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Running High Performance Leadership Meetings

A lot has been written about how much time meetings can waste. At TradeGecko we’ve been working on improving our leadership meetings to not just be check-ins and status updates. For many companies meetings are one of the most expensive investments we make, status reports we can do over email.

Here is the framework we’ve settled on for running high performing meetings. It was 100% taught to me by my amazing exec coach from Reboot.ioKhalid Halim

The cadence

Everyone brings the most difficult problem they’re facing and spends 6–7 minutes presenting and then discussing with the rest of the team. Taking a leaf out of the Paypal / Peter Thiel book of focusing on the “one thing”

Here’s my problem, what I’m thinking about doing to solve that problem, what am I missing, what are my blindspots?

Examples:

“Hey my OKR for this quarter is XYZ, and here’s where I’m blocked, here’s where I’m going to miss it.”

“Here’s my problem, here is what I’m thinking about doing to solve that problem, what am I missing, what are my blindspots?”

  1. Marketing might say we’re pushing this feature
  2. Sales might say we need this other feature
  3. Product person then needs to say thank you sales, thank you marketing. Here’s what I’m thinking about doing with the roadmap

Everyone should leave the leadership meeting feeling like you’ve moved the hardest problem forward. You should leave feeling like you’ve solved a hard problem or have moved the problem a bit further to resolution.

The rules

  • CEO will be refereeing the meeting by protecting the individual’s domain.
  • The way we know this is not going well is if we think we’re experts in others domains, we’re voting or we see status reports.
  • The only way that working through can go wrong is if the some other leader thinks they’re the subject matter leadership\ over that leadership’s domain
  • What I need from you in that meeting is your thoughts and your thinking
  • NO STATUS UPDATES, NO VOTING
  • Everyone bring their most important problem to the meeting
  • One problem each, 6/7 minutes / person. On a timer.
  • You’re not allowed to give advice, you’re allowed to ask questions. Don’t say “This is going to piss of the customers”, You can say “Have you thought about how this might affect customers”
  • No fixing other peoples problems.
  • Honest and open-ended questions
  • Commitment not consensus, highlighting blindspots. We need 100% commitment but we don’t need 100% agreement. While the exec team might disagree behind closed doors, after they have left the meeting, everyone is of one mind of where to go next.
  • Shared values & Shared commitment
  • Here’s what I think, but I trust you completely to make the call

“They are one mind, by the time they get to set. They disagree for months leading up to the shoot”

Retrospectives

If we have a really tough week and something went sideways the weekly meeting might change into a retrospective. A retrospective is not the place to blame, but to share the facts, and what do we want to put in place to protect ourselves against that.

Communicating the rollout of this to your leadership team

  1. We’re going to run it like this for the next 4 weeks and do a retrospective
  2. This should be the hardest thing we do because we’re working through difficult problems

To complement the above weekly leadership check-in we also have a few other processes, like:

Status Report Slide-deck

Each team lead will update on Monday. A slide for each team, to be read before the leadership meeting (and shared company wide).

6 weekly Strategic Meeting

  1. OKR retrospectives
  2. Are we tracking against our OKRs, Our Vision, Mission, Strategy & Values
  3. Makes sure we’re thinking about things strategically
  4. What are we doing as a company, where are we focused
  5. Do we want to build it, why

Written by

Empower SMB Businesses. Aspiring Homo Universalis, Value Investor, Founder, Inventor, Engineer. CEO at TradeGecko a SaaS company HQ'd in Singapore.

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