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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Status Meetings – A Welcome Change

Business has changed – how we do it, where we work, what we are responsible for, and who we are working with has been radically shaken – sometimes I feel like the paint can in that shaking mixer at the paint store.

Working smart and efficiently is needed to cover the additional responsibilities we inherited as others left the organization. Nevertheless, several of the old practices seem untouched by this new reality – like the written weekly report to a manager or the Monday Morning Meeting.

An update report to the manager is a one-on-one, asynchronous communication – from writer to reader. Often in a mark-up format – freshening up the statistics while leaving the prose intact – the report shares metrics without intelligence or current conditions. Many writers see it as a time consuming task of no direct value in reaching goals and delivering results.

The Monday Morning Meetings were not efficient when everyone was in the same location – come in early or break in to the day's schedule to sit for an hour or more to speak for about 5 minutes. When locations and resources increased, these meetings became more unwieldy to schedule and virtually attend. And people resist going to meetings – too many are time wasters without obvious purpose or tangible results.

The status meeting is an effective way to share intelligence about individual and organization progress, market intelligence, and customer feedback.

A status meeting has 5 principal elements for each stakeholder to share crisply:

  1. What are your goals for this week?
  2. What results did you achieve?
  3. What changes did you make to get better results?
  4. What was the best things you learned about the marketplace, customers, competitors – what will benefit your co-stakeholders in achieving their goals?
  5. What are your goals for next week?

No need to prepare handouts or written documents for a status meeting – participants will take notes on items of interest to them. Sharing goals, results, and what was learned outside the organization, is of value to all participants and can help build teamwork in the process.

Can the status meeting scale and still be effective? General Stanley McChrystal when Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) held a similar meeting: 'As We See It' session with 70 nodes around the region for 90 minutes everyday – he said this was the most effective way to tap local knowledge of enemy activities and keep all units up to date on current information and plans.

I find that it takes about 6 weeks or so of weekly meetings to understand the meeting format and get everyone participating fully, but once there it is a meeting that participants find useful. Just the collective market intelligence alone from the status meetings can magnify the scope of current knowledge far beyond what one individual could typically observe.

Worth trying, if you want to build your organization's effectiveness.

Resources – So that's how to do it!

Join us: Monday, July 1 for Google+ The Center of the Internet, at 40PlusWashington, DCinformative and entertaining.

1 comment:

Thoughthebrowser said...

All social actions follow scripts of what people expect. Unless you concentrate on improving, repeating meetings approach lowest acceptable performance. This meeting script lets people shake up their expectation and strive for excellence, and maybe confuse the participants who have figured out how to guard their "rights."