The best leaders understand that a well-functioning leadership team can 2x, 4x, or 10x the leader’s output and results. Effective leaders spend time investing in their leadership team members, individually and as a group, to equip them with the tools, skills, thought processes, and mindsets necessary to exponentially increase the leader’s results while decreasing operational dependence on that same leader.
A key in all of this is effective leadership team meetings. Here is a suggested formula, outline, or agenda for an effective leadership team meeting with a little commentary on each component.
- Welcome and Introductions
Start the meeting on a quick positive note. Welcome everyone, thank them for their time and efforts since the last meeting, introduce new members or guests, and start with a shared story, thought, quote, positive example, or something similar to align everyone for the meeting.
- Review Previous Action Items and/or Minutes
Briefly review the status of outstanding action items from the previous meeting. Responsible parties should provide reports on activity. Only include items that affect the entire team.
- Review Mission, Vision, Goals, and Similar Purpose Items
Briefly remind everyone why the organization exists and what the high-level focus and goals are. This sets a decision-making framework for the rest of the meeting.
- Review Overall Company Performance
A high-level status report on the key business outcomes of the company. This could include key status details of various projects or activities, customer count information, progress on high-level initiatives, and other similar non-financial items.
- Review Financial Performance
Briefly review the financial performance of the company for the most recent period. Focus the team’s attention on any key financial metrics, but especially pay attention to cash balances, accounts receivable, accounts payable, key revenue and expense categories vs. budget, and overall cash flow numbers. Discuss any action items to take to address any concerns.
Note: many leaders are hesitant to share company financial information with their leadership teams. Why? Help people understand what’s going on so they will make better decisions from a lens like the leader’s.
- Strategy Report
Briefly review any key items from the organization’s strategic plan that need attention, are due soon, were recently completed, or need to be re-evaluated. Remind people, again, of what the overall goals are.
- Human Resources Report
A brief overview of any HR issues or concerns, recent hires or departures, vacancies and goals to fill them, and any other people-related issues.
- Team Member Reports
Provide a brief time, maybe five minutes or so, for each leadership team member to report on the work of his or her department or team. The focus should be on key information that everyone should know, and/or action items that need decisions by the whole team. Anything that is merely between two team members only should be handled in other forums.
- Leader’s Report
A similarly brief report from the leader on any other issues not covered in items 3-7. Be sure to use this time to train the team members to think about problem-solving the way the leader wants. Guide and coach them through the thinking process, don’t just tell them what to do and how. The latter will ensure eternal dependence on the leader for decisions.
- Summary and Next Actions
Summarize any key points from the meeting, assign action items and due dates to responsible parties, and affirm the plan for the next team meeting. Ensure that someone will distribute a summary of actions after the meeting.
A simple ten-point agenda for an hour-long leadership team meeting. Adapt as needed for your use but try it. This hour or so spent with the team can easily replace three times as much time spent by the leader, in frustration, trying to do everything him- or herself. Trust me…I’ve seen the improvements firsthand many, many times!
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