By: William A. Spenla, Managing Director and Founder
P4 Advisors LLC.
Leadership teams require face-to face meetings on a routine basis to review results, set direction, launch change initiatives, and sustain inter-personal relationships necessary to enhance performance. From senior leadership teams, to global leadership teams, to regional teams, to local leadership teams, the time, effort, attention, resources, and expense to plan and deliver a successful meeting can be daunting.
It is a huge amount of work to plan and successfully facilitate these events, particularly if you’re simultaneously “on your feet” leading the meeting.
P4 Advisors has the demonstrated experience and expertise to help with all facets of your leadership team meeting. We’ve been there and done that. And we understand how to make simple or complex meetings effective, efficient, and cost conscience. Our approach is called Meeting Management Operations, or MMO, because holding a successful leadership team meeting is more than project or meeting planning.
It requires a return-on-investment operational focus from start to finish. We work directly with the meeting sponsor(s), usually the senior leader and her or his designee(s), to assess the overall objective and required outcomes. Then we go to work helping to creating the experience the client is expecting.
Let’s use the example of conducting a global leadership team (GLT) meeting. Generally, the attendee universe for this kind of meeting would include the CEO and her/his direct reports and those in regional commercial and functional leadership roles.
Initially we would assess the strategy for the meeting so we understand the connection to the larger strategic goals of the organization. Questions we might ask include:
- What is the need for this meeting? What are you looking to accomplish?
- What is the theme? What is it the attendees need to understand and deliver following the meeting?
- How does the meeting “fit” with the strategic objectives of the organization?
- Was this meeting held in the past? What was the outcome? What improvements were suggested by the attendees and will they be incorporated into this meeting?
- What are the upsides to conducting the meeting? The downsides?
- Who will set the meeting topics? Will there be a “democratized” pre-meeting input process for topics?
- What performance incentives are in place for the meeting sponsor(s)?
- What’s the budget? Who pays for what, and how?
- What criteria will be used to select attendees? To deny attendance?
- Will “High Potentials” be invited if not normally on the attendee list?
- Who will announce the meeting and how will that be communicated to the attendees and those not attending?
- What pre-work is necessary? When is it due?
- How will the meeting results be communicated and cascaded to the organization? Who will do that? Will you communicate progress daily during the meeting, or after it?
- How will confidential information be handled and what are the expectations of the attendees in this regard?
Once strategic inquiries are fully examined, we can then make recommendations on a variety of meeting success factors tailored to the sponsor’s objectives. Our experience tells us the following elements are critical to most GLT meetings. For instance:
- Allow enough lead time for attendees to clear their schedules and arrange for work to be completed while at the meeting.
- What meeting location, and venue, will facilitate a successful meeting outcome? Global headquarters? Regional office sites? Venues near international airports to help keep travel costs down? Facilities for team building in or outside the facility?
- How will attendees be grouped during each stage of the meeting? How many people at each table and who sits with whom?
- How “full” will the meeting matrix (the intersection of times and dates with the swim lanes of discussion topics and breakouts) be to activate sustainable adult learning vs. overloading participants?
- How are the formal sessions interwoven with the informal sessions to foster new and longstanding relationships? When/where is “fun” incorporated?
- How will the key leaders (e.g., the CEO) be made available for meeting participants to spend quality face time with her or him?
- How will the topics be identified (commercial/functional) and who will do the presenting? What’s the standard format for the presentations?
- Will there be handouts issued to participants in advance of each speaker’s presentation to allow the participants to follow along and make notes? Or, not!
- What sort of recognition activity will be blended into the meeting? E.g, Leader of the Year?
This is just a small example of the preparation and follow-through required to operationalize a meeting of leaders and maximize the potential for meeting success. And we’ll be there to help the meeting leaders and meeting admin staff to facilitate the session and attend to loose ends as the meeting progresses.
As you can see, Meeting Management Operations is best done by professionals who have had the experience bringing small and large leader groups together. And P4 Advisors would be pleased to help operationalize your leader meetings.