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The Importance Of Management Meeting Agendas (Before, During, & After)

Good management meetings don’t happen by accident. Find out what you need to know to make your leadership meetings effective.

Tricia, Senior Consultant at ClearPoint, leverages her 4+ years of performance management experience when working with customers to improve their reporting and strategy execution.

A great deal of time and effort go into effective team meetings, including:

  • Preparing for the meeting.
  • Ensuring the right people are in the room.
  • Managing a tight agenda.
  • Reviewing the content beforehand.
  • Preparing for decisions to be made during the meeting.
  • Following through after the meeting.

Knowing that good management meetings don’t happen by accident is key—but that is only the first step of many on the journey to making your meetings effective. To ensure it happens, you need to take action—and that’s where we come in.

Here’s everything you need to know to have effective team meetings in your organization, including what you can do before, during, and after these meetings to set yourself up for success.

Before The Meetings

In preparation for your meetings, take the following into account:

  • There must be clear accountability for who is presenting each part of the agenda.
  • The meeting facilitator must ensure engagement by answering the following participant questions prior to the meeting:
    • Why are we having this meeting?
    • What do you need to accomplish once we are done?
    • What is my role in the decision-making?
    • Why should I invest my time in this meeting?
  • Information for upcoming meetings must be sent out in advance to allow meeting participants to fully prepare.

During The Meetings

There are three different types of management meetings you’ll want to think about:

  • Monthly meetings
  • Quarterly meetings
  • Annual strategy refresh meetings

These meetings fit together in the following way:

reviewmeeting

Monthly Review Meetings

Monthly review meetings—which are typically an hour or two long—should be in place so your organization can review progress against performance. These meetings are typically about one part of the strategy rather than the full strategy, and is sometimes called a key theme or strategic thrust.  During the meetings, you may capture a set of key decisions and some action items that would also contribute to the quarterly review meeting.

During the monthly meetings, you may want to divide up your time like this:

  • Review the assigned actions that are due (15 minutes).
    • During this time, review the action items that were assigned at the previous month’s meeting.
  • Review your objectives and measures (20 minutes).
    • Be sure to note the RAG (Red, Amber, Green) status for each to see how you’re progressing. This is a good opportunity to keep the discussion at a high level.
  • Review progress of your projects and initiatives (20 minutes).
    • This should include a review and discussion of your initiatives in more detail and a review of both budget and alignment.
    • You may slow things down, speed things up, or add resources as needed to projects that either impact your strategy or need management attention.
  • Discuss key issues (60 minutes).
    • During this chunk of time, review your key metrics and problem areas and discuss how your initiatives meet any key issues out there. Do you need to make any strategic decisions or adjustments within the entire theme? This is a good opportunity to discuss them as a team.
  • Review action items (5 minutes).
    • Be sure to assign accountability during this step.
    • You’ll spend the first few minutes of the next monthly meeting reviewing key action items from the previous meeting and then repeat the process.  

All in all, monthly review meetings will allow you to analyze your performance for the month to see how you’re doing.

Quarterly Meeting

During quarterly strategy review meetings—which can last half of a day to a full day—you should review your progress against your overall strategy and discuss how key action items are in line (or not in line) with any strategic issues.

During the quarterly meetings, you may want to divide up your time like this:

  • Review action items (45-90 minutes).
    • What action items were assigned at the previous monthly meeting? This is the time to review the ones that are due.
  • Review objectives and measures (49-90 minutes).
    • This is the time you should look at the overall key strategic goals that come from your organization. If you are using a Balanced Scorecard, this would be the goals on your strategy map with associated measures. But if you are not using a scorecard, then these are typically the key focus areas in your strategic plan.
  • Discuss key issues (1-2.5 hours).
    • Are there any key issues that need to be reviewed? This is the time to do that. You’ll want to understand your options, outline your decisions, and then make a choice based on that information.
  • Review initiative allocation (1-2 hours).
    • On a quarterly basis, it’s important to look at initiative allocations. Have things changed in your budget? Over the course of a year, there could be a catastrophe that affects your organization—this could be related to weather, a state budget, or financial markets. It could even be a major competitor-related event or an unforeseen calendar event.
    • This is important, because if you have a larger budget surplus in one quarter, then you may have an opportunity to invest more in areas of your strategy. If your budget surplus for a quarter is smaller than expected, you’ll need to start focusing on certain measures and realizing you may not be able to do everything you thought at the beginning of the year.
  • Review action items (30 minutes).
    • Again, the last part of the meeting should be used to review the action items you’ve captured during the meeting and make sure each item has a responsible owner.

In summary, on a quarterly basis, you should make sure that you’re refining your strategic issues or reviewing your strategy—and making sure that you’re still on track. This is the time for you to decide if money (or management attention) needs to be reallocated, as well. If you don’t hold these quarterly meetings and instead wait to review key components of your strategy only once a year, you may be faced with some serious challenges or surprises—the kind you don’t want to have at the end of the year.

Simply talking about strategy won’t get you anywhere—you need to execute. This ebook walks you through how to do just that.

Annual Strategy Refresh Meeting

The idea behind your annual strategy refresh meeting is to review year-to-date performance and adjust as necessary. This meeting will typically last 1-2 days. By the close of the meeting, you should have an updated strategy map or scorecard.

During the annual meetings, you may want to divide up your time like this:

  • Do a strategy map refresh (2-4 hours).
    • During your strategy map refresh, you should review your current themes, perspectives, and objectives and adjust them as necessary. You should be asking questions about whether your current strategy is still valid going forward.
  • Do a measure and target refresh (2-4 hours).
    • In this phase, be sure to review your current measures and adjust future targets based on what you’ve learned over the last year.
  • Review initiative allocation (2-4 hours).
    • Your initiative allocation section will allow you to:
      • Set your strategic budget for the next year.
      • Allocate your budget according to your themes.
      • Review your proposed initiatives.
      • Refine and rationalize your initiatives.
  • Set accountability allocation (1 hour).
    • During this step, make sure you’ve determined your key scorecard owners for the upcoming year.

In review, an annual strategy review meeting is a forum used to question your strategy as a whole. It should answer the following questions:

  • Is our strategy still valid for the upcoming year?
  • Do we need to change our strategy map or some of our measures?
  • Should we add more sophisticated measures or update some of our targets?
  • Should we change our initiatives or budgeting process?

After The Meetings

Following your meetings, you’ll need to take the following into account:

  • Publish your meeting minutes and action plan within 24 hours to ensure everyone understands their responsibilities.
    • Meeting minutes should be comprised of high-level meeting notes and details that are important for those involved. This record can act as a reference point for those who were in the meeting, for upper management, and for those who did not attend the meeting.
    • This step is important both because the decisions will be fresh in everyone’s minds and because action items can only be completed after the meeting minutes are published and sent out.
  • Prepare for the next meeting by creating a new agenda.
  • Have the scorecard managers monitor the completion of action items and offer assistance where it’s needed.

Keep In Mind...

Your first few management meetings might be rough and overwhelming as you move toward your new and more effective management process. To help with this, you may want to have a designated facilitator in the meetings to help keep you on track. (It’s helpful if this individual isn’t on the management team!)

There are a lot of moving parts involved in effective management meetings. But a change in some behaviors that have hindered your leadership meeting previously will create good habits moving forward. Good luck!

The Importance Of Management Meeting Agendas (Before, During, & After)