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MLP 041: Why All Types Of Meetings Need To Connect To Strategy

Even the best strategies can be rendered useless if they aren’t made clear to your employees.

One of the reasons we attend meetings is to make sure everyone understands how their objectives will impact the organization’s overall vision, and families may use them to clarify everyone’s intentions moving forward.

In MLP #041, we discuss the reasons why all types of meetings should connect to an a strategy. After listening, you should have a better understanding about:

  • Aligning meeting objectives to you company or family’s strategic vision
  • How clear goals can make meetings much more effective
  • How keeping strategy in focus affects customer outcomes

Following the tips presented in this podcast should help you establish a more focused approach to meetings.

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

00:00 – Show Opening

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.

00:27 – Start Here – Podcast content starts here!

Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Shepherd, and I just want to say thanks for being here. Thanks for being the type of professional who wants to pick up another practical tip, another strategy that you can take out to build your leadership skills and also run highly productive meetings. It’s great to have you here. If you’re the type of person who likes to practice their leadership skills in every setting that they’re in, then you’re going to really get a lot out of today’s episode, because today we’re going to talk about why all types of meetings need to connect to strategy. If you’ve been a regular listener on this podcast, you know exactly what I’m going to say next, because my basic premise is I believe that you should be able to stop any meeting at any moment and connect that moment directly to your strategy. I believe it so passionately, 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.

01:22 – Always connect your meetings to strategy

Well, think about it. What are all the different types of meetings that you’re in? I mean, you could be volunteering to help, I don’t know, the girl guides, or maybe you’re out there working in the community. You could be at work, at a high level executive meeting, or maybe you’re at the managerial level, and you’re sort of leading small teams in your specific department. Maybe you even want to think about this from your family meeting perspective. Whatever type of meeting you’re in, you definitely need to be connecting it to strategy, and I’m going to make some suggestions today about why this is so important.

 01:52 – Reason #1 – Aligning all meeting objectives with the strategic vision

The first reason to do this is alignment, because if you think about it, every strategic plan has a vision. Now, if you can imagine everybody in your next meeting, no matter what type of organization you are in, if they were able to actually say that vision statement out loud, then you would know automatically that everybody is on the same page. When that happens in a meeting, well it is magical. Right? That’s why it’s actually worth digging up that vision statement from your strat plan and making sure that it rolls off the tip of the tongue of everybody in every meeting that you’re in. But what happens more often than not? Well, the senior leaders who built that strategic plan, they didn’t take the time to communicate it to all levels of the organization. I can confirm this from firsthand experience, because I actually worked in a company that had 25,000 employees. For me, being a manager of nine people in my little unit, probably at least eight levels down from the senior executives, we would get that strategic plan in every year. Sometimes it was in a square, or sometimes it was in a triangle, and there be a vision statement in there for this multi-billion dollar company that really we just couldn’t connect to. It was really hard to turn that into something that my team could actually make use of. It reminds me of the story in Alice in Wonderland when the Cheshire Cat is speaking with Alice, and he says to Alice, “Where are you going?” And she says, well, I don’t know.” Then he says, “Well. Then any road will take you there.” That’s why so many teams are kind of wandering through meetings. They’re not connected to a true north that’s going to help them make every meeting highly valuable. 

03:24 – Reason #2 – Clear goals make meetings more effective

Which leads me into the second reason to connect all of your meetings to your strategy, and that is to know if you’re on track. Now, in every well thought out strategic plan there will be key strategic objectives. A typical one in a sales organization, for example, would be to say, “Our second objective this year is to increase sales by 60%,” and then you can kind of measure meeting by meeting throughout the year whether or not you’re on track to actually meet that target. If you are, then you’re doing very well, and if you’re not, then you get a chance to actually in any meeting that you’re in, if you know that you’re actually not going to hit that goal, you can go back to your senior leaders and say, “Hey, that objective that you set out at the beginning of the year, we’re not going to make it. It’s not realistic. So, please don’t have that expectation in your forecasting as you look into the future for our organization.”

04:13 – Strategy is also important for family meetings

 Can you imagine what would happen if you applied this type of approach to your family meetings? Let’s say, for example, at the beginning of the year you said, “You know what? We really want to have the family come closer together this year, and one of the main ways that we want to do this is to actually eat together more often. So ,we’re going to set out an objective to say five nights a week during the school year we’re going to sit down at the family dinner table and actually eat a meal together. This will allow us to have more conversations and really kind of make it a richer experience for everybody involved.” Once you’ve gotten a few months into the school year, you can be honest about whether or not this is happening. If you’re only doing it one night a week or not at all, and people are off in their rooms, and they’re just watching Netflix or this kind of thing, then that objective just isn’t real. It means that your strategy isn’t working. So ,you can get a chance then to revisit it and see what can we do to put this back on track? 

05:05 – Reason #3 – Fulfilling consumer expectations

Which leads me into the third reason to connect every type of meeting to your strategy, especially business meetings. That is to meet customer outcomes, because think about it. How much does a bad meeting, any meeting in your organization ultimately affect your customers? What would happen if you connected every meeting that takes place within your organization to customer outcomes? For example, when the senior leadership team within your organization has a bad meeting, how much money did they leave on the floor, because they didn’t get enough done during the meeting to help the organization achieve its goals and serve your customers at the highest level? One of the fastest ways to address this issue is to treat every person in every meeting like they were your best customer, because we really do know how to treat our best customers. So, why can’t we do this with each other?

05:59 – Recap, revisist – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/2 

 Let me take a moment to recap the key concepts from this episode. Now we want to be able to connect all types of meetings to our strategy, because we want to create alignment. We want to know if we’re on track, and we want to create better customer outcomes. If you’d like to learn more about how to incorporate strategy into your meetings, there’s a couple of podcast episodes I want to make you aware of on the show. Episode two is called How To Connect Your Meetings To Your Strategy, and you can get that by going to MeetingLeadershipInc.com/2. the other episode I want to mention is episode eight, and it’s called how your strategic plan can help you run effective meetings. You can get that one by going toMeetingLeadershipInc.com/8.

06:42 – Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/academy.

 I also want to let you know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership Academy. Everything from strategy, to facilitation skills, to agendas, and a whole lot more, this is the place where you’re going to get the practical online training to help you succeed as a leader and help you have highly productive meetings. Visit MeetingLeadershipInc.com/academy to learn more. And as always, thank you so much for listening, and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

07:12 – Podcast Outro

 Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. Don’t forget to rate dead 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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