Pulled in 100 Directions? Establish Meeting Rhythms

05/02/2023 | Roger and Susie Engelau
  • Are people coming to you constantly throughout the day?Rope being pulled in different directions
  • No time to work ON the business instead of IN it?
  • Way too many e-messages and texts between you and your team?

Do you feel like the hub of a bicycle wheel with every employee a spoke that has to go through you to get their daily job done?

It’s frustrating for you and your employees. And when people have to stop work to ask questions, those minutes add up to hours and dollars.

Our recommendation – designate a specific and regular time and place for all those questions.

Establish a meeting rhythm and eliminate all those interruptions.

We recommend a set of regularly scheduled daily (yes, daily but only 5 – 10 minutes), weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual meetings. You probably think we’re crazy advocating so many meetings.

We take the phrase “meeting rhythm” from Verne Harnish’s Mastering the Rockefeller Habits where he said that establishing a routine of meetings will “set you free.” It’s true. IN our business coaching, we’ve found that, hands down, the most successful business owners are the ones who adopt meeting rhythms.

Keeping to a meeting rhythm is how you execute the plans on your single sheet business plan and quarterly action plan and turn them into reality. If the SSBP and the QAP are the brains of your company, your meeting rhythm is the heartbeat of your company.

When we say meeting rhythms, we’re talking about a set of specific meetings each with a precise purpose. We use a combination of Verne Harnish’s recommended meetings and Pat Lencioni’s recommended meetings from his book The Advantage to create a set of meetings for small to mid-size businesses. We made this easy-to-read Small Business Meeting Rhythm chart that lets everyone know who, what, when, and where…

Meeting Rhythm table with detailed meeting length, purpose, etc.

How Meeting Rhythms Help

Meeting rhythms are a routine that gives every single person in your company a sense of certainty. Imagine the daily life of one of your employees who’s never in a meeting with coworkers or a supervisor. As she drives to work she’s thinking about the argument she had with her teenager and the errand she’s going to run at lunch. She’s not thinking about the quarterly goals at her workplace and doesn’t necessarily even recall what today’s priorities are. She may be encountering an obstacle she doesn’t know how to get past and is hesitant to ask about. Maybe she’s waiting on someone to get an answer, a part, or a form she needs but isn’t comfortable approaching the person about it.

Now imagine that employee driving to work and, instead of worrying about those things, she has certainty that the first thing she does after clocking in and grabbing a cup of coffee is the Daily Huddle… 5 mins to gather at the coffee pot to discuss the day’s priorities, bring up obstacles and clear up any confusions about the day’s work. She has certainty that the meeting will occur, that she has a forum to stay updated on the latest company news, and that her thoughts and questions will be heard. Now imagine everyone in your company has that certainty… you have a whole company of people focused on, and even inspired about, the day’s priorities. It’s a beautiful thing.

Another beautiful thing is how a rhythm of regular meetings establishes a “cadence of accountability.” When people know there will be a meeting, they’ll be prepared to report positively in front of their peers. The meeting itself holds people accountable—so you and your leaders often don’t have to say a thing.

Meeting rhythms enable you to work through your Leadership Team. When you finish your weekly leadership team meeting, you know that your leaders will each be having a meeting with their teams so goals are discussed, analyzed, and people are mobilizing to accomplish them without your intervention or prodding.

Our business coaches can help you set up your meeting rhythm. They can also give you a sample agenda for each type of meeting and even help you and your supervisors run them.

Any way you do it, setting up a meeting rhythm and sticking to it frees up your time, eliminates interruptions, and gives everyone in your business a sense of control and input.