Better Team Meetings … “3 Us”

Team MeetingsEvery organization assigns performance goals to its associates. It is the role of the supervisory and management team to help their associates achieve and possibly surpass these goals or milestones. As a result, status and performance meetings are necessary to access completion, progress and challenges in achieving the Goals.

Some organizations characterize or define their goals as Key Performance Indicators (“KPIs”). KPIs are performance indicators to evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity in which it engages. Therefore, choosing the right KPIs relies upon a good understanding of what is important to the organization. These assessments should lead to the identification of potential improvements.

PREPARATION is the key ingredient to better meetings. This preparation hinges on these three “Us:” Updating Tasks, Updating Projects and Updating “KPIs.” This preparation must include some form of a “dashboard” and the meeting agenda must be sent to attendees in advance, describing specifically what topics will be discussed and in what order, so that participants come to the meeting knowing what to expect and how to prepare appropriately. If you use what is known as dashboard software, it must be up to date with current data.

Here are my recommendations for your meeting agenda:

Update Tasks:
Everyone must update their own Tasks prior to the weekly meeting. They check off Tasks that have been completed, and add new Tasks to show their team leader that they are using their own good judgement to prioritize their work for the coming week. Overdue Tasks need to be explained by the Task owner, with a revised due date and commitment. Additional Tasks can be added as appropriate by the team leader during the meeting.

Another accountability strategy might be to have everyone explain to the team describe to the team “One Thing” they will complete before the week is over that will have the biggest impact on their area of the “KPIs.”

Update Projects:
Project Goal owners must update the status of Projects they are accountable for every week prior to the team meeting and be prepared to discuss the percent completed. If the Project is falling behind schedule and is unlikely to be 100% completed by the Project due date, ensure that the Project owner changes updates the status in your dashboard or tracking system so that all team members know that extra attention is required to get things back on track. Also, every project should show the next task toward completion.

Updating (KPIs)
Every task or project should have a single point of accountability. In other words, one person needs to “own” a task or project so that if progress is not on schedule you only need to speak to one person to find out what is happening and for them to be accountable to satisfactorily and competently resolve the issue. One helpful technique is to delegate a data administrator to update your dashboard or tracking system to ensure that all KPIs are current and accurate.

Whether they personally update all the numbers themselves, or they ensure others to do it, or there are automatic data integrations in place, the data administrator is accountable to make sure all the KPIs in your dashboard are current and accurate prior to each team meeting. Agree on a time, prior to the team meeting, by which all update must be entered into your system. In this way, everyone can see which parts of the team part of the business are performing well, and which parts need attention. Also, everyone can see who is performing well, and who needs help and support.

The key point is that, without accurate and timely data, you cannot run an effective meeting. You must avoid wasting your time, as well as wasting the time of those attending.

Related Articles:   efficiency … or Effectiveness?   and   Wrecking Meetings … 5 ways!

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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Posted in Business Process Improvement, Performance Management

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