Communication, both down into your teams and between your team members, at the lowest level, is an important cog in the business. Whilst the context to seeking feedback from the team lies mainly in one-on-one sessions, keeping the team involved in other things including, updates on business goals, KPI’s, procedure training and system changes, just to name a few, should be done in set meetings with a clear agenda and purpose.
When you consider the meeting cycle, there is a hierarchy in the format of each meeting in the cycle. Each meeting has a purpose that complements the next. The cycle includes, an annual team planning meeting, a quarter alignment meeting, monthly goal updates and weekly team meetings. Let’s walk through the purpose of each and identify their role in the meeting cycle.
The meeting cycle
The annual team planning meeting should be used as a business planning and goal setting meeting. I would encourage this to be a full day, offsite, meeting in an environment that encourages the team to share and collaborate. The purpose of this meeting is to share the business strategy and set initiatives and goals around how the team will achieve these initiatives, and what resources will be needed. Business OKR’s (Objectives and Key Results) will be set as part of this meeting. Individual KPI’s, (Key Performance Indicators) at the lower level, will be set during your monthly one-on-ones with each team member. The purpose of this meeting is to set the landscape for the coming year and ensure the team has buy-in on the agency’s strategy and objectives.
The quarterly alignment meeting can be either a half day or full day meeting. If it is a full day, I would encourage a team activity in the afternoon or a guest speaker to wow the team. This will help soften the day and build camaraderie amongst the team. The purpose of this meeting is to update the team on the progress of the goals set out in your annual team planning meeting. It is also important to celebrate the wins of the business, and those individuals involved in these wins. You would also use this meeting to plan the execution of the business strategy for the next quarter. If resources need to change for the second quarter push, this would be the time to introduce these. For example, if quarter two included a substantial increase in the agency’s marketing presence, then any extra resources needed to do this should be announced.
Monthly goal updates are crucial to ensure momentum is maintained in the business objectives for each quarter, and to ensure you are on track to meet those objectives. Monthly waypoints are a natural way to breakup the agency’s yearly goals. This is about the right frequency to catch any misalignment with the business objectives and to realign the team to the agency’s strategic plan. Any longer than this may allow the team to drift too far from focus, causing a longer lag in realignment. Monthly goal updates are also a great time to celebrate smaller individual wins within the agency and reward those that have contributed to these.
Weekly team meetings should be broken up into more specialists groups. This helps keep the meeting focused on a tighter agenda, making it quicker and more efficient. The team will exhaust if they are forced to attend to many meetings that they don’t feel involved in, or have the opportunity to contribute to. You will find a natural line in these smaller groups, but for a small to medium size agency, it may be split between sales, property management and growth. Not only use these meetings to drive and celebrate lower level KPI’s, but also use it to drive lower level initiatives that are needed to achieve the overall business objectives. For example, your days on market may have blown out. Use these meetings to identify these problems quickly and apply resources to remedy them. I would also use these meetings to address specialised group training for members of this group. It may be a new procedure or updating an old procedure. These smaller groups are great for these specialised activities.
Overall, the structure is not set in stone. The theme here is not to make the team attend meetings, but to ensure that you spend time with your team each year to plan the year ahead. This will ensure that the agency objectives and goals are driven down into the more frequent meetings, which will ensure alignment and successful execution of these. It is of the highest importance, that this is a platform, to share and update the team at a frequency that is productive but not annoying.