022: How To Get The Most From In-Person Team Meetings

October 28, 2022
Read time: 4.43 minutes

Today, I'm going to share my process for holding in-person team meetings.

I love running an online business. Running a business online allows me to start and scale much faster with much less risk. 

But building an online team presents some unique challenges. The biggest? It's hard to build trust and rapport with someone when you're only interacting via Zoom. 

"It turns out that hundreds of miles and 2 pieces of glass are barriers to relationship building."

That's why I invested $10k+ to bring my team together for an in-person strategy meeting this week.

The results?

✅ Clear goals for Q4
✅ A roadmap for 2023
✅ Our new service launch schedule
✅ A plan for how each of us can serve better
✅ A great time together and deeper relationships

But to get maximum ROI from a team meeting like this, you have to be intentional about how you structure it.

Here's how I structured the day: 

9:00 - 9:10: Set expectations and intentions

This is my chance to briefly explain to the team what my objectives are for the meeting. In other words, "by the end of this meeting, we should have (deliverable 1), (deliverable 2), (deliverable 3).

More importantly, I showed everyone the unique opportunity we have. As fractional CFOs, our impact isn't limited to our clients. When we serve well, it has a downstream impact that creates jobs and other amazing results.

Start with why.

9:10am - 9:30am: Team introductions

This is a great ice breaker and got people talking a bit.

I set the cadence by sharing a bit about me, my family, and why we're adopting kiddos. 

But I also talked about some personal growth opportunities I need to focus on in the near term. I tend to over commit when people need help because...well, I love serving. This can cause my team headaches at times and I recognize that.

I did this for two reasons: 

👉 To show everyone this is a safe place to not be perfect
👉 To set the stage that I want to hear about how I can be better

9:30am - 10:00am: Where we've been and where we are today

I used this time to celebrate some wins! 

I walked through our January 1, 2022 metrics and our YTD metrics.

If you're like me, you don't take enough time to reflect on what you've accomplished. This part of the meeting was a great exercise for me to look back and see some of the amazing things we've done.

And it was exciting to show others how their work has impacted the company and our clients.

10:00am - 10:10am: Break

Because caffeine.

10:10am - 10:45am: Right, Wrong, & Lessons Learned

Here, we went around the room and each person shared 3 things: 

👉 What has gone right this year.
👉 What has gone wrong this year.
👉 What have been their biggest lesson learned.

This part of the meeting should be uncomfortable - and that's a good thing!

Have you done a good job of creating a culture where people feel safe giving positive AND negative feedback? 

You'll find out right here.

We went over on time here. I'll budget longer for our next meeting.

My best advice? 

If the feedback gets uncomfortable, get curious instead of defensive.

10:45am - 11:30am: Q4 Goals and Objectives

I laid the groundwork for my thoughts on the top 3 projects and initiatives that need to be wrapped up by December 31st.

We then went around the room and answered 2 questions: 

1. Who needs to do what exactly?
2. What help does each person need to be successful?

The goal here was to get everyone laser focused on the next 60 days. This was important to me because it's easy to lose focus during the holidays. And we want to hit the ground running in '23.

11:30am - 12:00pm: Lunch

Chick-fil-a? 

Yes please! 

12:00pm - 12:40pm: Project Walk Through

We are in the middle of rolling out a massive project that will help us manage our content production.

Does everyone on the team get involved in content production? 

Not even close.

So why take so much time to walk through the project? 

Well, everyone knows our success is reliant on content generation. By sharing what the project is and how it works, everyone feels involved and connected to a big driver of our success.

12:40pm - 12:50pm: Break

Because caffeine. 

12:50pm - 2:00pm: The 2023 Plan

Here we hit on: 

• Launches
• New services
• Major events
• Quarterly themes

This was such a great exercise! 

I put a 12' long piece of butcher paper on the wall and hung it with painters' tape.  I wrote out each month of the year in columns along the paper.

The team then started throwing out ideas and initiatives that we've been thinking about.

Everything got mapped out by month.

Then the collab started:

• What should come off?
• What have we failed to consider? 
• Is there room to pivot if needed?
• What other resources do we need? 
• Are we working on the right things?
• Are these the best use of our time and resources?

It was AMAZING to listen to the group bounce around ideas, give feedback, take pushback, and put together a great plan for 2023.

2:00pm - 2:15pm: Break

Because snacks (and caffeine!)

2:15pm - 3:10pm: Project Planning

Armed with specific priorities for Q4 and a roadmap for 2023, we got down to brass tacks and started project planning.

3:10pm - 3:20pm: Break

You get it by now.

3:20pm - 4:30pm: Team Review

Now that we understood where we are and where we're going, I took the remaining time together to discuss the team.

We went over which capabilities and resources were needed to hit the goals we had just laid out.

I finished by asking my team to review their job descriptions and KPIs. I asked them to update them and send them back to me by end of day Friday. 

Once finalized, I'll share all of them (including my own) with the team next week. That way everyone knows who is doing what.

Accountability, here we come!

If you have a virtual team, I highly encourage you to budget the time and money to have in-person meetings. I've been doing them for 4 years now and the ROI is enormous.

You coach,
Michael


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