Tips for making the most out of your team meetings every time.
What defines a successful team meeting? One of the challenges managers face when trying to effectively meet with team members is that conversations tend to focus disproportionately around what’s going on in their mind at that very moment – the micro. While this situation is important and it’s helpful to dig into the top of mind issue as a means of supporting, coaching and helping, it often short cuts a good chunk of the value that can be found in a connection time.
Despite the tendency for people to start with the micro, we’ve found tremendous fruit in practicing the following roadmap for an effective team meeting:
Sidenote: Since most of my direct reports are also managers, several of the areas are tailored around this reality. That being said, these can easily be tailored to move from the bigger picture to a zoomed in focus over the course of the time spent together.
Focus of an Effective Team Meeting:
What’s the overarching feel of the team? Tired, Stressed, Bored, Excited, Neutral, etc.
What’s the one thing you’re focused on shifting where we are today to where we want to be in the future?
Who should we be talking about and what’s going on in their life/work? Star, struggling, frustrated, hungry for more?
Who’s on your mind to challenge or develop or invite into the more?
Vendor or Customer that you’re focused on?
What are the primary challenges in front? Immediate and longer term?
What are the boxes you’re looking to check before our next scheduled meeting?
Performance Assessments or purchase a vehicle or get XYZ hired or _________?
The Balance of Macro and Micro
As a leader, context is INCREDIBLY helpful. It’s powerful in bridging the gaps between teams and it’s also useful for team members to voice answers to these questions. Helping someone verbalize what’s already in their head, that they may not have thought about is an important role of a coach, mentor or manager. Often someone will say “I’m surprised that is the first thing that came out when asked about the biggest challenge.” This is helpful!
One thing you’ll likely see is team members zipping right back toward the micro. The culture question will start with an emotion, “the team is tired”, then funnel down to a specific person and zeroing in on how to address. That’s fine AND it’s important to zoom back out to the area you were focusing on. Helping them balance the tension between thinking through the micro and macro will create momentum for whatever is ahead.
What questions would you add or change to gain the most context and set everyone up for alignment and success coming out of a team meeting?
Cheers to great connection points and successful team meetings!