Communication and Accountability
The faster a company wants to grow, the faster it has to exchange meaningful messages that get the right information to the right people. So, how do you ensure information moves through your business accurately and quickly? By establishing a solid communications rhythm.
For an executive team, this means a rhythm of well-run meetings. These meetings keep you in touch with people across all levels of the company and ensure everyone stays focused on what is important. They are also a chance for every employee to measure their own progress and observe the progress of others.
Successful Companies Use A Communications Rhythm
Successful companies use an effective communications rhythm of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual meetings to maintain alignment and drive accountability.
The result of a well-run meeting rhythm is the ability to solve problems quickly. This allows for better alignment of strategic decision-making, ensuring everyone communicates more effectively.
The Rockefeller Communications Rhythm
The daily meeting or daily huddle, as many companies refer to it, is imperative for growth companies. It’s run from the bottom-up so that management can see where support is required in removing bottle necks, to achieve what is important and receive customer data.
The daily meeting is 7-15 minutes long. It should be held at the same time each day and it is best to set it at an odd time, 11.07am for example. The odd time seems to stop people turning up late. Also, stand-up, don’t sit-down for the meeting. The meeting will drag if people are seated.
By reporting only the facts and figures, with no accompanying discussion, you can spot patterns, identify trends or road-blocks and see where people need assistance. The meetings are run by the team, allowing them to share where they are getting stuck and to ask for support.
Meetings of this type speed up execution and identify areas where discussion is needed, so it can be added to weekly and monthly meeting agendas. The structure for the meeting is to go around the room and ask each person the following questions:
- What’s worked well for you in the last 24 hours, your accomplishments or noteworthy news from a customer?
- What did not work for you in the last 24 hours – based on your role or customer feedback?
- Where are you stuck at present? Where’s the bottle-neck? What can be done about it?
- Where are you currently at with meeting your KPIs or current goals?
- What is your number one priority for today?
The weekly meeting is a tactical meeting and should be 30 – 60 minutes. Have everyone share one good news story from the past week. This counters negativity.
Review weekly activities and metrics, go over the company critical numbers and everyone’s individual or team weekly measures of productivity. Here are some tips:
- Don’t get caught up in conversation, just report the numbers.
- Don’t set an agenda until after initial reporting.
- Resolve tactical obstacles and issues.
- One word close — go around the room and let everyone say a word that represents how they feel at that moment about the meeting.
- Keep a log of who said they would do what and when.
- Postpone strategic discussions to the monthly meeting.
This meeting is strategic and should take two to four hours, held each month. In this meeting discuss, analyse, brainstorm and decide upon critical issues affecting long-term success.
- Limit the meeting to one or two topics.
- Prepare and do research where required.
- Engage in constructive conflict to ensure commitment with the decision.
Quarterly and Annually
These meetings are usually an off-site review and will last one to two days. The purpose is to review strategy, industry trends, competitive landscape, key personnel and team development.
In the quarterly review set your next quarter’s priorities and critical numbers.
Annually, review your one and three year priorities and set your first quarter priorities and critical KPI’s.
And remember not to over-structure or over-burden the schedule of these two meetings.
A Quick Takeout – Three Reasons Meetings Don’t Work
The result of a well-run meeting rhythm is better alignment of strategic decision-making, ensuring everyone communicates more effectively. To help you create a winning communication rhythm – it’s good to note the key reasons why meetings do not work.
- There is no clear meeting rhythm with clear purpose for each meeting.
- The company has no clear direction and strategy for the team to align with.
- There are no metrics or critical figures to measure progress against.
My advice is to find a rhythm that works for your company and stick to it – consistency is key.
It’s worth checking out the Gazelles Rockefeller Habits Checklist that outlines the 10 essential habits proven to drive the best companies to success. Mastering an effective communications rhythm is habit number three.