Podcast Episode 92 – The Monthly Leadership Team Meeting

The Monthly Leadership Team meeting provides an opportunity for a leadership team to dig deeper into issues and opportunities, and is a link between the weekly meeting, and the quarterly execution planning meeting. Also the monthly meeting answers the question – Are we on track for this quarter’s plan? And, what needs to be done to course correct.

In this episode, Brad and Kevin discuss why you need a Monthly Leadership Team meeting, what a monthly meeting agenda must include, and tips for a productive and successful monthly meeting.




Please note that this episode was transcribed using an AI application and may not be 100% grammatically correct – but it will still allow you to scan the episode for key content.

Kevin Lawrence  00:13

Welcome to the Growth Whisperers podcast. This week, we’re going to have a great time talking about the monthly meeting. This podcast is about building enduring, great companies, something Brad and I are very passionate about. And we talk about different things every week to help people thrive as they build their businesses. So I’m Kevin Lawrence joined, as always with Brad Giles. How are things going for you today?

Brad Giles  00:38

Excellent. We are in the throes of summer. A beautiful time in Australia the summer. So what about you, Kevin? How are you doing?

Kevin Lawrence  00:53

I’m doing awesome. We’re well on our way in 2022. So word of the day, Brad, what would be the word that you have?

Brad Giles  01:23

Confident! So how confident are you going into 2022?  Hopefully you’ve been following this series of episodes about the meeting rhythm, and hopefully you’ve got a coach, you’ve got a plan in place that gives you confidence, because it’s certainly the thing that I’ve seen is that the more that we do this stuff with teams, the more confident they get about this year energy and their future. And what about yourself?

Kevin Lawrence  01:51

Change Agent is the word for today. You know, we all need to be change agents. But I really think about it in some of the work that we’re doing in companies. And in many ways, that’s what we are. And I think it’s Newton’s law that an object will remain in motion, and unless acted upon by an unstable force. And in many ways, we are the unstable force, that helps to change the trajectory of the company, because they’re very comfortable going down the road that they’re going down. And we need to kind of shift and change their perspectives. And we do that through questions and tools. And that’s and being that change agent. So a confident change agent can have a massive impact on a company’s performance. And ideally, we’re trying to help everyone to be the change agents, not just ourselves or not just the CEOs.

So the monthly meeting, and there’s many different versions of the monthly meeting. And what we’re talking about probably isn’t the one that you’re doing, if you’re doing them already. There’s a very specific structure for a monthly meeting that we’re going to dig into today. And the main thing is, it’s either two or four hours, or in some cases a full day that this meeting would be and we’ll get to that in a minute. One of the things though, that’s most interesting, and we’re talking about this as we’re preparing, it is the one meeting rhythm that we often encourage people to do last, as in, let’s get your annual and your quarterly meetings going. Let’s make sure that your weekly meeting is highly, highly effective. You know, getting the dailies going for those that choose to do them. They’re very powerful, though not everyone does them. But we will get all of those meetings up and running first, and then we generally would tackle the monthly.

Brad Giles  04:08

Yeah, I like to say to teams, get the weekly meeting, highly functioning, get they’re working really, really well. And then what I’ve noticed is that teams get this gap between a weekly and a quarterly. It’s like we need another meeting where we dedicate more time to it. And when you get that feeling which it could take six months or 18 months of running the weekly. When you get that feeling it’s probably the right time to go into a deeper dive. If the weekly meeting is a shallow dive than the monthly is a deeper dive into the items that we’re going to go through today.

Kevin Lawrence  04:50

Right. So an effective quarterly and effective weekly, generally start to build the demand or the need for a monthly to dig deeper and get a bit more sense TJ, on a more frequent basis, because what happens is you don’t get to it in the weekly, and then the quarterly gets overloaded. So then the monthly meeting Bs is the place where we chew through a lot of these other, you know, tactical or strategic discussions that are really important.

Brad Giles  05:15

What’s ironic is that we’re talking about senior leadership teams, people who work in and on the business. But if you were in a board, perhaps, for a board member, the most important meeting is probably the monthly board meeting.

Kevin Lawrence  05:32

If they have them, and some boards don’t, some boards get to the point where they can run it based on a quarterly meeting. But that monthly keeps you in touch an impulse or in have the pulse on and in touch with what’s going on in the business. Cool. Well, let’s jump in. So they’re, you know, why does this matter? Like, what is the real value of that monthly meeting? I mean, one of the key things is, are we on track at a deep level for all of our quarterly goals, that would be the company level goals. And the department level goals is everyone on track with everything. And that’s a chance to get support, get insights, and then recalibrate, to still be able to achieve what you need to by the end of the quarter.

Brad Giles  06:15

Yeah, imagine that you are 30 days in or four weeks into the quarter. And something is just really, really red. In other words, there is an item that’s quite important that nothing’s getting done on, well, this is the chance to really stop and recalibrate and say, well, either we’re going to not do it. Or we’re going to change the plan or change the jack or additional resources or something we need to figure out. How are we going to get that done in the next eight weeks, if you’ve done nothing in the past four weeks?

Kevin Lawrence  06:47

Yes. So it’s a chance to do that recalibration and catch up because we need reminders, we forget about what’s going on and get lost in the chaos of the drama or the problems of the day today. Or the monthly meeting forces you out of the day to day to look at these things and get back on track. So super important. The second thing I mentioned a little bit already, but as to review at the department level, how we’re doing. And this is both for the benefit of the CEO, and the executives, it creates sale and peer pressure reviewing how we’re doing. But usually people in departments are running doing their thing. And they’re off doing their own. This is where everyone comes back together to give updates. There’s lots of dependencies to paint between departments, or things that people need to know to stay in sync. And there’s no other time when we’re really going to look at what our peers are doing versus what they committed to.

Brad Giles  07:45

Yeah, so it absolutely depends on the size of the business. But I’ve got teams who run weekly meetings, and, sorry, monthly meetings. And for one hour at that monthly meeting, they all have a department or a team of let’s say three to six people come in from the department. And they’ll go through a set agenda as a part of that broader monthly. And they’ll say How you going on your priorities. They’ll give some updates they’ll work through, they’ll answer all of the questions you’ve got and make some hardcore decisions. Because all the decision makers are in the room and gets things to move faster. So that means that they might have let’s say, between eight and nine, they’ll have the sales team come in between nine and 10. They’ll have the operations team come in, and then the marketing team or something like that, so many different ways to do it. But it’s a deep dive. That’s the important part.

Kevin Lawrence  08:41

Yeah, 100%. The next thing is zooming out and looking at customer and employee feedback, like what is really going on with our other key stakeholders, right and zooming out and say, Okay, what are the customers saying what’s good? What’s not good? What might we need to tweak in our plans right now? Yes, we have plans and goals. But if we’re not taking good care of our customers, we might need to do something different and similar with employees, what are we hearing? What’s the pulse on different things?

Brad Giles  09:10

The important thing is that we want qualitative and quantitative data. So we might have, for example, a net promoter score for customers, which is quantitative, and also a for Q for questions. We’ve got an episode about the four Q, what are the four questions that we’ve got to ask all of our customers that is systematized, which is qualitative so that we can get that kind of one on one feedback that’s very different to the NPS. And then the same thing for the employees where we would say for example, the employee net promoter score, which is quantitative and then the start stop key, which we stopped doing, which we stopped doing, which we keep doing, which is the qualitative aspect. So if we’ve got enough of that type of data coming in regularly, that’s going to help was to make better decisions as a leadership team.

Kevin Lawrence  10:02

Yeah, and just being in tune with the environment internally and externally. The next piece on a monthly meeting, and I believe this is where some of the greatest value is created, there’s a lot from reviewing goals and making sure we’re on track. But then it’s collective intelligence and like happens in quarterlies. Although often there’s not enough time in the quarterlies. To do as much of this as we need to, is that we dig into some of the projects that we’re working on, or some of the things that we need to figure out, someone will come and make a presentation on what we’re doing around the ERP. And then we’re going to brainstorm some stuck points, or brainstorm resources or brainstorm whatever it is, we need to do to make that project successful. So it’s where we need to get realigned or make some important decisions do use the brains in the room to push it forward. And again, it could be pushing it forward from making the decision, or it could be pushing it forward from a buy in, or pushing it forward from getting resources and support. But whatever it happens to be is that things that we all need to be involved in interestingly, one of my clients in India, well, they used to fly people in eight times a year for these monthly meetings from all across, you know, we’re talking like planes, trains, and automobiles to, to cross India to get back to corporate to have these meetings or head office, they don’t call it corporate. But for many, many years, they would bring everyone in for a full day just to bring people together, because the output of these meetings and this collective intelligence, in particular, all of it is growth of your middle managers. Because that’s when they would bring these middle managers in not just the executives, the extended team was 40 people, which is quite an expense, I think it was what 8% of their employee cost. This, this, this meeting ended up adding up to, but it was an opportunity to have these added more people involved and develop and grow, because they’re getting a chance to really dig into the business. And it wasn’t happening in any other forum.

Brad Giles  12:03

And those people would have grown so much over a year, two years, three years. Yeah, all of that learning, it builds such a strong, such a strong environment, you know, our job as leaders is to grow the people around us so that they can grow the company.

Kevin Lawrence  12:22

Yeah, and what we refer to as DNA transfer, it’s the time when you get to work with the directors and the executives and understand what’s going on and see different things and work with your peers and give them lots of projects and other things. So that’s, you know, the next is really, you know, the collective intelligence and those strategic discussions. And then, you know, the final piece, and then sort of Last but not least, and it’s a given, although most people do a very, most people have opportunities to improve on this. And that is a very deep financial review. Yeah. And that’s grinding through the income statement, the balance sheet, and the cash flow, and really line by line, what’s working, what’s not working? And what are we going to do to do something different going forward. And if we look at this, for a lot of organizations, people have a financial review, but the not a lot happens, there should be a noticeable amount of action items after review these and you know, and it’s even going through and having a lot of questions. So this is pressure, testing the financials, asking a lot of questions, and then figure out what we have to do to perform better the next month.

Brad Giles  13:31

Because if we’re not digging deeper on a monthly basis, suddenly, we’re going from the weekly meeting to the quarterly meeting, which is great to start off. But as I said earlier, you’re going to get to a point where you’re going to need to dig in and to execute better, we’ve got to go deeper into each of these financials, each of the areas. And I love that you’ve got the who, what, when they’re at the end, because that who what, when tells us who is going to do what by when. So we create that accountability within that a monthly meeting.

Kevin Lawrence  14:06

It’s a pet peeve of mine Brad, because I see a lot of these monthly meetings, there’s not enough action, it’s a review of the financials to take actions, not just to review the financials. Not just to get informed and entertained.

Brad Giles  14:25

Very good. So good chat today about the monthly meeting. It’s an important part of the framework. It’s an advanced move, perhaps, let’s say, but still a really important part of the rhythm that we want to encourage teams to get into. So let’s start off. I’ll add a quick point. We spoke here about collective intelligence. We’ve got an episode about collective intelligence, that’s episode 58 That you may want to refer back to, to learn a little bit more about what collective intelligence is and why it matters and how you can structure collective intelligence in your agenda. And so let’s, let’s start off, typically two to four hours up to a day for the monthly. And it really answers the question, are we on track for this quarter’s plan, the opportunity to recalibrate, to adjust to stop doing things if we need to, so that we can execute our quarterly plan, which would allow which would align with our annual strategic thinking plan. And so we next what we’re doing is we’re reviewing the quarterly progress, how we’re going on each of the priorities that we’ve set, and we’re reviewing the customer and employee data, Kevin to take us through the next year.

Kevin Lawrence  15:48

And then we get to the collective intelligence where we’re putting all the brains in the room around something that we need to figure out whether we need to align around something, decide about something, improve something, get more resources, but debating the things and using the best brains in the company to do that. And it might be one of the strategic tools that we’re working on, or one of our priorities, we don’t know. And then And then last but not least, the deep financial review and notable a number of action items, reviewing the financials at a granular level, a unit level, a product level, whatever it happens to be seeing where we’re winning, and where we’re not, and taking action on insights that we have, so that we can perform better, or at least consistently in the following month.

Brad Giles  16:32

Awesome. Good, a good chat today. So this is part of a series going from the annual meeting the quarterly meeting, today we talked about the monthly meeting. And next week, we’re talking about the weekly meeting. One of the most hotly debated points appoints within the meeting rhythm agenda, where people so often can make some slip up. So we hope you’ll enjoy that one next week. And then the week after that, we’re going into the daily huddle.

You can find the video version on YouTube. You can find Kevin at Lawrence and co.com and Kevin’s got a great newsletter, you may want to subscribe to. Myself, Brad you can find it evolution partners.com.au. And again, I’ve got a newsletter that I produce weekly as well, which provides insights on a whole range of different things. And so that really takes us to the end. Hope that you’ve enjoyed the episode, and look forward to chatting again next week about the weekly meeting. Have a great week.