Podcast Episode 93 – The Weekly Meeting

The weekly meeting is key to successful execution. It is where the leadership team takes strategy developed at an annual meeting, which is then translated into a series of priorities at a quarterly meeting, and then organizes the team to execute the priorities through accountability and updates at the weekly meeting .

Your weekly operational meeting helps you to stay focused on what matters most. And it’s a key time to come together and get synced, and deal with what’s most important.

Many teams feel that they already have too many meetings. But the weekly meeting – within the meeting rhythm – is designed to significantly reduce the number of extra, unexpected meetings leaders need to have.

In this episode, Brad Giles and Kevin Lawrence discuss why you need a weekly meeting, what a weekly meeting agenda must include, and tips for a successful weekly 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.

Brad Giles  00:13

Hello there, welcome to the Growth Whisperers where everything we talk about is building enduring great companies. Companies that will endure, companies that will achieve greatness. Today, as always, I’m joined by my co host, Kevin Lawrence. Kevin, how are you doing today?

Kevin Lawrence  00:35

Doing great, Brad. I’m I love talking about meetings. I love talking about effective meetings, and I’m really looking forward to this today.

Brad Giles  00:42

Yes, the weekly meeting is such an important topic – looking forward to it myself. And so as always, one of the things we encourage people to do is to open meetings with a word or phrase of the day. Kevin, what might be on your mind in terms of the word or phrase for today?

Kevin Lawrence  01:02

Today, it’s stimulants. Now, not in the pharmaceutical or drug type, stimulants, but stimulants being things that open up different parts of your brains to different things, and how important it is to always be out there seeing learning, connecting different thoughts, so that your brain continues to see different ways of doing things and opening up doors in your brains to new possibilities. So stimulants in all kinds of different forms that open up your brain and for me, you know, going to a new city, learning something new, or meeting somebody new, they’re all you know, wonderful stimulants for my creativity and having an impact on having a better life. And, and thriving at work as well.

Brad Giles  01:52

For myself, it’s not so much a word or a phrase, I’ve just been thinking about this book, The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave by Les Brown. And now we spoke about that in an episode four or five months ago. But yeah, like, the there’s been a lot of talk lately about the great resignation, whether it’s true or not, and how it works, and so forth. But, you know, one of the things that I specifically love in that book by Les Brown, and is that why do what’s the reason that managers think employees leave? And it’s like, 91% of people think it’s because of money, but then why the employees actually leave? It’s like, 92%, not money.

Kevin Lawrence  02:41

Yes. So amazing book, it’s one of my favourite books. It’s not widely known. But wow. And I use it in every meeting, I was in a meeting recently with a team. And we go in through we look at retention of our great players. And you know, there was three great players that had left this company. And I turned to the person who reports Okay, so do you know why they really left? And he started to speak and he just shakes his head. And so we go through the here’s the thing around money. But when we look at the seven hidden reasons, when we dug into it, here is actually why they left and we had a good chuckle. But, you know, it’s an amazing book, seven hidden reasons employees leave. So mine was, you know, stimulants and how they have so stimulants and seven hidden reasons people leave Brad. So it’s, you know, what are the stimulants that can create engagement or create departure? Because it’s, you know, there’s different things that stimulate people in their job and make them feel good. And then they’re stimulants and make you feel bad. I don’t know. I’m really stretching this one maybe. Let’s move on.

Kevin Lawrence  04:34

For the leadership team, it has to be it’s a critical meeting. It’s so it’s your weekly operational meeting that helps you to stay focused on what matters most it’s, it’s so darn important. And they by nature can be very excruciating. So let’s dig into the key thing and this is a 60 to 90 minute maximum meeting every week with you and your team. So we’re talking about the one with the CEO and the exec team. But it could be if you’re the head of marketing, it could be you and your direct reports. And it’s the key time that you all come together and get synced and deal with what’s most important.

Brad Giles  05:21

Here’s another way to think about it. So, about four or five weeks ago, remember, we had that quarterly off site? And we said that these are the most important thing. Yeah. For the business. How are we going in relation to that? How are we tracking? We said, we’re going to do those things. How’s that going? And rinse and repeat that conversation yet, same weeks until the next quarterly.

Kevin Lawrence  05:46

And Brad, you’ve touched on the greatest value of the weekly meeting and the primary purpose, don’t forget the freakin goals. Yeah, remember, we set those goals, we spent two days together setting these most important goals, this is our time to be reminded of them, and to be making sure that we’re making progress on them. And if not, pull up our socks and get them done. So the ideal is not to deal with all the traffic and the noise and all that stuff. It’s not a biggest problems meeting, it’s make sure we hit the damn goals meeting. And then the whole meeting is structured around that. Make sure that we hit the goals and we calibrate and make sure we’re not missing anything else major in the business. But it’s not a weekly problem meeting, it’s a weekly let’s get refocused or recalibrated. So we win by achieving our major goals meeting.

Brad Giles  06:37

Yeah, I remember there was a started to do a bit of work with a multinational engineering firm. And they would have people fly from four continents to come together for a meeting on a regular basis. And I know this is about the weekly, but I said to them, so you know, what is the agenda? How does it work? And it was 100% operational. There was nothing about strategy and nothing about priorities. And they didn’t have weekly meetings. And that absence meant that they were, you know, I’m not going to say just fumbling that we’re doing okay. But that would just stuck in the cogs.

Kevin Lawrence  07:12

They’d be living Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. Because if you don’t do something different, ie lay down a better foundation or improve a strategy or improve a process, the same junk keeps coming up. Yeah, yeah, man, we’re passionate about this one.

Brad Giles  07:28

Yes, we’re, here’s our passionate, we’ve got a few episodes as reference points. Number one, episode 58. collective intelligence, we’re going to talk about that in a moment. It’s the key to a successful weekly meeting. Next is Episode 43, the top seven best practices for weekly meetings. And then finally, Episode 20. How to make weekly meetings more effective. So yeah, we’re passionate about it. Because this is, this is how you execute or how best you execute your quarterly goals. And your quarterly goals is what gives you momentum and traction.

Kevin Lawrence  08:02

Yep, absolutely. So it’s an absolutely critical meeting, often misunderstood, mis managed, you know, the ones are the worst. It’s, I call them the fall asleep meetings, or get your email done meetings, where people are just rambling on giving their update reports, and you can’t blame them, because they’re just doing what they think they should. And that means the person that’s in charge of the meeting and running the meeting has failed them, because they’re just bringing what they think is important. And yet, it ain’t the most important thing. So let’s jump into the meeting. And you know, and one of the things I want to start with our team, we have our weekly meeting, we have hours an hour and 15, every Monday evening, and they end up happening probably 11 to 12 times a quarter, because if there’s a holiday, we don’t do them, we skip it that week. That’s where our team does it. Some move it to a different day. But we also start off with something that’s both a win and positive. Yeah. And a question where everyone’s got a different start. But our team is, you know, we only get to see each other once a year, because we’re, you know, distributed around the country, again, once from Canada at this point. But we have to talk about what’s the highlight? What’s a highlight? And how does it relate to the core values. So we’re bringing that positive as part of our check in, we also actually rate where we’re at zero to 10. So people can kind of really tell the truth about where they’re at in their world. So where are you at? What’s the wind? And then we have a question every week we have these thing called coach piggeries that our team created. It’s a Lawrence & Co thing we’ve got which has got a different question to answer. And everyone you know, goes around answers that so we just it’s a chance to connect a little bit and that’s not for everyone. That’s how we do it to really get the meeting grounded and positivity and connection with each other. That’s a starting point is something to set the right tone for the meeting. And then And then really digging into the first thing is, you know, are we on track? You know, for this month’s plan, which is are numbers and KPIs that’s what we’re trying to do initially, you know, in many companies might have a mini financial review, you know, maybe a revenue and a unit type number that we give them a sense, and any operational KPIs that are critical. Just seeing how is the business tracking? To make sure we don’t have an ugly surprise at the end of the month?

Brad Giles  10:19

No, we don’t want any surprises. So what’s red? What’s Amber? What’s green? How are we tracking? And, and that might create other questions at the collective intelligence part later on in the meeting? Correct. So why is it that sales keeps dropping, you know, three to 5%, every week, this is we’re gonna dig into this or whatever it might be. But point being, we’re starting with good news, then we’re moving on to the numbers, some hard stuff to get through and so that everyone is on the same page, then. Then we’re moving on to I’ve lost my place, then we’re moving on to the quarterly priorities. Are we on track for this month plan? So where are we at in terms of the quarterly priorities that we’ve set for the company? Now? We’ve got slightly different, slightly different way that each of us does this. So for you, Kevin, I understand that primarily at the weekly, you’ll be advocating that people only working on the top three to five priorities for the company and giving a status update on that.

Kevin Lawrence  11:33

Yeah, we normally a lot 10 minutes to the agenda maximum. And it’s okay. What are some progress you’ve made on that quarterly priority? Again, this happens every week, where might you be stuck and need some assistance? And then what are you going to do next? So with those five priorities in five to 10 minutes maximum, we can have them all completely reviewed, and know that we’re on track or know what we’re going to do to recalibrate to get on track?

Brad Giles  12:00

Yeah, yeah. So slightly different view, slightly different view on this, I’m advocating that teams would go through the, the generally the quarterly priorities, so each person would have one, maybe two minutes to say, I’m on track. For number one, I’m behind on number two, I’ve completed number three, or whatever. And let’s be really clear, this is a status update. And then that may create who what wins are separate meetings have a separate chance, we’ll let something spin down into collective intelligence. But this is a status update. This is not about solving problems at that point.

Kevin Lawrence  12:54

And to get clear, you know, so in the case, we’re moving the company, one’s an example I work with, you know, it’s 10 minutes, and we’re reviewing five goals. It’s very, very quick. And people might provide a little bit of extra context. But in 10 minutes, we’re through everything. And Brad’s would go even quicker, because in 10 minutes, they’re coming in to company five, plus the individual or the department vibes. So it has to be very succinct this. So basically, there’s no time to bore people to tears.

Brad Giles  13:25

Yeah, so what I advocate people do is say last seven, next seven. So I love that model company priority one, this is what I did in the last seven days. This is what I need to do in the next seven days. So because in terms of pure accountability, it’s quite difficult when every week you have a documented thing that said, I did nothing in the last seven days, I did nothing in the last seven days, I did nothing. You know, after a while, that gets a bit frustrating for the rest of the team.

Kevin Lawrence  13:54

Yeah, and my case, as I showed it would be the progress, where might he be stuck in what’s next similar model, same type of thinking. And if you have no progress to report just like you, that means nothing happened in the last seven. Yeah, so that is a critical piece to review. And then we get into any customer or employee data that we might have. So again, what are we hearing anything different from any customers or employees? And, you know, it might be about key hires, or someone getting on board. But you know, we got to pay attention to those two key stakeholders that we’re constantly trying to manage. Again, pretty straightforward. We want to have a little bit of data and then and then we drop into the big value of we call collective intelligence, what are those strategic discussions or debates that we’re going to deal with, and it’s 3045 60 minutes of the team coming together around something. So interestingly, with our internal team, again, we take the same framework, but what we do is, is once a week we have collective intelligence, and it could be someone presenting a project that has to do with a coordinate prayer. He’s like a deeper dive saying, Hey, here’s the model and gathering feedback, we’re building some new models around people and strategy that we’re getting feedback around. Well, then we alternate it that every second week, it’s education, because we’re a learning organization. And so there was a bit of training every second was a one week is strategic discussions, deep ones. And this alternating ultimate week is learning where someone from the team is teaching something else. And then we always have room for little tactical things that need to get addressed. Right. And it’s like a short term, hey, people need to be aware of something or I need some assistance on short term tactical stuff. All in that collective intelligence timeframe. Again, it’s not that we recommend to everyone does learning every couple of weeks, most organizations aren’t, you know, coaching and consulting firms and don’t need to do that. Or that might not be in their DNA to do that much of it.

Brad Giles  16:02

There’s usually enough topics that the team needs to debate that can be handled the weekly meeting anyways, what matters is the timing. So we would encourage people to be very disciplined, for example, review of the numbers you want 10 minutes only, yes, not 11, not 12.

Kevin Lawrence  16:17

Not the 47 page deck, the CFO has no and not even the 15 minutes on the one page that the people would want to tell you it’s time short time, and often using a timer to assist.

Brad Giles  16:33

A good healthy team member doesn’t need to spend 20 minutes telling you in a subverted manner, why they’re a good, you know why they’re performing? Well. It’s just like, Yeah, I’m great. I’m executing.

Kevin Lawrence  16:48

That’s what they think they’re supposed to do. And they have the bad habit of the long update. But yes, most people like to be synced, but cultures are rode into these crazy long presentations.

Brad Giles  17:00

So when we say one to two hours in terms of timing, that depends on the size of the business and what works. But when you set the time don’t go over. So when we’re looking at the review of the numbers, or the review of the priorities, or even the collective intelligence of the customer, employee data, have a time allocated for that agenda item. And don’t go on, like we need to stick to the timings to have an effective meeting.

Kevin Lawrence  17:28

Yep. And these things need to be reset. We just updated our team’s weekly agenda, we made some tweaks to make it suit us. And we reset the time, we actually shaved 15 minutes off it which most the time that we’re able to do, but it takes discipline. And generally, the weekly meeting needs a regular tune up, you have to keep refining it to keep it working. Because when operates the same way for a long time, most companies they seem to degrade or erode. So if yours is a little rough, don’t worry about it. Pull the agenda, get a couple people to work on it, tighten it up a little bit, and reset it. And away you go and dial it back into being a great meeting again.

Brad Giles  18:08

Yeah, yeah. A good meeting closes on time. So speaking of closing, you were going to say?

Kevin Lawrence  18:31

Well, I’ll add one more point in and as you know, the person normally leads our team meetings, it’s hard to keep a meeting, it’s you got to keep a focus on it. And we have found consistently, using timers allows you to win because you get 10 people in a group. People love to share. And if you’re not reminding people of that, it will go on, people can go quick. They can go slow, and they can even go on forever. And it’s our job to manage that and keep the meeting moving. That’s why the someone calls running the meeting, not observing the meeting. Okay, well, let’s wrap up. So the weekly meeting we could go on about this, as Brad mentioned, as a few other episodes, you can dig into, like episode 43. The top seven Beck’s best practices for weekly meetings are 20, how to make weekly meetings more effective. The key is and we’ll go through this here is that’s one or two hours, and don’t bore people to death, please start off with something positive, to bring the team into the room and get focused, you know, we have a check in with where you’re at. And good news is are typical that we use, but there’s lots of other different ones. I prefer that one. And then you know, and basically number one is making sure we’re on track with the plan for the month. are we hitting our financials and KPIs and then going in reviewing the actual priorities and where are we at? You know, and Brad has the last seven next seven and what I do and what am I gonna do? Or you could do you know Your Progress sucks. And what’s next? That’s a very quick 10 or 15 minute review of the company level goals. And, you know, Brad’s case, he likes to even go into the executive or team level goals. But I do want to grab last couple there.

Brad Giles  20:13

Yeah. And so once we’ve reviewed quarterly priorities, we move on to customer employee data. And that may be a little bit less when you don’t have the sophistication of the qualitative and the quantitative systems at the beginning. But this is best practice. If you don’t have net promoter, if you don’t have enps starts up people, people for Q, maybe start monthly, or maybe start, what have you just saying, What have you heard? What have you heard out in the marketplace? So then we move on to collective intelligence. And that’s where we either have a presentation from someone and or we collate the items in the carpark that we collect through the weekly meeting. Of course, we’ve done episode 58 on collective intelligence, you can dig deeper into that. What a good chat, Kevin, we do love the importance of the weekly meeting, because we know that’s where the real traction happens. And if you have to start somewhere, this is the spot in terms of execution that can make the biggest, biggest difference.

Kevin Lawrence  21:22

You’ve got 13 weeks to make sure you achieve your most important goals in the company. And this is the key value driver of getting those done, keeping us aligned and making sure we move ahead. All right. Well, thanks for listening. This is the Growth Whisperers podcast with Kevin and Brad. You know, we both have newsletters that we share every week in addition to other resources. So to learn more about Brad and how he can help you and get his newsletter evolution partners.com.au And for myself in our firm, Lawrence and Co again, you can get our newsletter or other resources there. We’d love to help you just go to Lawrence and co.com Hope you have a great week, and that your weekly meeting is also great.