In my blog post, “Seven Signs You Need A Business Operating System”, I called out the seven problems that can be solved using a business operating system.
Here are the problems:
- The business feels chaotic and out of control.
- Increased sales is not resulting in increased profit.
- There is a high rate of employee churn. As soon as you hire someone, another person leaves. Employee retention and hiring is a problem.
- There is poor accountability. Employees are not 100% clear on their key responsibilities. This results in dropped balls, frustrated customers and stressed out employees.
- Meetings feel like a waste of time and ineffective or seen as complaint sessions where nothing ever really gets accomplished or solved
- The business is in constant fire-fighting mode, moving from one fire to the next.
- There is no budget which is used to plan spending. You do not have the information to make decisions. Cash flow is a problem.
What is a business operating system?
At Envisionable, we think of a business operating system as something that helps drive the following for your business:
Clarity around where the business is headed and what is most important
Alignment around how each employee uses their unique strengths to help the company succeed
A system which “checks in” to ensures each team member is executing as expected
In this blog post, our focus is problem #5 - “Meetings feel like a waste of time and ineffective or seen as complaint sessions where nothing ever really gets accomplished or solved.”
The Case For Small Business Meetings
In my experience, small businesses owners struggle with meetings and as a result do not get the value out of their meetings.
I’ve seen this cause business owners do one of two things:
(1) not meet at all
(2) meet too frequently (almost micromanaging) and become too tactical
It turns out that meetings are an essential component of a business operating system. These meetings drive clarity, alignment and execution.
A Meeting Rhythm Is Key Component For Driving Clarity
I wrote about the difference between tactical and strategic meetings in another blog here.
In order to drive clarity which will save your team a great deal of time, you need both strategic meetings (those which tell the team where you are headed and why) and tactical meetings (those which ask if we're executing on the plan we created).
Creating clarity is a continual process since businesses don’t operate in static environments. This is why meetings are so important. Employees can ask questions in real time, in context of what the business is trying to accomplish.
One on one meetings drive clarity around expectations and performance.
Weekly team meetings drive clarity around problems which need to be solved and the progress that is being made. These meetings straddle the line between tactical and strategic.
Monthly all-company meetings clarify how we are supposed to behave by highlighting core values and the core purpose of the business.
Quarterly or annual strategic planning meetings help to reaffirm and clarify the company’s strategy and and allow us to make adjustments.
Key Takeaway - Ensure you have a meeting rhythm to drive clarity. The clearer things are the faster the team can execute.
Meetings Drive Alignment And Allow For Team Feedback
It’s one thing to have clarity around goals and direction, it another to drive alignment around these things.
Meetings allow for a conversation and push back on unrealistic goals. Meetings allow you to hear your team's concerns about their ability to execute.
Let’s take an annual strategic meeting, for example. It’s critical to get as much feedback as possible on the potential strategy. The more feedback you have the more your strategy will align with your ability to execute.
Key Takeaway - Ensure your meetings include and opportunity for employees to ask questions and provide feedback.
Meetings Drive Clarity, Alignment And Execution
I’ll use a sports analogy to explain.
An NFL team is a group of highly paid professionals, each with a specific roles and expectations. I would be willing to bet that each team member has 100% clarity around what they are responsible for. In fact they are measured on these responsibilities.
The team also has a game plan, which each team member understands. There is 100% alignment around the plan. If there isn’t, I would imagine that the player who is not aligned won't play on game day or will be let go.
Then comes game day.
The team had 100% clarity and 100% alignment, but something happens with execution. Dropped balls, penalties etc.
What does the team do? Do they all go there own way? No. They get together to meet and talk about it.
Meetings are a critical mechanism for ensuring execution is happening.
Key Takeaway - Make sure you have a meeting rhythm to check in and ensure your team is executing….make adjustments when they are not.
Clarity, Alignment and Superior Execution Is A Cycle
This business operating system can help your business drive results.
Expectations are clarified, the team is aligned around the expectations and their strengths and execution is monitored against those expectations.
Not generating superior results in your business? You need a business operating system.