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Team Meeting Strategy

The team meeting.

It’s one of those necessary evils of most organizations.

No one truly enjoys them but it’s also critical for teammates to get an idea of where you are at regularly. Whether you are a start-up with 3 employees or a conglomerate with thousands of employees across multiple offices and departments, this is one of those ubiquitous things you do.

For as long as I’ve had these meetings I’ve heard people complain about them. But the simple truth is I don’t know of a better alternative. How else are you going to know who is doing what, what needs to  get done, and how we are doing as a team?

Forms of team meetings

I break it down into two distinct styles:

  1. The sit down – Get the coffee, even the shortest version of this is an hour.
  2. The stand up – Get the coffee, but we aren’t going to sit so it’ll only last 10-15 minutes.

Style of team meetings

I break it down into three types:

  1. Report to the boss - Everything is presented to or directed at the boss, who responds and digs deeper as needed.
  2. Catch up with the team - Everything is directed at the team, those who need to ask more questions do so.
  3. Hybrid - Most team meetings are this, there’s a little bit of reporting to the boss, and hopes of collaboration.

Adam’s rules for team meetings

  1. Be prepared – Typically these happen weekly. If you don’t show up ready you don’t take your job seriously.
  2. It’s a briefing, keep it brief – When I show up I want to have my facts handy, I try to stay on point, and I want to plainly communicate the whole truth. Facts, numbers, problems.
  3. Don’t hide failures - I like to make sure I communicate where I’m struggling, where my problems are, etc. Hiding that only leads to bad things.
  4. Open to questions – Even when I screw up, I make sure to ask if anyone has any follow-up questions.
  5. If you aren’t the team lead, don’t take over - I don’t like it when someone dominates this meeting that isn’t in charge of the meeting.
  6. If you are the team lead, moderate well – When I’m running these meetings I make sure I keep them moving. I’m never afraid to interrupt and say, “That’s a sidebar, let’s meet later.” Or “it would be better if you two just talked about that and reported back next time.
  7. The meter is running - In my mind, I calculate the hourly rate of these types of meetings. If there are 10 people who average $30/hour, are we getting $300/hour worth of benefit here?

What about you? What are your rules for team meetings?

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