The Team Meeting - Foundations of Leadership
The Foundations of Leadership series is built to help new managers and technical leaders ramp up their effectiveness quickly. Until you've developed your leadership style, these templates and tools help you create effective habits. (view all posts in the series)
The Team Meeting is the regular occurrence where you and your staff come together to discuss issues as a collective unit. A good team meeting requires a good facilitator, but that facilitator doesn't need to be the manager. Anyone can unlock better staff meetings using this playbook.
"You know, I really believe that everything in life begins in the huddle. The best teams run the best huddles." ー Jay Wright, Villanova Head Coach
A Regular Meeting: When you've employed the Foundations for Effective 1:1s the manager and team members will not be meeting as frequently as before. This change in frequency places an increased focus on the Team Meeting as the regular opportunity for the team to come together.
Broadcast: The Team Meeting serves as a platform for disseminating information. As a company grows, there is an increased need to communicate changes from outside the organization.
Discussion: Team Meetings serve as an essential forum for the individuals of the team to collaborate on issues that are affecting the organization as a whole.
The core of this Application is a combination of David Allen's "Getting Things Done" and the Holocratic Tactical Meeting, adapted for traditional organizations. This meeting structure and format enables democratic discussion of topics that are preventing the team from reaching their full potential.
Roles: The Roles from Having Effective Meetings apply. Team Meetings require a Facilitator, Accountable and Responsible individuals, and Subject Matter Experts when needed. The Facilitator role does not need to be fulfilled by the manager, but the manager is accountable for the success of the Team Meeting in the eyes of the team.
Pre-Collection: Out of respect for different communication styles, individuals may submit Friction items for the meeting before the meeting start and have them included during the Processing step.
Meeting Start: Meetings should begin on time out of respect to individual schedules. In workplaces without a buffer between meetings, the owner of the Team Meeting should set the start time for 5-10 minutes after the invitation time.
Meeting Length: Schedule team meetings for one hour. If the meeting does not require the full length of time, the meeting can end early.
The Team Meeting Structure
Metrics That Matter: Identify the one or two metrics that define the team. These metrics should be large enough that their impact connects to the company's objectives, yet small enough in size that the team believes that they can affect these metrics. All participants review these (max) two metrics at the start of a Team Meeting.
Epic Review: (scrum/agile) For teams running agile processes, each Epic is read aloud, and the epic owner offers their status on the item. If there are no significant updates to share, the Epic owner can declare "no updates." There is no discussion of the Epics at this stage.
Processing: The majority of the time spent in a Team Meeting is resolving points of friction in the team. Friction occurs when something prevents the team from moving forward. Friction can be informational (someone is going to be out of the office) or procedural (we aren't resolving git issues fast enough). In processing the friction in the team, the goal is to consistently identify the Next Action that needs to be taken to move forward.
Details about Processing
The processing of Frictions consists of four distinct steps: Collection, Processing, Next Action, and Resolve. These four steps focus on collecting all open issues in the team and then working to identify a clear next step for every Friction that requires an action.
Processing - Collection: In addition to the Pre-Collection items, the floor passes around the room, and each person can suggest a topic (limited to a maximum of a few words). Place each of these items onto a whiteboard or monitor visible to the team. There should not be any discussion of these topics at this time. Duplicate topics are allowed, as it's possible individuals may have similar sounding sources of frictions with different goals. Once processing is underway, more frictions can be collected and added to the end of the list.
Processing - Processing: In the order collected, address each friction on the agenda one at a time. The goal of Processing is to get clarity on what the next step is to make progress on the point of friction.
Processing - Next Action: The facilitator is responsible for engaging the individual and the team in answering the question: what is the next action (if any) that we need to take to resolve this item? Every Next Action identified in this step is recorded and assigned to one or more team members.
Processing - Resolve: Record the Next Action, the Next Action's owner, and all pertinent information from the Friction discussion.
After the Meeting
Post Meeting Summary: Send out the summary of the meeting to everyone on the team, including those who were not able to attend. Make sure all resolution steps for frictions are documented and have owners.
Your Guide to Team Meetings
Take this insight and put it into practice with the Team Meeting Cheat Sheet. Taken from my own notes managing teams and running great meetings, it's an efficient way to focus on the team's needs.