I ran a fast growing health care service company for several years. Each winter my management team and I would have a big bonfire to hammer out our strategy for the upcoming year.
Then, we’d go back to the office and the problem demons, time bandits, and other shiny objects distracted our attention.
We had smart strategy. What we lacked was execution.
Sound familiar? It should. A Franklin Covey study on business execution found that only 30% of companies actually reach their goals. Why? Only 15% of employees know the companies’ goals and priorities.
Those companies, like my own, lacked alignment. I resolved to fix that at my company.
So, I implemented one weekly meeting and the next year we doubled our sales.
Did this magical weekly meeting cause us to double our sales? No. Here’s what it did do: it drastically improved the execution of our strategy.
And, that’s what made us grow.
It aligned our company. Every member of our management team knew what the growth strategy was. But, very few of them could translate that strategy to an executable plan every week.
This weekly meeting brought everyone together and focused them on our goals.
Here’s How To Use One Weekly Meeting To Grow Your Business
The weekly meeting is the workhorse of your health care service company meeting schedule. It’s where you build morale, review your progress and dive deep into your goals.
Like the daily huddle, this is a meeting for your management team. In my companies, I’ve always like holding them from noon to 1:00 PM on Fridays. I also suggest you spring for lunch, if your budget will support it.
Like the huddle, this always attended by everybody, without exception.
The goals of the weekly meeting are to build on the alignment you’re creating in the daily meetings, celebrate your progress, and raise the IQ of your team through education.
Here’s the agenda:
Good News Business, Good News Personal
Everyone goes around the table and shares one really awesome insight from the week. Maybe a scheduling manager heard a really terrific compliment from a tough client. Or possibly the marketing manager finally met with the decision maker at an important referral source. Everyone must find a piece of good news to share.
Next, everyone goes around and shares one piece of personal news they’re happy about. This is a tremendous opportunity to build friendships and empathy. It’s also a good reminder that businesses are made up of people. Over the years, I’ve heard wedding announcements, new-baby-on-the-way news, and tons of other great personal news in this part of the agenda.
Like the daily huddle, the weekly meeting emphasizes the reporting of key performance indicators. In this section, your team will report the numbers that you count on a weekly basis and the summed up weekly version of the daily numbers.
Highlights and Hassles
This is an open forum that allows your team to share really great stories from the business. Encourage them to tell detailed accounts of staff that went the extra mile or clients who sung their praises. Make sure you prepare some highlights from the management team too. They need to be reminded that you’re proud of the work they’re doing too.
Whatever you do, resist the urge to allow hassles to go first. After all the highlights have been poured over (and you’ve taken lots of notes for thank you cards), then you can move on to hassles.
This is an open forum for your team to bring up issues that are really nagging at them. Perhaps there’s a persnickety client who always complains about the service. Or, maybe there’s a staff member that we think is looking for work in a hospital, which means she’ll no longer be available for a super-important client.
Your team craves predictability and reassurance. They need a vehicle to get this stuff off their chests. This is their chance. Make sure you listen, but cautiously decide where to help. This forum isn’t meant to the be the dumping station for tough problems onto your desk.
This is the section that pulls your longer-term initiatives down into a weekly update. For each weekly meeting, ask the owner of a strategic goal to prepare a ten minute presentation. In the presentation, she should include a summary of the goal, what we expect to accomplish, details of our progress to date, and what’s she’s going to do next.
This is an outstanding way to get people bought in to goals that are outside of their scope of work. You’ll be amazed at how much the billing manager has to say about the marketing manager’s goal presentation. And, your organization will be smarter and better prepared, because of the cross-pollination.
Plus / Delta
At the whiteboard, make a chart with two columns, one with a plus on top and the other with a triangle on top. Ask everyone what you all did well during the meeting and begin writing their responses in the plus column. Write them down exactly as they say them. Resist the urge to edit or respond.
After they’ve given you all the good stuff, ask what you all can do to improve the meeting next time. This gives them a safe way to critique the agenda, the numbers, or the highlights and hassles. As before, write the responses exactly as they say them. This gives you two good lists: things the group did well and things it will do well next time.
Implementing this weekly meeting is a key step in creating alignment in your health care service company. Read the entire Creating Alignment tutorial too.
Image credit: natalielucier