The Finance Leader Podcast

053: Conducting a More Effective Weekly Team Meeting

June 01, 2021 Stephen McLain Season 6 Episode 9
The Finance Leader Podcast
053: Conducting a More Effective Weekly Team Meeting
Show Notes Transcript

An effective weekly team meeting should help your team members and not just you. Your team should walk away more informed and knowing they will be better resourced and what they are working on has been synchronized within the team. Your meeting needs a well-defined purpose and not just a “check the block” approach each week. Begin by sending out an agenda ahead of the meeting so everyone can be more prepared, which will make it an overall more productive experience.

I discuss the topic using the following outline:

  1. Why conduct a weekly team meeting,
  2. Ensure you celebrate achievements and key milestones,
  3. What are your meeting deliverables, and
  4. How to set up your meeting for success. 

For more resources, please visit On the website, you can download the Leadership Growth Blueprint for Finance and Accounting Managers. You can use this guide to develop your leadership by focusing on communication, and growing and empowering your team.

You can now purchase a course to help you advance your career from It's called Advance Your Finance and Accounting Career: Developing a Promotion Strategy that Sets You Apart.

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Stephen McLain:

This week I am talking about having an effective weekly team meeting. This takes planning plus focused execution to ensure that the time allocated is an investment that produces positive outcomes. A wasted meeting drains morale, and you will lose trust within the team, plan and execute a better team meeting that adds value and helps your team. Please enjoy the episode. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host Stephen McLain. This is the podcast for developing leaders in finance and accounting. This is episode number 53. And now we'll be talking about the weekly team meeting. And now we'll highlight the following topics. Number one, why conduct a weekly team meeting? Number two, and share your celebrate the achievements and key milestones. Number three, what are your meeting deliverables and for how to set up your meeting for success. Author Patrick lencioni said the majority of meetings should be discussions that lead to decisions. Last week, I talked about our team's task workload and its effect on Team culture. A leader doesn't focus on just getting tasks done. But how you get those tasks done that can lead to growth, development and empowerment of your team members. And how tasks are distributed can affect your team culture. Managers Mark items off the to do list but leaders see and realize how everything can be used to make their people better, the team better in the organization better over the long term. This week, I am talking about having effective team meetings. First, I want to recommend an excellent book about meetings written by a colleague of mine, Mark mcmillian and co authored by Rob McWilliams. Market nice served together in the United States Army when we were both stationed in Norway, it's called meetings, how to make them effective. And you can find the book on Amazon. And I received no compensation for this endorsement or from any sales. So it's very easy to understand guide. So go get it. There's a lot of material and tips available out there about planning and running meetings along with your weekly team meeting. My approach to everything that you do is about applying leadership and effective weekly team meeting should help your team members and not just you, your team should walk away more informed and knowing they will be better resourced, and what they are working on has been synchronized within the team. Your meeting needs a well defined purpose and not just a check the block approach each week, begin by sending out an agenda ahead of the meeting. So everyone can be more prepared, which will make it an overall more productive experience. The weekly team meeting should not be a miserable experience for your team. if done properly, your team should walk away better. And this depends on how well you plan it, prepare for it conducted, and then what you do with the deliverables after the meeting. Now one major topic that should be in the weekly team meeting is the monthly close process. Now there's a couple things you can talk about. Number one, you should be talking about the calendar for the upcoming monthly close process and where the obstacles are. And to ensure that there's coverage for all the responsibilities. This also means people can take their PTO when they need to, we just need to cover for each other during the month. And that will be a discussion for another time when you know about the PTO issue. But just ensure that all the processes and product creation is covered in case someone will be out and then this is a good chance, good opportunity during your team meeting to make sure that everything is covered, the processes are covered. And the slides that you need to do the models that you need to complete or the analysis that needs to be done is all covered across the team. The monthly closed process shouldn't stop anyone from being out if they need to be out. We'll talk about that more later in another episode. Also, number three, determine what else could stop loss from conducting an excellent monthly close process. The monthly close process is very important. So that means that you should be able to ensure that you're creating a good product each month. And this meeting is weekly team meetings a good place to ensure that you're going to have a good monthly close process. Now I want to tell you a story. When I was a commander in the US Army, we were required to conduct a weekly training meeting where we talked about events for the next six weeks. The status of our maintenance, our personnel status, and anything else of significance that would affect our daily mission. It was an important event, it was crucial to having effective communication across the unit and this meeting helped us accomplish our mission very effectively every day. Now let's talk about a few key points about the weekly team meeting. Number one, why conduct a weekly team meeting. Now for the purpose of this episode of the podcast the weekly team meeting being discussed here is for managers of teams, I'm not referring to the higher up department level meetings that may be conducted monthly or quarterly. This is the weekly team get together that you have with your three to five people whom you see and interact with every day. Do you know the purpose for conducting the weekly team meeting does your team explaining why the weekly team meeting is important and how it helps with communication and coordination will help to have a better meeting and a better outcome. When done right. Your meeting can help you build trust and buy in to what you are trying to achieve in the long term. The weekly team meeting helps with improving communication to synchronize activities and for your team to ask for help in the tasks and projects they are working on. Number two, and share you celebrate the achievements and key milestones. The team meeting is an excellent time to show off the great results and achievements of your team members. celebrate them anytime you can. key milestones or employment, anniversaries and other important dates around your team members employment. This part of the meeting helps with building trust and building confidence, especially highlight your team members who have excelled beyond what would normally been expected. This is key to empowering everyone to taking on more responsibility, which then translates into greater growth and development. Don't overlook celebrating your team. It's a huge payoff for a better team culture. Number three, what are your meeting deliverables. The team meeting deliverables are what you're hoping to accomplish during the meeting. And what you walk away with once it's over. Here are a few areas you should be focused on accomplishing during your weekly meeting. Number one is communicate higher level issues like changes to policy, or an update to the strategy. This helps everyone be informed about what is happening above them. Number two, you should be synchronizing activities, especially if your team is responsible for an event monthly close is a critical topic to synchronize each meeting. Number three review executive team level sponsor projects that your team members are involved with. Number four review upcoming events, holidays, vacations, and other issues that may affect personnel availability. Number five review mandatory training or other compliance items coming due to remind everyone, if you have a status report, bring it in reference it, you can talk about individual requirements in your one on ones. Number six review tasks that require additional resources or may have obstacles. This is also a key synchronizing activity number seven. After you're done with the meeting, publish the meeting notes, do outs and items that may have been assigned or other issues and do it as quickly as possible. This list is a great place to start. So you can have a productive meeting that is helpful across the team. There may be other items you want to include. But really look at what you were trying to accomplish and how you are setting your team up for success. Add items as you need to make your team meeting very productive and helpful across the team get to the key points synchronize help your team members with resource shortfalls, and then get the results out to them quickly so that they can take action. Now finally, number four, how to set up your meeting for success. Number one is to have an agenda. You don't need a fancy PowerPoint presentation to make this event effective. You can use the agenda to go through each point and probably use a task or project matrix that is on a screen to show an update work statuses. We don't have to make this difficult. Now when you go around the room for everyone to talk their issues may get the standard only bring up issues that need your help or the help of someone else. We don't need to hear every task and project that each person is working on. These meetings can become a running list of self aggrandizing by showing off what we are working on. So let's not do that. Because it forces other people to talk about everything they are doing. And this is where you lose everyone stay on point to what you need help on. I'll make this a team culture expectation. You can use the one on one meetings that you have with each person to go through every task and every project they are working on. We don't need to do this. In the weekly team meeting focus on what they need help on. When it's okay to ask for help, your team will improve its task execution, the output will improve, the culture will get stronger, trust will be built, information will be shared and overall the team will be more happier. It's frustrating when you need help. And you can't ask for help establish the expectation that this meeting is about coordination, synchronization, and help with additional resources and overcoming obstacles, not your extensive laundry list of the great things you are doing. Keep it short, and it's perfectly acceptable for a team member to have nothing to share, make that be acceptable, you know they are working on tasks. And again, this is about addressing where we have obstacles or a shortage of resources. Focus on the output, not the time and early if you can. If you have a small team 30 minutes should work. But you don't need to fill the 30 minutes just get through the agenda and keep the meeting flowing and publish results after the meeting. For meetings in general. A published agenda ahead of the meeting is essential. If you want to make it effective, and agenda helps participants prepare in advance. You can be flexible in the meeting if it requires that by sticking to an agenda with the right people in the room. And then publishing results and do outs afterwards will make meetings be worth it. No one likes a wasted meeting. When nothing gets produced or decided due to a lack of preparedness. That is different when a decision is not made even though everyone is prepared. Sometimes no decision when the purpose of the meeting is to make a decision is the best course of action, no matter what the heart of the matter is to help your people to come into the weekly team meeting prepared. So time is not wasted. And we get positive outcomes that helps way more than it takes away. Now for an easy win. Today, I would ask you to relook how you conduct your weekly team meeting. And if you are not conducting one, I would encourage you to start one. But always remember, the meeting should be serving your team. It should always add value to their work and processes. I love accountability. But this meeting should be addressing how you're helping them way more than they are helping you now a couple of things that you can do to relook and make sure your meeting is done properly. Do you know the purpose of your weekly team meeting? Do you use an agenda in? Is it published at least 48 hours in advance? are you celebrating achievements and milestones? Are you synchronizing activities across the team? Are you helping your team overcome obstacles and helping them with information or additional resources that they need? And do you publish team notes afterwards with do outs and who was responsible? I believe you can have a great team meeting if you remember the purpose, to eliminate obstacles to success to coordinate activities across the team. And to address any resource shortfalls. You are setting up your team to achieve excellence. And you can use this weekly get together to improve communication and to help your team do their jobs better. I have a free guide for you. It's called the leadership growth blueprint for finance and accounting managers. In the guide I talked about three leadership areas communication, team growth, and empowerment. Plus a few recommendations around challenges with the systems you are probably using to complete your work. The link to the guide is in the episode description. Or you can go to Stephen McLain calm. Please use it to help you with a few leadership wins today. Thank you. This episode is sponsored by my course. Through finance leader Academy is called Advanced your finance and accounting career developing a promotion strategy that will set you apart. To advance your career you must set yourself apart from your peers, finance and accounting professionals are already expected to be technically competent. This course helps you establish your professional foundation and how you can set yourself apart from your peers by growing your leadership skills and developing your executive presence. You can go to Stephen McLain calm for more details on this career advancement course. The link is also in the show notes with this episode. Thank you. Today I talked about making your weekly team meeting more effective and highlighted the following points. Number one, why conduct a weekly team meeting number two and share you celebrate achievements and key milestones. Number three, what are your meeting deliverables and for how to set up your meeting For Success, the weekly team meeting is crucial to the success of the team. Use it to share critical information, use it to teach, use it to create a better, stronger team. Don't waste this opportunity. I believe that most meetings can be a drain of resources and a waste of time, because we don't approach them correctly. But the weekly team meeting is a great opportunity for you to lead and that means making others better who are around you. Next week, I will be bringing to you the first part of an interview with a special guest, who is an experienced talent management executive as I wrap up season six. In the interview, we discuss the many issues I have addressed during the season, so don't miss it. I can't wait to share it. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast dedicated to helping you grow your leadership, because it is leadership that will set you apart from your peers. You can get this episode wherever you find podcasts. Until next time, you can check out more resources at Steven when and sign up for my updates so you don't miss an episode of the show. And now go either team it I'll see you next time. Thank you