Monday, July 5, 2021

Team Meeting Series: Frequency

Actions to take: Do your team meetings on a weekly basis. It is by far the most effective way to keep your people up to speed and working as a team.

This is a post in a short series about running your team meetings, i.e. the regularly scheduled meeting with all of your direct reports in attendance. Many of the lessons apply to other meetings, but team meetings are the focus.

Team meetings are most effective by far when done on a weekly basis. If prior posts have convinced you that weekly one-on-ones are a major value that improves efficiency and effectiveness of your team, then you will have an easy time seeing how the same logic applies to the team meeting. If you are not convinced that weekly one-on-ones are an excellent, efficient way to manage, there are low odds that you will be convinced to do your team meeting every week.

Your team meeting needs to be weekly for the same fundamental reason that one-on-ones are weekly. Anything that feels like "just part of the job" happens on at least a weekly basis. Anything that happens less frequently is outside the routine. It does not feel like a normal part of the job, and it does not get very much attention or energy throughout the week.

The team meeting is a time for you to pass down information you've learned, brainstorm new ideas or solutions, react to changes, etc. as a team. If you have your team meeting biweekly or monthly, then working together as a team does not feel like a routine part of the job. When you have your meeting weekly, people integrate teamwork into their regular work. People talk more throughout the week, check with each other on issues more, fewer things fall through the cracks. The work gels together in a way that doesn't happen without these weekly meetings. 

It is not just that work feels like it happens on a weekly basis. Work really does happen on a weekly basis! If your organization is at all successful, stuff comes up that you need to tell/discuss/plan with your team every single week. The weekly team meeting provides a locked-in time when everyone knows those conversations will happen. Yes, you could attempt to have these conversations individually or in small groups every time something comes up. It would be fantastically inefficient. You would spend your entire workweek chasing down people and trying to keep track of whom you told what. (What actually happens is that the boss simply fails to discuss most things with most people) 

Those of you who are doing weekly one-on-ones get another bonus. One-on-ones and team meeting support and improve one another. You will announce a major change in the team meeting, then be able to check in on how each person feels about it in one-on-ones, determining who is for, against, and neutral about it. Ideas will come up in one-on-ones, and you will be able to bring them to group discussion within a week, because your team meeting time is already in place. 

Once you get both these meetings locked in, it starts to feel like a perpetual motion machine. Communication in the two meetings build on each other, ideas flow quickly and easily, everyone feels better informed, and work gets done at a pace that is otherwise impossible to achieve.

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