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How to Maximize Your Company's Meetings

Ken Gosnell
Ken Gosnell

As the CEO, there are five types of meetings you need to regularly conduct.

The time that a leader spends with their team is the most crucial time that happens in an organization. The information discussed in the meetings and the decisions made in them have far-reaching impacts for both the employees and the organization. Wise leaders enhance their leadership by mastering both one-on-one meetings and team meetings.

Unfortunately, many businesses have unproductive and unsuccessful meetings. A meeting that lacks purpose and is poorly run becomes a distraction and an unempowering event; on the other hand, a productive meeting can lead to breakthroughs.  

Every business and organization conducts some form of meetings. However, does your organization have the right meetings at the right times? Too many leaders treat every meeting the same, but in reality, there are at least five different types of meetings that every organization needs to regularly hold and that the CEO needs to master.  

5 critical meetings for your company that you must master

CEOs and managers who schedule a plethora of meetings often think they are productive when, in reality, they are not. Meetings do not make an organization effective; effective meetings make an organization effective.

In fact, organizations and leaders lose effectiveness by holding ineffective and unproductive meetings. Employees lose interest and become disengaged and frustrated with the information that is shared or covered in the meeting. Additionally, when teams are frequently engaged in unproductive meetings, it prevents employees from doing the productive work to build a thriving organization.  

Effective organizations and leaders conduct five types of meetings. Because there is a clear purpose behind each type of meeting, employees are more productive, teams are more focused, and the organization can achieve better overall results. 

1. Accountability meetings 

The most productive meetings are purposeful. Team members understand the purpose of the meeting and the information that should be shared in the meeting.

Accountability meetings are a way to enhance clarity and for team members to be in agreement on projects and tasks so things get done on time and under budget. If you are uncomfortable with the term "accountability," call them "clarity" meetings instead. Teams and organizations need clarity to succeed.  

Every great leader should establish accountability/clarity meetings where they have an opportunity to see how well a team member or a task force is completing their assignment and resolve roadblocks. These meetings can be brief, but they must be scheduled at regular times throughout a task or project. Meetings can be a quick stand-up or brief check-in where employees share key updates or issues that are essential to the success of the project.  

Accountability/clarity meetings can be held weekly or, if a task or project is urgent, daily. These meetings don't have to be long, perhaps 30 minutes. The purpose of these quick check-ins is to channel a team's time and energy to complete or troubleshoot critical portions of the project or task, not to dilute those efforts with a long, unfocused, unproductive meeting.

2. Inspirational meetings 

People need encouragement. Every CEO and leader should consider themselves the chief encouragement officer of their company. Work can be difficult and laborious, and for people and teams to do their best, they need regular encouragement and support. Leaders often neglect encouraging others. Companies that want to inspire employees to do their best work schedule inspirational meetings with their teams.  

The leader who makes it a priority to inspire their team is often the leader who improves the performance of the organization. It's hard to execute poorly when the team is inspired. CEOs and leaders often want employees to be self-motivated, and good employees are self-motivated, but even the most driven employee needs to hear words of praise and encouragement from the CEO.  

Inspirational meetings can be quarterly, and they can be 30 minutes in length. If your team is on the verge of burnout or you're experiencing an intensely stressful time in the organization, perhaps you want to hold these meetings monthly to breathe life back into the organization and employees.  

3. Exploratory meetings 

Leaders who desire breakthroughs for their organization hold exploratory meetings where new ideas can be openly discussed. There is an old proverb that states, "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed."

Preparing well for exploratory meetings is critical. Tasks such as sending out a meeting agenda, helping employees understand the problem the team is trying to solve (or the result that is to be produced), and allowing plenty of advance time for employees to brainstorm ideas go a long way toward producing great results.  

People often have great ideas but need one person who believes in them (who they can trust not to pass judgment) to bring out those ideas. The impactful leader can empower individuals and teams by asking for their involvement in solving problems and creating solutions that the leader would have never discovered on their own.  

Exploratory meetings don't have to be frequent. Depending on your organization, perhaps a biannual schedule is optimal. This frequency can increase when smaller teams are tasked with developing and implementing new solutions or processes. A suggested duration for exploratory meetings is three hours.    

4. Educational meetings

Leaders often have to disperse information, and a wise strategy is to do that in a group setting rather than individually. A group meeting allows employees to process critical information at the same time. These educational, informational sessions are important for the leader because they won't have to repeat information. Another benefit is that it prevents misinformation from dispersing throughout the organization. Group settings also allow for good Q&A sessions. Usually, more than one person has the same question.

Companies should regularly conduct educational meetings – perhaps as a Monday morning kickoff or as a midweek update. You can increase the frequency when you need to communicate more information to keep teams moving to complete a project or if your organization is implementing a significant change. These meetings don't have to be long – 15 minutes is often sufficient.    

5. Mentoring meetings 

An effective leader schedules blocks of time with key people for one-on-one strategic sessions to enhance clarity, discover ideas, create synergy, and build cohesion and collaboration.

Every successful leader who is looking to develop a good succession plan should focus on mentoring and training the next-level leaders in their organization. Too many leaders expect growth from their team members but never do anything to help them grow.  

Often leaders feel like no one in the organization has a big enough vision or understands various aspects of how the business is performing or not performing. A CEO might feel isolated from their manager with their ideas, dreams, desires and tasks, and they adopt a solitary leadership style as a result.

Effective leaders who have built successful enterprises have learned the art of bringing others along by engaging them with strategic sessions, helping them understand what the leader wants and where the leader is taking the organization.  

Mentoring meetings could be held monthly or on a schedule that aligns with the CEO's calendar. These meetings can last one hour with a clearly defined agenda that includes the key information or concepts to discuss.

Every organization has meetings. Some succeed with their meetings; others do not. The organization that hopes to grow focuses on making its meetings meaningful and effective, and the leader who seeks to empower their team enhances their leadership by mastering these five types of meetings.

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Ken Gosnell
Ken Gosnell Member
Ken Gosnell is the CEO and Servant Leader of CEO Experience (CXP). His company serves CEOS and leaders by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations that enable to go further faster. Ken is the publisher of the CXP CEO Executive Guide that is designed to help leaders learn faster by encouraging to give themselves a monthly learning retreat. His monthly CEO retreats have helped thousands of CEOs and their leadership teams to enhance strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an author, keynote speaker, executive coach, and strategic partner with CEOs and successful business leaders. Connect with @ken_gosnell on Twitter.