Innovation Junkies Podcast

2.37 Meeting & Review Cadence for 100% Accountability

Jeff Standridge discusses how you can create 100% accountability in your organization through consistent, structured reviews and meetings.

Jeff Standridge (Intro):

Are you ready to change the trajectory of your business and see massive improvements? Each week we’ll share strategies and practices to generate sustained results and long lasting success in your organization. Welcome to the Innovation Junkies Podcast. 

Jeff Standridge:

Hey guys, Jeff Standridge here and welcome to another episode of the Innovation Junkies Podcast. I’m going solo again today and I’m in a new setting, so welcome to my surroundings here.

I do want to talk a little bit about how we establish this concept of 100% accountability. You know, we talked about this culture of excellence and we talked about strong leadership and clarity and focus and engaged and committed team members and 100% accountability and empowering communication in an agile organization or organizational agility. But I want to hone in on that 100% accountability and kind of share with you an example kind of meeting and review cadence that you can build around the work that you’ve defined.

So we’ve built out our strategic growth plan. We’ve made sure that we have a mission, vision, values, long term target, short term goals, quarterly priorities, key performance indicators with weekly goals. And now all of those are assigned out every target, every goal, every quarterly priority, every key performance indicator, and every key action has one person’s name by it.

Now, that doesn’t mean that that person is responsible for doing everything to bring that priority to fruition. But they are responsible for making sure that priority gets brought to fruition. So if there’s someone else that needs to be involved, they have the responsibility because they own it. They have the responsibility of bringing the right people together to make that thing happen, whatever that thing is.

Secondly, when we’re moving and having this meeting cadence and we’re moving down the path of talking about are you on track or are you off track, did you hit or did you miss? There are only two answers, yes or no on track. Off track, hit, missed, done, not done. And so there’s 100% accountability. There’s zero excuses.

If you didn’t achieve something during the timeframe that was committed, then it’s going to become an issue that the entire team is going to talk about how we solve. You celebrate the hits, you celebrate the wins, you take corrective actions against any of the misses, and you have a regular meeting that occurs at the same time on the same day, every week that occurs for the same amount of time, 60 minutes or 90 minutes.

And you need to decide which those are. Our team has decided that we’re going to have a 60 minute meeting because we’re going to tackle a large portion of our issues offline in a couple of different ways, and we’ll talk about that a little more in a couple of moments. So let’s start at the top. We have our annual planning meeting where we come in and we establish the mission, the vision, the values, the long term target, short term goals, key performance indicators in the quarterly priorities.

And then quarterly we’re going to come together and we’re going to review and refine those short term goals because we’re a fourth of the way in at the end of Q1 or a fourth of the way into the year. So we’re gonna look and see are those short term goals still on track? Do we need to make any refinements to them?

And hopefully we don’t, but if we do, we actually make those refinements then we’re going to actually review the past quarter’s performance. So at the start of Q2, we’re going to review did we hit or did we miss all of our Q1 priorities, our quarterly rocks? Did we hit or did we miss all of our key performance indicators on a weekly basis?

Do we have any outstanding issues that need to be addressed? So we’re going to review our past short term goals and our and our quarterly performance. Then we’re going to review and refine the key performance indicators and make any changes to the scorecard that need to be made. And we’re going to establish new quarterly priorities for the upcoming quarter.

In this instance, quarter two, and we’re going to assign those out appropriately and what have you. Then on a weekly basis, we’re going to come together and we’re going to review any operational updates that things that everyone on the team need to know. We’re going to do any celebrations and recognitions in our team. We like to recognize people against the core values.

So congratulations, Sally, really appreciate you. You really stepped up and took action and you went the extra mile. That’s two of our core values. And you did that this week in this way. And I just wanted to recognize you for that. So 5 minutes or so of that, then we’re going to review our key performance indicators and whether we hit or miss the weekly goal, we review our quarterly priorities, whether they’re on track or off track. We’re going to review any key actions from the prior meeting where they are done or not done, and then we’re going to establish any new key issues in which we clarify the issue. We prioritize the entire list of issues, and then we triage and decide how we’re going to solve them. So that’s kind of a structure in terms of how all these things come together.

And then we actually have a monthly meeting as well, which I’ll talk about in a couple of moments that’s focused purely on tackling any outstanding issues. So our meeting cadence looks something like this, and this is our weekly cadence. We’ve chosen a 60 minute meeting. Geno Wickman and his team at Traction suggest a 90 minute meeting. But that didn’t really work for us.

And so we’ve adapted that time frame for our particular needs in terms of what works actually for us. And this is how we did that. So we start off with our good news celebrations and recognition and we will light 5 minutes for that. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes, sometimes it doesn’t, but we don’t go over that. Number two, we talk about any customer or employee headlines. This is really to raise up any any issues that are existing out there that we need to identify. And we don’t talk about the issues in any of these situations, in any of these agenda item categories. When an issue comes up, we document the issue and we move it down to our key issues list. And I’ll talk about that issue list in a couple of moments.

So after we talk about employee and customer headlines, then we talk, we just do a round robin just around the room. Everyone gets a chance to talk about their operational issues, heads up only things that everybody in the room needs to know. Hey, folks, don’t forget, I’m going to be traveling next week and I’m going to be out of the office. I’ll still be contactable, but these two days I’m actually taking vacation. Hey, team, don’t forget I’m going to be onsite with a client next week. I won’t be contactable because I’ll really be heads down in sessions with those clients on Monday and Tuesday. Hey, don’t forget we have this event coming up. So operational and heads up items that everyone on the team needs to know about. And we are like somewhere between five and 10 minutes for that. 

It’s at this part of the agenda. So we’ve now spent 15 minutes maximum for this part of the meeting. Now we move into the actual performance review section. So we’re reviewing our performance against number one. The key actions that were done are that were assigned from the last meeting. Every single person or rather every single key action has a person’s name attached to it. And so we say, were those done or not done? There are only two answers that were done or they were not done. If there was any action from the last meeting that was not done, we move it down to the issues list and add it to that list.

We look at our scorecard, all of our key performance indicators for the week. Did we hit or did we miss? If we hit them, we don’t even talk about them. Same thing with the key actions. If they were done, we don’t even talk about them. We only raise up the key actions that are not done or the key performance indicators that were missed.

If it was missed, we move it down to the issues list. And oh, by the way, every key performance indicator has a single person who’s responsible for it. So they’re going to be the one that’s going to be talking about it when we get to the issues list, Then we look at our quarterly priorities. Are we on track? Are we off track? Again, only two answers. We don’t talk about the ones that are on track. We only talk about the ones that are off track. And so that’s really the first half of our meeting or so. 

We’ve now spent about 30 minutes in the meeting for our 60 minute meeting, and now we establish the next 25 minutes to focus on tackling the issues. So we now have this running list of key issues. Some of those key issues were left over from the last week that we didn’t get to solve, but now we’ve added two or three new issues to the list. So we clarified the new issues that we’ve added to the list. We know exactly what the issue is, exactly what the problem is we’re trying to solve. Then we reprioritize that list within the context of the carryover items from the last week or two and the new items we’ve added. And we pick the top item on the list. That’s most critical for us to solve right now. And we clarify it, we discuss it and we solve it. Period. We clarify it, we discuss it and we solve it.

And so we do that for the very first item. We do it for the next highest priority item, perhaps the third highest priority item, and we get it through as many of those issues on the list until about 25 minutes, 20 or 25 minutes into the agenda. And then it’s time to shift to wrap up, because we know that we’re 5 minutes away from actually ending the meeting.

So at 5 minutes before the time that the meeting’s supposed to end. No matter where we are on the list, if we can go ahead and quickly solve the item that we’re talking about now, we solve it. We assign the solution to someone and then we move on to the wrap up any next steps in key actions that need to be assigned and then we adjourn the meeting.

Now, the reason we’ve gone to an hour meeting instead of a 90 minute meeting is because we have found that there are a couple of other, sometimes better, ways to tackle our issues. And so the only ones that we tackle in that 20 minute segment of the agenda, the only ones that we tackle are the ones that are critical that we need to tackle right now, solve them right now, and they need the input of the majority of the people on the team.

If it’s an individual item, say it’s an issue where someone missed a quarterly priority because of something that’s within their control or they just need to clarify with me or with another member of our team, then we let them take that offline and solve that on their own. As long as there’s a commitment that it solve by the next week, they update the running document of the issues that it’s been solved, what the solution was, and they update us at the next meeting.

So that’s one way is we let two or more people take it offline and solve it with each other because it only involves them, perhaps. The other way that we do it is that we actually establish a monthly tackle the issues meeting. So we have a monthly one hour meeting set aside with the entire team where we only focus on reprioritizing the issues, clarifying them and then tackling them in that meeting.

And we get as many of those done as we can. And so that lessens the need for us to do it on a weekly basis. And so those three ways, we either tackle them in the weekly meeting, if it’s critical, it must include the majority of the folks in the room. We do a monthly tackle the issues meeting and then we allow two or more people to take issues off that are isolated and to solve them between themselves as long as they report back.

So that’s the example of kind of this structural cadence for annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly planning and accountability management, and then a sample weekly agenda for you to use. Nothing gets done unless the work gets done. And so there’s no benefit in planning unless you’re actually willing to do the work that’s associated with the execution of the plan.

And we feel like this agenda really helps us in that regard. Take it, adapt it for your needs. The point is that you actually establish kind of a weekly cadence for addressing those issues and keeping everyone abreast of the progress. This has been another episode of the Innovation Junkies Podcast. I appreciate you for joining. See you next time.

Jeff Amerine (Outro):

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