How Much Does a Failed Strategy Meeting Cost?Reading Time: 5 minutes
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Have you ever been in such situation? You are at a strategic meeting with top execs or heads of departments. A lot important questions are raised, many a creative solutions are discussed, and great suggestions are voiced. Everybody leaves the meeting with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
Then nothing happens.
All the ingenious ideas remain just that, incorporeal ideas. Problems stay unsettled. None of the departments implement any of the suggested experimental approaches. And you are left wondering – where did everything go wrong? Today, we’ll try to answer why this issue occurs, what threats this carries for businesses, and how to make your meetings useful again!
Why do strategy meeting decisions tend to go out the window?
This is all about human psychology. We evolved as pack animals, and a pack always has a leader. The leader is expected to, well, lead, and accept other organizational responsibilities. The latter include either completing a task themselves, or appointing a subordinate to do this.
Now, what happens when a number of people gather for a meeting? Even if they are all principal officers of the organization, due to said evolutionary background they subconsciously try to identify the leader of their temporary group. Obviously, most of the time there is none – after all, meetings are supposed to be arranged to exchange information and share thoughts, not to fight for domination.Ever been in such situation? You are at a strategic meeting with top execs. A lot important questions are raised, many a creative solutions are discussed, and great suggestions are voiced… Then nothing happens. Click To Tweet
Alas, our subconsciousness cares little about such details. What it registers is that there was no leader present, meaning there is no need to take the declared solutions and suggestions as an obligatory guideline. As a result, you get a handful of managers or top execs, each one not feeling like it’s their job to put the voiced ideas into effect. It is because intuitively they keep waiting for a leader to come into view and assign who’s responsible for which task.
How much does a strategy meeting cost?
Alright, so the meeting was in vain. That’s unfortunate and all, but nothing to be too sad about, right? Wrong! The meeting took some time. Time, as we all know, is money. And sometimes – a lot of money.
Let’s sidetrack a bit and talk about Facebook, shall we? It is quite a rich corporation, able to pay ample wages. In 2017, its top executives’ salary came to:
- CEO – $8.85M
- COO – $25.2M
- CFO – $22.43M
- CPO – $22.36M
- CTO – $22.43M
Now, imagine these people gathering to discuss strategy and planning. Taking that, on average, a person works 2080 hours a year, for Facebook this hour would cost a whopping $48670. Quite a sum to go down the drain because of a fruitless meeting, don’t you think? Sure, chance is your company is a bit smaller than Facebook, but still an hour of your execs’ work time is not something you want to waste.
Why even bother with strategy meeting management then?
So, if strategy meetings can cause so much hassle, why even bother conducting them? Why not arrange a single person that would do all the planning? Well, because meetings are also really healthy for your company/team. They are useful for:
- Idea generating. Among the best ways to solve a question is to gather a group of people and make them discuss it.
- Keeping stakeholders on the same page. It is normal for an organization to be split into separate departments. Building proper communication channels between them might prove difficult. In this case, manager meetings are a great tool to keep everyone updated.
- Exchanging “soft” knowledge. Similar to soft skills, soft knowledge is something a person is not required to have per se to perform their job, but that would enhance his professional qualities nonetheless. This is not the kind of theory taught in schools, so meetings, workshops, and conferences are the best way to learn it.
- Getting fresh perspective. Sometimes, all you need to crack the problem is to look at it from a different angle.
If you are interested in any of those benefits, we highly encourage you to not abandon strategy meetings. You can also optimize them using strategic planning steps listed below.
Questions to ask yourself for an effective strategic meeting management
What is strategic planning meeting trying to achieve?
First and foremost, every meeting needs an agenda, or a concrete objective. Every participant should understand what topics will be discussed, so they can prepare their questions or additional comments in advance.
Also, allot specific time for each topic, so that none of them grabs too much of the pie. You can even go as far as reducing the time for some of them if you know that this would cause the presenter fit the same amount of information in less slides and explanation. Nobody likes nor can memorize long blocks of data, however important you deem it to be!
How can you beat the aforementioned leader expectation bias?
By assigning one! Now, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the highest-ranking officer at the meeting. Just someone who will take notes during the conference and share them afterwards, all the while distributing the solutions and tasks between the corresponding officers.
It’s important to make sure that every task concerns two people – the one responsible for its execution, and the one who will check it afterwards. Ensure that no assignment is left unappointed, and you will avoid situations where everybody thought it’s someone else’s job.
How to plan out the topics and how to write minutes of meeting?
Strategy meetings differ from their counterparts in that they often cover more questions, and their decisions have a great impact on the organization. That’s why it’s crucial to have a meeting plan written out, preferably – using professional planning tools.
Roadmap Planner is one such tool. It allows to build plans of any scale – from a single meeting to long-term business strategy. Moreover, its helpful Backlog feature allows to conveniently record meeting minutes to later analyze them and include them as tasks to their realizers. You can try Roadmap Planner for FREE for 21 days (no CC required) to check out its features and decide if it’s good enough for you.
Who to invite to the strategy meeting?
The only people attending your meeting should be the ones who absolutely need to attend them. On one hand, this means that, for example, you shouldn’t invite the whole department if you can invite its head, who will distribute the important excerpts. On the other hand, double-check that all stakeholders are present at the session, so that everyone’s concerns are sounded.
The rule of thumb goes like this:
- To solve a problem, invite four to six people
- To make a decision, invite four to seven people
- To set an agenda, invite five to 15 people
- To brainstorm, invite 10 to 20 people
Should you allow multitasking during the meeting?
- No. We may tell ourselves differently, but no one can truly multitask. Any distraction is exactly that, and will always result in someone missing an important bit of information.