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Effective Meeting Preperation, Management, and Follow-up Habits

Posted October 14, 2011 4:14 PM by Dylan Miyake

After dealing with the headaches of Excel and PowerPoint reporting, version control issues, and not being able to dynamically track all the things that a leadership team needs to know, and fast, we decided to develop a new kind of tool to make strategy review meetings more effective.

In this journey, we developed a piece of software called ClearPoint Strategy. ClearPoint is more than a simple scorecard or dashboard application. This is a tool that includes fifteen plus years of best-practices accumulated by developing and implementing effective strategic plans across many high-performing organizations.

But real success does not come from a slick software alone. There are other habits and patterns that a leadership team needs to understand and value. In this article, we try to capture the people-process through which an organization can prepare for strategy review meetings, manage well organized and data-driven meetings, record decisions, and ensure accountability and timely follow-up on mission-critical items.

Continue reading for more details about each stage in the process:

Initial Setup:
1. We work with the leadership team to develop a concise strategy map and targeted reporting framework (typically a Balanced Scorecard)
2. The define measures, measure owners, any existing data and targets, and relevant charts too
3. Add any projects or strategic initiatives that should be tracked, plus Gantt charts
4. Assign ownership and a reporting frequency for each element to specific members of the leadership team
5. Then schedule a training session so everyone on the team understands the reporting process and how ClearPoint serves as a hub for reporting

Meeting preparation: (4-5 days before a review meeting)
1. Data analysts log into ClearPoint and add (or import) the latest data
2. Review the most recent data and write their analysis about trends or emerging issues
3. Update red/yellow/green status indicators for each measure and initiative
4. They can then make a PDF report with all this information included, or email "hot topics" directly from the system
5. The leadership team reviews this information and makes corrections or approves their sections of the report
6. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) works with the President to make an agenda of the topics that need to be reviewed and what decisions need to be made. This agenda is then emailed to the leadership team so they can prepare.

Day of the meeting:
1. ClearPoint is shown on a big screen TV or projector in the conference room
2. To start, the COO or CSO do a quick overview of the entire scorecard (red/yellow/green indicators)
3. Then the leadership team can drill-down to detail pages for more data, analysis, images or even videos to better understand important issues
4. Decisions are made, and the results are recorded in ClearPoint (with owners and due-dates, as required)

Meeting follow-up:
1. Team members work on their action-items and update ClearPoint as they are completed (or resolved)
2. When an action-item is marked complete, the system sends alerts to those who are interested in the activity
3. Administrators can always log in and browse to see the latest information

Preparing for the next meeting:
1. The COO, CSO, or scorecard owner sends a reminder to the data analysts asking for the latest data and analysis
2. Reminders can also be sent to action-item owners who have not reported their progress

And the cycle repeats at the "Meeting preparation" stage...

In summary, the best practices compiled above are not all technical. In fact, our software only works well when there is a pattern and regularity to the human-processes that support it.

So there are two parts to effective meeting management. First, there has to be the executive support and will-power to create a culture and habit for professional-grade analysis, preparation, and follow-up. And the second part is that there needs to be quality data in an accessible format upon-which effective and timely decision making can occur.

We have helped many organizations, both large and small, public and private, implement effective strategy review meetings. Adding this level of focus and accountability to those things critical to an organization's mission have resulted in amazing turn-arounds and improvements and we look forward to helping your team obtain the same level of focus with both the human-process and the software system that makes meeting management easy.

An overview video and more information are available here:

Meeting Management and Balanced Scorecard Software