Help You Connect Every Meeting To Your Strategic Plan

MLP 101: Effective Meetings: 6 Questions To Help You Connect Every Meeting To Your Strategic Plan

Your meetings should always be in sync with your company’s strategic objectives.

In fact, meetings are a great place to reinforce your company’s vision and make sure everyone is on the same page.  Each team member involved with these meetings should be able to express a clear understanding of this vision.

In episode 101 of the Meeting Leadership Podcast, we ask 6 important questions to help you keep your meetings aligned with strategy:

  1. What is our strategy?
  2. What are our top 3 strategic objectives?
  3. Can everyone in our meeting clearly explain the top 3 strategic objectives?
  4. How does our strategy influence our meetings?
  5. How do our meetings influence our strategy?
  6. Do our meetings and strategy combine to make us more profitable?

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

00:00 – Show Opening

Can you imagine what would happen if every meeting that took place in your organization, big or small, what if every one of them moved your organization’s strategy forward? Well, today on The Meeting Leadership Podcast, you’re going to get six questions that will help you learn how to do just that.

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach. With the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. Your listening to The Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

00:44 – Podcast content starts here!

Welcome to another episode of The Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard and I just want to say thanks for being here. Thanks for being the type of leader who really gets that if you want to have a great organization, then you have to have great meetings. And you know that if you want to have great meetings, you’ve got to have great meeting leaders. And you are coming here to help the leaders of your meetings in your organization get the skills, the tips, the strategies that they need to do just that, so you can move your entire organization forward in the right way. 

01:16 – An episode for upper management

And today’s episode, well it’s aimed at the top. I mean the CEOs, the owners, the directors, the executive directors, wherever you are in that top of the food chain, this episode is for you because it’s called Effective Meetings, Six Questions to Help You Connect Every Meeting to Your Strategic Plan.

01:36 – Why I put these 6 questions together

And let me tell you why I’ve put these six questions together. Now I believe that you should be able to stop any meeting at any moment and connect that moment directly to your strategy. And for those of you who know me really well, you know that I always say it twice. I believe that you should be able to stop any meeting at any moment and connect that moment directly to your strategy. Because when you do that, it means that sort of the components that move your organization forward as in the meetings, it means that they’re always having a meaning. They always have a why. 

02:07 – Question 1 – What is our strategy?

And with that in mind, I’m going to jump right into our first question that every person on every meeting team should be able to answer. And that question is this, what is our strategy? And I can tell you from personal experience, the blank faces around the room when the people in a meeting don’t actually understand this. Because there was a time when I worked in a big corporate setting. I actually was the manager of a group of nine people and one time I was mandated as in told, as in I didn’t want to do it, but I had to, I had to take a copy of the organization’s strategic plan. This is for a 25,000 person company and I had to take it into my group and try to explain it to them.

The blank faces were there for a reason. The wording in that strategy, the way it came across, the people in that room, they really couldn’t connect to. And I can say honestly over the time that I was there, it was very difficult to sort of take that strategy from eight layers up, and bring it to our level in a meaningful way. I mean, we knew why we were doing the jobs that we were doing, but I could not have told you for certain that the things that we were doing, we’re actually moving those bigger objectives forward.

And let me fast forward to another example on the positive side, and it has to do with some of the work that I do when I facilitate strategic planning sessions. Now when I’m in the room at the end of sort of four to six hours, everybody in that room can identify the vision, the mission, the values, and the goals and objectives. And they know exactly what they’re going to do. And then when they walk out, they actually map those into the agendas that they use in the meetings going forward. And that way they know what the strategy is in every meeting that they’re in. And so if you asked someone in that meeting, what is our strategy? They will be able to tell it to you right away.

03:52 – Question 2 – What are our top 3 strategic objectives?

Which leads me into the second question that every person on your meeting team should be able to answer. What are our top three strategic objectives? And when you think about this, let’s get into an example. Let’s say you’re in a sales driven organization and let’s say in the strategic plan, they want to raise sales by 30% a year for three years. And can you imagine in this sales situation, they’re in the middle of a meeting, they’re talking about some minutia, they’re down the rabbit hole of some specific issue. If they had the ability to sort of pull back out and understand whether or not what they were talking about was actually going to help them to build that 30% year over year increase, then they would know that they’re on track. But for the people in meetings that don’t understand the key strategic objectives of their organization, so often in meetings you can get really, really lost.

04:43 – Question 3 – Can everyone in our meeting clearly explain the top 3 strategic objectives?

And question number three, the way it’s worded can really be a valuable opportunity for any facilitator of any meeting. And it goes like this, can everyone in our meeting clearly explained our top three strategic objectives? I mean quite literally. You go one by one and you maybe you give them homework before they got there, and each person has to articulate these things out loud. And that way you know the big ideas have been absorbed. Then when you’re going to execute the agenda that you’ve brought into that specific meeting, you can really get cooking with gas because you know it’s going to all connect to the very top strategy.

05:17 – Question 4 – How does our strategy influence our meetings?

And question number four is a really great question for your entire meeting team. And it’s this, how does our strategy influence our meetings? And I’ll throw in question number five following up right away and say, how do our meetings influence our strategy? Now this discussion, it’ll become very, very robust because maybe people will say, “Well I don’t know what the strategy is. I don’t know where we’re going.” Or hopefully people have done their homework like we said from the other questions. And they really do know what it is and you can be really, really clear.

05:26 – Question 5 – How do our meetings influence our strategy?

And then when you flip it, question number five comes up and you say, how do our meetings influence our strategy? This is where the powerful feedback loop gets created. Because let’s go back to our sales example. If someone in your meeting is able to say, “You know what? With the activities that we’re doing right now, we’re never going to hit that 30% year over year target.” Now the facilitator can take that information out of that meeting, feed it back up to the senior leaders who develop the strategic plan and tell them, “We’re not on track. I can tell you right from the front line, this is not happening.” So this is a really powerful combo of questions that you should ask every meeting team you lead.

06:26 – Question 6 – Do our meetings and strategy combine to make us more profitable?

And question number six. Well it is a doozy, because it goes like this. And here’s what the facilitator would say to their team. Do our meetings and strategy combined to make us more profitable? Now if you’re in that low level meeting function where people can hardly drag themselves in there or they’re on their phones, or you’re in that disaster zone, you might as well not even ask this kind of thing because you’re never going to get a decent conversation.

But if you think the people in your meetings are kind of lit up a little bit and they’re able to be aware enough of the strategy, and they can see the activities that you’ve been doing in your meetings, and then they can get that spark where they can actually see that everything they’re doing in every meeting that they’re in is contributing to moving the entire organization forward. And if you’d like, you can actually inspire them to say, “If we have a better meeting and we helped to build a stronger organization, there’s a good chance that our customers and our community are going to be influenced from the very actions that we take in this meeting. And therefore it’ll be more profitable for the organization and for everybody involved.”

07:29 – Bonus question – What will motivate us to connect all of our meetings to our strategic plan?

And once you’ve gotten through the six questions to help you connect every meeting to your strategic plan, here’s a bonus question and it goes like this. What will motivate us to connect all of our meetings to our strategic plan? As in, if you show up to this meeting prepared, if you know what you’re doing, if you’re being thoughtful before you get here, and then when you get in here, you do your best, you actually get some sort of bonus, a pat on the back, a pay off, something that will actually motivate people to move all of these questions and the answers to them forward in the right way. Because like I said earlier, can you imagine if every meeting throughout your organization drove your organization’s strategy every time? The results would be outstanding?

08:13 – Recap of 6 Questions

And now let me take a moment to recap the six questions. Number one, what is our strategy? Number two, what are our top three strategic objectives? Number three, can everyone in our meeting clearly explain our top three strategic objectives? Number four, how does our strategy influence our meetings? Number five, how do our meetings influence our strategy? And number six do our meetings and strategy combined to make us more profitable?

08:46 – Related episodes – MLP 002 – MLP 008

And if you’ve enjoyed the ideas in this episode, let me recommend a couple more episodes for you to take on. In episode two on The Meeting Leadership Podcast, it’s called How to Connect Your Meetings to Your Strategy, and you can get that one by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/2. And episode number eight well, it’s called How Your Strategic Plan Can Help You Run Effective Meetings. And you can get that episode by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/8.

09:16 – Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleaderhshipinc.com/academy

And I also want to let you know that this episode of The Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by The Meeting Leadership Academy. Now if you’re looking for really terrific live training options for you and your team, I mean half day workshops, inspiring multi months engagements where I’m dropping in to help you and your team get better and better and better, then you’re going to find them there. And you’re also going to find some really solid online training options as well. And if you’d like to learn more, visit meetingleadershipinc.com/academy. And if you haven’t done it yet, please hit that subscribe button, and also leave a rating and a review because that will influence the content that we’ve got coming out in our upcoming episodes. And as always, thank you so much for listening and we’ll see you tomorrow on The Meeting Leadership Podcast.

10:03 – Podcast Outro

Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. And don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here on The Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Gordon Sheppard

Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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