I just had a wonderful discussion with a client who is taking a mid-size business to a new level of leadership and alignment. We have been using the Scaling Up process for about six months, following 6 months of executive coaching to master the Four Decisions. During this time the leadership team has been formed and developed, and is creating clear direction, priorities and collaboration. There has been a change in philosophy – where once the leader was the only one aware of all aspects of the business, and the staff waited for instructions and decisions, there is now an environment of Team Success – where everyone, from the top down, is aligned, aware and accountable.
We were laughing because the transition between working on operations and moving up to strategic accountability can resemble a Spring storm, with dramatic and unexpected turns. But mastering and implementing The Four Decisions; People, Strategy, Execution and Cash, certainly helped him implement the transition with much greater ease and lasting results.
Leadership teams often need direction on how to collaborate effectively to create processes and systems throughout the organization which ideally can be duplicated throughout the company. And Scaling up larger businesses, with units that do not duplicate every process over and over, can be an added challenge.
My client and I started our work with the People decision. Fostering employee trust, communicating company values and goals, welcoming contributions, and making them more accountable were important first steps in the shift to an environment of Team Success. Probably the most important tool we used to accomplish this was Meeting Rhythms, which are a vital part of the Execution decision.
Your willingness to develop meeting rhythms in your organization is a crucial step toward creating accountability and alignment.
The Execution Decision:
• Meeting Rhythms
• Metrics to measure the success of KPI’s that are created to meet strategic goals.
The team approach to success requires meetings that are daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly as well as annual so that everyone is aware of and understands what the important long term goals are, and how their activities on a daily basis can contribute to success.
Often it seems that everyone is so busy that adding meetings to the schedule seems problematic. I can tell you that once the commitment is made, and the process is followed step-by-step, the priorities and accomplishments become easier and on target.
The daily meeting is called a Huddle and can be done via Telephone or Skype or if you are all in the same location can be done standing up. It is a short meeting with a very specific agenda.
• What’s Up
• Priority for today
• Am I stuck
The purpose is to have everyone from the top leadership team, and throughout the organization, meet team by team, for the connection and opportunity to communicate in real time, as things are going on. If someone is stuck, take it off line rather than handle it in the meeting unless it can be quickly answered. The huddle is no longer than 20 minutes depending on the size of the team. A team of six or less can easily do within 10 to 15 minutes.
The weekly meeting is for focus and collaboration and can be up to 90 minutes, although an hour is often enough time. It is important, however, to allow enough time for everyone to talk about wins, challenges and how goals are progressing both individually and for the team. The senior leadership team is looking at the organization as a whole so the old format of reporting, in detail, what is going on in each unit is shortened to wins, challenges and progress on priorities set in the last meeting. This meeting allows time for problem solving and new tactics for moving forward toward the strategic goals as well as execution goals for the quarter and the year. This is a time for the team to focus its collective intelligence on an important topic to the whole business.
I’ll review the Monthly, Quarterly and Annual meetings next month. There are good descriptions in Verne Harnish’s book, Scaling Up, as a beginning look at this.
There is a direct and indirect correlation between Meeting Rhythms and success. Directly there is more communication, reaching across functional lines for ideas and support, open willingness to share the stuck places and a sense of everyone being engaged in the whole business rather than just their piece.
Indirectly things work better and ideas get implemented and forward progress is easier.
As always, if you have a question, challenge, or success story you would like to share, please be sure to leave a comment. Also, if you are interested in an opportunity to experience this methodology, please let me know. I would enjoy hearing from you! – Patricia