line, middle and senior management and focus on strategic discussion and collaboration on issues and solutions, and further learning. They can be half or full day.

Quarterly Meetings: These are typically held offsite for one day to encourage uninterrupted focus on action planning and review of the yearly strategic plan.

Annual Meeting: This is typically held offsite as well for up to two days and includes review and strategy of the plan for the upcoming year.

The term Meeting Rhythms is used because the successful implementation comes from making the above meeting structure a part of everyday work patterns.

In my last article, Are you Thinking and Planning or Just Doing, I mentioned the basic foundations of strategy; Core Values and Purpose, along with Brand Promise and knowing your Core Customer. In all meetings, except the huddle, it is a good idea to review your organization’ values, purpose and brand promise, or have them visible. This way the foundation of your business is always present in each meeting as the planning and review are done.

Huddles and Weekly meetings provide opportunity to build trust and to correct difficult interaction issues. When things are left unspoken they tend to grow. However, adopting the business practice of regularly scheduled time together can help teams lift above their emotional reactions that stop progress, and bring them back into focus. Meeting rhythm creates consistency, which in turn, creates greater trust, and comfort in accountability.

You can find more information on Meeting Rhythm in Verne Harnish’s book, Scaling Up, How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t.

Do you have a question, challenge, or success you would like to share? Please be sure to leave a comment. I would enjoy hearing from you! – Patricia