Small Business Meeting Rhythms that Drive Profitability

November 10, 2017 | Roger and Susie Engelau

As the business owner

✓ Do you make ad hoc decisions on-the-fly each day that have possible long-term impacts?
✓ Do employees come to you multiple times each day to find out what to do next?
✓ Are you the center of decision-making and problem-solving in your company?
✓ Do discussions go off-track leaving people frustrated without a sense of completion?
✓ Would your business fail without your daily involvement?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, as the business owner you’re probably working long hours, overwhelmed with not enough time in the day, and the only one in your company carrying the burden of success or failure.

Over time, making ad hoc decisions condemns you to be the onsite expert, forcing everyone to come to you to figure out what to do next. The result is 1) Disorganized processes, 2) Missed business development opportunities, 3) Hastily conceived cost reductions, and worse 4) A limit to how much your business can grow.

Meetings that Drive People Crazy or Meeting Rhythms that Drive Profitability?
Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have regular official meetings.

A rhythm of meetings—a schedule of regular meetings each with a prescribed audience, agenda, and meeting frequency—is not really about meetings; it’s about driving profitability. How?

  1. Employees know that there’ll be a few minutes each day to get info and share problems. This eliminates frequent interruptions and improved time management for you and your employees.
  2. Daily problem-solving or sharing information in order to get today’s work done are very different kinds of discussions requiring a different mindset than, say, solving an ongoing problem between departments or figuring out the best strategy for a long-term customer issue. Having separate, distinct times for each meeting type makes those discussions more productive, ensures the right people are involved, and enables decisions to be captured more clearly.
  3. It prevents day-to-day operations from dominating the leadership team’s agenda and frees up time for substantive strategy discussions.
  4. Maintaining a laser-like focus on the most important priorities maintains forward momentum of the business.

A great Harvard Business Review article, “Stop Wasting Valuable Time,” says, “…a few deceptively simple changes in the way top management teams set agendas and structure meetings can make an enormous difference in their efficiency and effectiveness.”

Maintain Momentum through Effective Meetings

While there can’t be a one-size-fits-all schedule of meeting rhythms that work in every small business, we identified the most common meeting rhythms recommended by thought leaders like Verne Harnish and Patrick Lencioni and adjusted them for small business.

Below is our chart of Meeting Rhythms that Drive Profitability for small business—the meeting rhythm that we recommend to most of our business coaching clients. Begin to implement Meeting Rhythms that Drive Profitability today to transform your group of employees into a capable, winning team. You’ll enable them to execute the majority of the business’ activities without direct input from the owner.