In The Bay: Weekly Meetings
In previous articles, I’ve written about the importance of annual and quarterly planning meetings. These times are critical for a business to to evaluate past performance and set goals for the future. Quarterly periods—basically 90 days each—are great time frames for setting and achieving goals.
But how do you keep on track during a quarter? That’s where weekly meetings come into play.
Every week, get your leadership team together. Hold this meeting at the same time every week, even if some team members are out. It’s important to have a regular cadence in place no matter what.
Here is a sample agenda to follow during your weekly meeting (adapted from the book Traction):
5 min – Segue (allows everyone to settle in and get caught up with each other)
5 min – Review key metrics
5 min – Review quarterly goals
5 min – Review to-dos assigned last week
5 min – Discuss any customer or employee headlines
30 min – Resolve issues
The segue allows everyone to settle in. It’s a good time to discuss what went right last week, what everyone did over the weekend, and just generally get caught up with each other.
Review Key Metrics
Review the shop’s performance over the past week. Ideally, show these metrics alongside metrics for the past 12 or so weeks to help you identify trends. Look for numbers that are outside of normal performance. Briefly discuss issues that come up, but anything that can’t be quickly discussed should be added to the “issues list.”
For example, if the cost of parts as a percentage of total revenue is 27%, and your benchmark is to have it no higher than 25%, discuss why it is so high. Maybe this is an aberration—there were one or two parts-intensive jobs during the week. But if there is a deeper issue, add it to the issues list to discuss during the second half of the meeting.
Review Quarterly Goals
Look at the two or three goals you have set for the quarter and evaluate where the shop is so far on these goals. For example, if your goal is to go from five to seven techs this quarter, are you on track? Is the goal at risk? Are there any to-dos that need to be assigned this week to keep things on track with the goal?
If quarterly goals are things you want to get done in the next 90 days, “to-dos” are things you want to get done in the next seven days—14 days max. Typically, a to-do is assigned to a specific person in a weekly meeting, and it is completed by the next weekly meeting.
During this time, review what was assigned last week and whether it was completed or if the person needs more time. If the person ran into an issue completing the task, either briefly discuss and resolve, or add it to the issues list.
Next, open things up for anyone to bring up any customer or employee headlines. Ideally, serious issues have already been added to the issues list prior to the meeting. But any other headlines(good or bad) relating to either your customers or employees are brought up here.
For example, say a customer is overdue on their payments, but the shop is continuing to repair their equipment. This can be quickly resolved with a discussion between the service manager and office manager. If it requires a deeper dive, then you guessed it—add it to the issues list.
Ideally, you’ve stayed on track and have a full 30 minutes left to resolve issues. Rank the top two or three issues and tackle those first, since in any given meeting you may not get through all the issues. Then have the person who added each issue clarify what the issue is so everyone understands. You then have time to thoroughly discuss the issue as a group.
The resolution might involve a to-do assigned to someone for completion in the next week. In other cases, the discussion alone may be enough resolution.
Timing of the meeting
When I worked in a shop, we held our weekly meetings on Tuesday. This worked perfectly because we would close the books for the previous week on Monday (we used a version of the month-end close checklist to do this). That gave us plenty of time to prepare and review the key metrics for the previous week.
Your Weekly Meetings
Every shop is different. Whether you follow the recommended agenda above or do something else, meeting weekly to review how your shop is performing is an invaluable touchpoint for keeping things moving in the right direction.