Call them what you will, staff meetings, team meetings … they are meetings and therefore inherently predisposed to a lot of opinions trending toward classifying them as awful. The reason for this overwhelming sentiment is there are more examples of bad meetings than good meetings in the world. There are 1000s of articles and blogs that can tell you how to have better meetings. Here at Koan, we have a single suggestion to help you have the best staff meeting ever:
Spend less time on tactical topics and more time on strategic topics.
That seems simple, but here's how to do this in a way that actually works.
1. Capture updates before the meeting.
Each week, prompt each member of your team to answer a few key questions that surface the highs and lows that truly matter:
What are the important things you got done last week?
2. Start the meeting allowing everyone to read each other’s updates.
The way that Koan captures everyone’s status makes it super quick to read each other’s updates. Regardless of how you capture everyone’s updates, we suggest allocating 10 minutes of your hour staff meeting to this step. By using meeting time for “prep,” your team will appreciate the respect for their time, plus the information will be fresh in everyone’s mind.
During these 10 minutes, encourage team members to react to each other’s updates with built-in emojis (if you are using Koan), leave comments, and note anything they feel the team should discuss during the remainder of the staff meeting.
3. Spend the majority of the meeting digging in.
Now that everyone is on the same page with the current status of their teams’ goals, as well as the individual work of their teammates, the real discussions can begin. Use the remainder of your staff meeting to then discuss:
Any questions that arose whilst reading each other’s reflections
Progress toward completing goals, why things are or are not on track
Review key health metrics to check-in on team performance
During this portion of the meeting, while discussing goal progress, you can orient the discussion by projecting Koan’s key result summary table and sorting by confidence rating. For example:
From here, you can dive into specific key results to see the details behind the ratings:
As you dive deep into a more strategic conversation, be prepared to:
Let hard conversations happen, offering reassurance that it’s okay to talk about such things. Pausing to also celebrate the good can help make harder conversations feel more natural.
Remind your team there is no place for blame, that this is all about helping each other reach common goals and it’s okay that things go off track.
Be sure conversations end with either a solution or the next step to identify the solution.
Push irrelevant topics to the side to keep the team focused and the meeting productive.
End with a summary, next steps, and a thank you. Thanking your team for spending this kind of energy is a small, but powerful gesture.
By running staff meetings this way, some of our customers have reported the following to be true for their teams:
They appreciate the time held for the staff meeting instead of resenting another hour blocked from “getting work done”
They are more engaged overall, caring more about what the entire team is working on instead of just their own assignments
They find harder conversations become easier to have the more they get used to the format
They report on progress toward goals with more freedom since they find they get more help from their teammates the more honest they are about current status
Koan can’t make every meeting better, but we can definitely make your staff meetings the new standard.