How Can an Annual Meeting Begin to Create Successful Results in the New Year?

Autumn is a time for new beginnings and for creating opportunities for greater effectiveness, success and financial growth. An important aspect of this is to hold an annual meeting in the final quarter of the year to honestly assess the current year and to build priorities and strategic thinking that will bring in new areas of success in the new year.

I have been working with many clients using the Scaling Up Four Decisions Modality (People, Strategy, Cash, Execution), and continue to be impressed with the practicality, alignment and progress they are making using this methodology. In particular, the modality uses an effective meeting rhythm process which is an essential part of the Execution Decision and helps keep the organization aligned and moving forward. Meeting rhythms involve daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual meetings. Since we are approaching the time of year when annual meetings take place, I want to focus on the annual meeting in this article, and share with you the suggested approach from the Scaling Up Modality:

For your next Annual Meeting:

Establish Annual Planning Objectives:
1. Review prior quarters’ and years’ priorities, goals (KPI’s- Key Performance Indicators) and lessons learned
2. Review key elements in your 3-5 year strategy and KPI/s to measure progress—discuss and update (Strategy Decision)
3. Discuss culture (People Decision) people and organization for next year. Create a plan, especially in the area of fun
4. Functional accountability and core processes
5. Build Annual Plan for next year (Here is a one-page strategic plan.)

Make sure all top leadership members are there and accountable.

Ground Rules:
• Confront the facts “brutal honesty”
• Identify and solve problems —“no shame, no blame”
• Spirited debate “disagree and commit.” Alignment does not necessarily mean agreement
• Prior Preparation leads to excellence

Agenda: The following are important agenda items to include in the meeting:
• Everyone shares their own agenda for the meeting and their personal expectations
• Bright spots of the year
• Review team core values
• Review team health
• Look at essential functions of the healthy team
• Review strata of strategy and completion of each item
• Goals—top 5 priorities

The agenda continues, but this provides a good beginning look.

Your meetings will be much more effective if you master all of the Scaling Up Four Decisions that are essential to growth and progress for your business:
• People
• Strategy
• Cash
• Execution

People: The focus is on senior leadership team health: the right people, the true essentials of their role, and accountability. Five functions for a healthy team are:
1. Trust
2. Willingness to conflict
3. Commitment to group goals
4. Accountability
5. Attention to results

Strategy: Thinking about the future (3-5 year plan); a simple phrase that defines the organization’s purpose and core values-one that everyone in the organization knows, understands and can easily repeat; spend time throughout the year on strategic thinking.

Cash: Cash is like oxygen for the business and the cash flow is a vital component of continued growth that can enlighten you and your team, as well as improve cash position.

Execution: Planning for the year, quarter, month and week. This is different than strategic thinking as you establish priorities, metrics and meeting rhythms which are essential for successful execution.

You can find more information in Scaling Up , as well as at Gazelles which has public tools for growth available for download.

Would you like help exploring if a team leadership project would benefit your organization? Please contact me to set up a time to talk.

Do you have a question, challenge or success with conducting an annual meeting you’d like to share? Please be sure to leave a comment – I’d enjoy hearing from you.

~ Patricia