Licensee BadgeTraining Badge
Submitted by peterlevy on


My directs claim that the time spent preparing for and in our weekly staff meeting is taking away from other responsibilities, and is burdensome. They have suggested meeting every other week. I'm inclined to not make the change, but am wondering whether I should make a different accommodation.

The context is, I'm a newly appointed CEO from outside the company. I have been in office for just shy of one month, and have been running O3s and Weekly Staffs. Previously there was a monthly managers meetings that would take up most of a day (and that was largely not organized according to MT's Effective Meetings protocols). In this meeting all projects etc., were updated. I have removed that meeting from the calendar.

At our last weekly, one of the managers said that he thought the meeting would work better fortnightly. There was some agreement from the other managers - probably 4 out of 6. I'd also heard the same sentiment (less directly stated) in an O3 from one of the 4.

After some discussion, during which I restated that the main purpose of the meeting was communication, and that frequency was a valuable component, I advised that I would consider the proposal and we'll discuss again at the next meeting.

Thinking about it, I have come to the conclusion that I do not want to push it out to fortnightly. But I am thinking about making the concession of changing the managers' briefing requirements to alternate meetings, i.e., they would have to deliver a briefing every other meeting. This would be a minimum–if they have items that are topical in any given week they would be added to the agenda even if it's not their turn.

But I'm actually not sure what I'm achieving here with this compromise, other than taking some of the pressure of them in terms of preparation time. Which may be OK, for what it's worth. But are we losing too much of the communication benefit, and am I 'enabling' them to not manage their priorities as effectively as they ought?

Anxious for any insights & opinions.

tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I also have weekly staff meetings with O3s. Keep the weekly staff meetings--if you have staff meetings on Tuesdays (for example) perhaps have the fifth Tuesday of the month "off" so no one has to give a briefing. :-)

I have a 15-20 minute "Around the Horn" agenda item in all our staff meetings. Each person, in turn, highlights current projects or recent accomplishments that do not require extensive discussion (about 3-4 minutes per person.)  This component of my weekly staff meetings keeps everyone apprised of activity in other departments. For example, we avoid service disruptions when another department is facing a deadline or an important task. By doing the around the horn briefings the entire team has knowledge of activity throughout the institution. 

If an item in the "Around the Horn" briefing requires extensive discussion we place it in the "parking lot." Otherwise we schedule a follow-up meeting or add the discussion to next week's agenda. 

For our staff meetings, stand-up briefings are not required of every person on the team at every meeting. Such briefings are usually background for extended problem-solving discussions as needed.



Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Don't change a thing.  You're doing the right thing.  They have no idea about the needs of a CEO, or the value it brings you.  If they DID, one of THEM would be CEO.  Amazing...the board, or whomever, goes outside the company, and they're resisting THIS CHANGE?  

If the board goes outside, it's a serious statement about the abilities of those who now report to you.  You're SUPPOSED to change things (though clearly not too fast).

Boggles my mind.  Seriously.  They oughta never get promoted for the political silliness of their suggestion.

But okay, what do you SAY...?

"Thanks guys.  I appreciate your concerns.  I've decided to keep it at a week.  There's lots you know and I don't, and I appreciate your willingness to keep me and everyone else in the loop for the foreseeable future."

Do you have the ability to see their calendars?  I'd ask to see the previous week's and the next week's schedule of each in their next one on ones.  I bet there are SWATHS of blank space... or at least significant efficiencies available....

430jan's picture

If you are just on the job a month maybe they are doing some pushing back on the new meetings to see if you really do value them? It probably WAS much easier on them with a monthly meeting (especially poorly run) because they didn't look at the content they were going to deliver until the day before. Weekly meetings hold them accountable, but at this point they probably just see the extra work and not the results.

I know that Mark says hold everything the same when you start a new management position until you settle in, but you are into it now, I can't see any turning back.

I bet they will be better behaved when they 1) Know you are committed and 2) begin to get the positive feedback that you will be giving them due to their results.


peterlevy's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I appreciate all the advice.

Mark, the tone of your reply was particularly helpful and heartening, since I now realize that I was allowing this development to give rise to self-doubt (somehow I'm reminded of the umbrella story).

Thanks again.


peterlevy's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I delivered the decision to keep the weekly frequency, much in the manner that Mark recommended, thanking them for expressing their concerns, but the value to me was so high that I was keeping things as they were.

I also delivered some guidance on the content of their briefings that I hope will allow them to 'de-stress' a bit just in case (as I suspect) they were getting hung up on form over substance.

There has not been any pushback of which I am aware. In fact, perhaps as a corollary, one of the managers has since taken steps to bring one of her department meetings (that had been known to run for 3+ hours) down to a more focussed, 2 hour meeting.

That's a great result from where I sit, and goes to show that good management practices, i.e. MT methods, can have a ripple effect that improves the organization beyond its immediate application.

Thanks again for the responses.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Glad you're getting value from our work; it's a privilege to serve you.