Excerpt adapted from How to Grow Your Small Business by Donald Miller
There are five meetings that will grow your small business.
There are other meetings, of course, but, as you grow, if you implement the All-Staff, Leadership, Department Stand-up, Personal Priority Speed Check, and Quarterly Performance Review meetings, the flow of important information from person-to-person will not be blocked, and efficiency will increase.
1. The All-Staff Meeting
Every Monday at 10:00 a.m. the entire staff gets together; some attend in person and some virtually. The purpose of this meeting is threefold:
- Maintain alignment and focus around the three economic priorities,
- Update the entire team about any department initiatives or successes, and
- Keep morale up by publicly honoring team members who are demonstrating exceptional work that helps your team make progress toward your three economic priorities.
The All-Staff Meeting is your longest meeting, from 45 minutes to an hour. The energy for this meeting should be high and helps you create a family-like atmosphere. A specific template should be filled out before the meeting. This template ensures the meeting is thoughtfully planned so it contributes to the economic priorities.
2. The Leadership Meeting
The Leadership Meeting takes place right after the All-Staff Meeting. This meeting consists of department heads and is designed to talk about the primary initiatives currently in motion as well as address any roadblocks that are holding back your economic objectives. This meeting usually lasts a half hour to an hour, depending on how many initiatives your team needs to cover that week.
The Leadership Meeting Template should be used to plan this meeting. The template will be filled out by you or the team member in charge of the meeting. Filling out the template makes sure each Leadership Meeting helps the overall company achieve the three current economic priorities.
3. The Department Stand-up
If your small business has more than five or six team members and those team members are divided into two or three departments, you may want to begin holding Department Stand-ups. If your team is smaller than two or three team members, an All-Staff Meeting or Leadership Meeting may be all you need.
That said, you’ll want to hold that All-Staff Meeting more than once each week and likely three or four times each week. On Monday, hold a longer meeting but on the other days, keep it short and use the Department Stand-up Template to guide the meeting. As your team grows, though, you will want each department to hold Department Stand-ups each morning that there is no All-Staff Meeting.
Department Stand-up Meetings last for less than fifteen minutes and help ensure each department is working on an initiative or initiatives that support the three economic priorities of the business. It is during this meeting that department leaders set the objectives for the coming day and address any roadblocks team members may be experiencing regarding the previous day’s workflow. A Department Stand-up Template is filled out before the meeting.
4. The Personal Priority Speed Check
As your team continues to grow, each new team member is going to want to know how well they are doing their job. Ongoing coaching is critical to keep productivity and morale high.
Once you have five or ten people on your team and the overall team is divided into separate departments, each director should meet one-on-one with their individual team members each week in a Personal Priority Speed Check. These meetings also last about fifteen minutes and are designed to zoom in on each person’s responsibilities within the context of their team. The Personal Priority Speed Check Template is filled out by the team member him/herself before the meeting. This template ensures the meeting has been thoughtfully planned so each team member feels supported as they contribute to the economic priorities of the overall business.
While this meeting may seem like too much to add to your workflow, remember two things: The meeting only lasts fifteen minutes per team member and your department leaders (not you) are holding these meetings.
Because your department heads are giving each team member the individual attention they need, your team members will feel supported and you will experience a surge in morale.
If you are a solo-preneur, of course, this meeting will not be necessary but it can be a great way to hold yourself accountable to your own economic and personal priorities. That said, if you do have a small staff, consider holding the Personal Priority Speed Check once each week (or at least once each month) with each individual team member. Use the Personal Priority Speed Check Template to guide the meeting and make sure your team member has filled it out before the meeting. You will be amazed how much time is saved, rather than wasted, by holding these meetings. Not only this, but your team will respect you all the more for giving them the individual attention they crave—even if it’s only fifteen minutes each week.
5. Quarterly Performance Reviews
So far, our meetings have revolved around generating focus and productivity. We haven’t however, addressed performance. In the Quarterly Performance Review you will carefully assess each team member’s performance. You’ll ask questions like: Are they often late? Is the quality of their work subpar?
How might management help them improve? These conversations are a mix between management and coaching in which each of your directors help their team members understand how to improve in their professional career. If you like, the fourth-quarter performance review can also be tied to a bonus and pay structure.
Your Quarterly Performance Reviews address the number one question most team members have: Am I doing a good job? These meetings are mostly positive but because they are a little longer and because the Quarterly Performance Review Template is filled out by both the team member and department head, an honest conversation is fostered and a natural, healthy environment for coaching and improvement is created. As is suggested by the title, the Quarterly Performance Reviews take place once each quarter.
If the body of an airplane is too large to be supported by the wings and the engines, the plane will crash. That’s why when you board one of those smaller commuter planes you have to duck your head to get in the door. There’s a reason airplanes look like flying pencils. It’s because the shape, size, and weight of the body must be as lean and streamlined as possible to mitigate the plane’s need for power, lift, and fuel.
Our small businesses work the same way. The products we sell and the sales and marketing efforts that move those products should compensate (and, hopefully, overcompensate) for the overhead necessary to run our day-to-day operations.
If you want an airplane to fly, make the wings wide, the right and left engines powerful, and the body of the airplane streamlined and light. In other words, if you want your small business to make money, make the marketing and sales engines powerful, make the product profitable, and keep overhead down!
How to Grow Your Small Business includes the templates mentioned here as well as many more that will help you develop your own small business flight plan. Available as: