Make it More Than Just a Meeting

Large-scale leadership meetings are a double-edged sword. Done well, they relay critical information and drive alignment and action. Too often, however, they become mundane events marked by a murderer’s row of talking heads delivering a one-way stream of communication while attendees play Farmville on their phones.

After years of hits and misses in this area, we developed a standard set of objectives for our recurring meeting of 400 high- and mid-level company leaders. We then created a consistent-yet-flexible content framework that became our starting point for every event, with the detailed agenda items determined collaboratively between the CEO, his senior executive team and Internal Communications. This approach enabled us to improve the quality of the events, while reducing the pressure to reinvent the wheel every other month. We strongly suggest companies go through a similar planning exercise for their meetings.

Every organization’s leadership meetings and needs vary, of course. We found that our consistent framework (below) and intentional focus on business issues and cultural elements helped engage both the hearts and minds of our most influential group of leaders.

  • Each meeting began with a fun, self-deprecating company tradition that set the tone the meeting and reflected the organization’s values.
  • The event also included the CEO’s perspective on a singular topic, or a range of issues, depending on what was needed at the time.
  • Each event featured critical business updates. These would be approved by the CEO but delivered by other senior leaders. Topics might include a new system launch, a revised marketing strategy or a deep dive on a particular business line.
  • We always included at least one cultural element, a video or story that highlighted who the company was on its best days. Examples: Employees volunteering in the community, exciting new innovations in the pipeline or a focus on a team who was delivering results while living the values.
  • The last agenda item was an open-mic Q&A with the senior team.

Within two hours of the meeting, we followed up with attendees, providing an email link to the meeting materials (firewall-protected) and a brief, three-question survey.


To see other examples of our work, go to Mini Case Studies.

Categories: Mini Case Studies

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