According to a past Fortune cover story, 86% of business owners and managers spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy. Not surprisingly, this same article also reported that nine out of ten organizations fail to implement their strategic plan. As you’ve probably noticed from our previous columns, we’re big proponents of regular strategy meetings. Quarterly and, in particular, monthly strategy meetings allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of your strategic planning efforts and make any necessary adjustments before it becomes too late.
Monthly strategy meetings don’t need to take a lot of time – 30 to 60 minutes should suffice. But it is important that key team members report on their progress towards the goals they are responsible for – including reporting on metrics in the scorecard they have been assigned. By using the measurements already established, it’s easy to make course corrections if necessary. Restricting the meeting to this reporting on measurements can help you stay on task and keep the meeting with 30 minutes, but if you can commit to a full hour, the meeting agenda should also include some time devoted to working on one specific topic or on one of the quarter’s priorities where decisions need to be made. Once agreed upon, this topic should be developed to conclusion.
Consider these additional tips for making your monthly strategy meetings more effective:
- Schedule the monthly strategy meetings on the same day and time each month in order to encourage making strategy a habit
- Invite individuals or heads of departments. Their presence creates visibility and recognition for the people getting things done.
- Make the meeting mandatory – no exceptions. This is 30-60 minutes time well spent
- Start and end on time and stay on task with an agenda.
Holding meetings helps focus your goals on accomplishing top priorities and accelerating growth of the organization. Although the meeting structure is relatively simple, it does require a high degree of discipline. Facilitation of monthly strategy meetings is key to implementing your strategic plan and making strategy a habit for everyone involved.