I recently had the opportunity to observe one of my Vistage member’s company meetings. Over the years that I have been working with this insurance company, they have grown from a steady family company to a managed-growth company with a vision to be the insurance partner of choice. They are recognized for their innovative products, highly skilled associates and a standard of client care and service that has reshaped their industry.
However, a vision is just a vision until you put goals and plans in place to realize the vision. And as a company grows it gets harder to keep everyone aligned to the vision while maintaining your culture. One of the ways they have been able to grow, and actually strengthen their culture and progress toward their vision, was to first build commitment from all of the partners that company culture was critical to their growth. When they had full commitment, quarterly meetings became a critical communications vehicle.
During the one hour meeting it was clear to me that these quarterly meetings are well thought out and executed. They are designed to keep people focused on the future.
When you meet with your company, make sure your meetings have the following components:
- Quarterly theme: Each quarter, the team chooses a theme to keep everyone focused on moving closer to the company’s vision and one in which unites the team around core objectives.
- Direction: Company leaders communicate the quarterly progress made compared to the goals set in place, and this includes financial goals. They remind the team of long-term goals looking out at least five years, the BHAG (Big Hair Audacious Goal) and how the progress made the previous quarter gets them closer. And finally, leaders talk about company-wide changes that may be ahead that will impact the team and why they will be important to attaining the vision.
- Inclusion: The meeting is about the company not just you, the business owner. Make other key employees part of the agenda. It allows them to share their specific team successes and progress, and provides them with another opportunity to develop as leaders.
- Guests: Invite valuable customers and vendors to observe. These are individuals external to your company who not only play an important role in your success but also clearly align with your company values and culture. Make sure to share a story about each guest and how they meet these criteria. It makes them feel welcome and brings them closer to your team. Their success is your success.
- Inspiration: Before wrapping up the meeting, bring back the theme of the quarter and share a specific story that reinforces the theme for everyone in the room. Ultimately employees will know when they leave the room that they are working for a company that is committed to winning, and that they are fully engaged in helping to attain the company’s vision.
An investment of four hours a year in quarterly meetings can, when properly planned and executed, provide your employees with the boost needed to continue to meet and exceed company goals. The meetings will demonstrate to them your commitment to the vision, to them and to your company mission.