The Most Critical Meeting Executives Are Ignoring
It’s the best meeting of the month and you’re missing it. I understand why. In a meeting-centric environment, your schedule may be overflowing with calls, appointments and deadlines. But there is one type of meeting you can’t skip—because your business depends on it.
Stepping out of your day-to-day
Presidents, CEO’s and CRO’s in particular spend most of their days crunching numbers, forecasting revenue, generating ideas for product innovation and market penetration, etc. They leave the ‘creative’ stuff to the marketing and sales folks, who are charged with developing the messaging and campaigns to drive the business forward. And this is the opportunity you are overlooking—to be part of the brainstorming and provide critical input that affects the direction of your organization.
Not all meetings are created equal
Executive meetings are focused on tough challenges the company faces. They can be stressful, confrontational and downright unpleasant at times. That’s the nature of our roles as leaders. They are about problems.
In joining the creative meetings, I realized meetings can actually be fun. Yes, I said fun. We are currently in a series of discussions focused on our sales and marketing approach—from sales tactics and processes to marketing messaging. And I believe the path we are heading down will separate us in the market and result in exponential growth in the industry. Why would I ever choose not to be a part of those discussions? I admit, these meetings get my blood pumping, my creative juices flowing and I eagerly anticipate the exchange of ideas that may change the trajectory of our company. But this type of meeting is not without its challenges.
Setting the boundaries
When executives think about ‘creative’ meetings, they envision a free-flowing exchange of thoughts that can turn into hours of discussion with no real resolution. Those are NOT the kinds of meetings executives want to be a part of. But we can meld the two meeting styles into one when we apply a structure to the process and hold everyone accountable for specific outcomes.
One individual is responsible for the meeting each week and is charged with coming to the table well-prepared with an agenda, the specific outcome we need to achieve and an outline of the necessary steps to get there. And most importantly, there is a hard stop at the one-hour mark. No exceptions.
The meeting owner doesn’t simply present the agenda—this person must consistently ‘herd the cats’ and keep everyone on topic, moving towards the objective. It isn’t always easy, as our enthusiasm sometimes gets the best of us! But that’s why this hour is my favorite hour of the week. It’s productive, energetic and collaborative, and it directly impacts how our company will reach our goals.
Just do it.
Executive meetings are rarely (if ever) described as ‘fun’. So I challenge each of you to step outside your typical role and try working with your team in a positive way to better your company. Even if the meetings aren’t going to fundamentally change your business, join in anyways. Your team will see a different side of you, which can drive an even greater sense of camaraderie—which can’t be anything but positive for the future of your company.
Do you attend any meetings that you really enjoy? I’d love to hear about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.