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Home » Blog » Business is Like an Airplane Step 5 (Part 3): The Body (Your Overhead & Operations) – The Leadership Meeting – Removing Roadblocks from Big Initiatives

Business is Like an Airplane Step 5 (Part 3): The Body (Your Overhead & Operations) – The Leadership Meeting – Removing Roadblocks from Big Initiatives

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Introduction

Does your Leadership Team stay focused and drive initiatives forward?  Or are they in reactionary mode, just dealing with problems and firefighting?  If the answer is firefighting, you’re not alone, and it’s definitely costing you lots of time, effectiveness, and money.  Establishing an effective Leadership Meeting on a regular basis will consistently orient your Leadership Team around your Three Biggest Priorities and ensure that bottlenecks between departments are not limiting your Team’s progress.

In this Series, we’re reviewing the 6-Step Plan to run your business from Donald Miller’s latest book, How to Grow Your Small Business, and the online platform at businessmadesimple.com.

The analogy of an airplane helps describe the 6 Steps and this week, we’re continuing with our third installment in Step 5, the Body, Your Overhead & Operations.  In this part of Step 5, Don introduces the second meeting in the Management & Productivity Made Simple Playbook: the Leadership Meeting.  The primary purpose of the Leadership Meeting is to ensure your Leadership Team is working together to accomplish the three biggest priorities of your business.

Establishing the Leadership Meeting of the Management & Productivity Made Simple Playbook will regularly engage your Department Leaders to support the accomplishment of the three biggest priorities for the overall business.  As each Department shares big initiatives and discusses any bottlenecks, the path is cleared for progress.  The Leadership Meeting Template will ensure the meeting is well-structured and an effective use of your Leadership Team’s precious time.

Step 5 – The Body (Your Overhead & Operations) – Removing Roadblocks for Big Initiatives – The Leadership Meeting

Big Initiatives & Roadblocks – Clearing the Path to Reach Your Three Biggest Priorities

Earlier in the How to Grow Your Small Business book, Don shared the process of creating a Mission Statement and Guiding Principles that centered on establishing three big priorities for the business.  The primary purpose of the Leadership Meeting is to unite your Leadership Team around those three big priorities.

The Leadership Meeting is typically held weekly under normal business conditions and the format of the Leadership Meeting is straightforward, involving three questions:

        1. What big initiatives are happening this week?
        2. Is there anything blocking these initiatives?
        3. Who is responsible for completing each task?

In answering the above questions, each Department Leader takes a turn identifying the big initiatives that are happening in their department.  Their initiatives should all support one of the three biggest priorities of the overall business.  Sharing the latest information among the leaders ensures that all departments know what is going on across the company.  Any roadblocks or bottlenecks can be discussed and removed, since the company’s leaders are all in the room together.

The final objective of the Leadership Meeting is to ensure that each task is assigned to a specific person to help ensure that there is accountability for each action to be completed.

A Chance to Learn – Your Departmental Leadership Can Take Initiative

If you are the overall leader of your company, the Leadership meeting is often the most important meeting of your week.  Having all your Department Leaders together can keep you up to speed with everything happening, and you can step in, as needed, to resolve any issues between departments.  With everyone together, it’s much easier to break through any bottlenecks and to solve any problems that might be holding back progress.

As your leaders and their Teams take the initiative to advance towards the three biggest priorities, you may start to hear of new initiatives that you hadn’t heard about previously. You should want your leaders to take initiative!  That’s what will allow your company to scale beyond just what you can do by yourself.

One other important point to remember is that you aren’t always right!  An additional intent behind the Leadership Meeting is the creation of a collective leadership mind for your company with your leaders.  You should want to use the best ideas, not just the ideas from the most senior person.  As the overall leader, you’ll need to model the ability to seek out the best ideas possible, even when they’re not your own.

Crisis Mode – Increase Leadership Meeting Frequency

The frequency of the Leadership Meeting can vary based on the pace of activity in your business.  For most companies, weekly is a good rhythm.  Sometimes, however, it may make sense to adjust the timing based on the circumstances.  In times of crisis, either external (e.g., the pandemic) or internal (e.g., a tight timeline on a major Customer project), it may make sense to increase the frequency to several times a week, or even daily.  Staying on top of rapidly changing conditions with more frequent Leadership Meetings can help keep all the departments informed and able to adjust more quickly to a fluctuating situation.

Additional Leadership Meeting Options

In addition to the weekly Leadership Meeting, Don mentions a few additional meeting options that involve your Leadership Team:

A Leadership Off-Site Meeting

    • Used to work on overall business strategy – Working “on” the business versus “in” it.
    • Quarterly or even less frequently – based on need.
    • Definitely best to be away from the place of business and often facilitated for maximum use of the time.

Monthly Leadership Breakfast or Lunch

      • An opportunity to be together and have some fun as a group.
      • Some business conversations will be natural, but the main focus of these meals is to bond as a Team and get to know each other better. Improved human connection among the leaders can help drive long-term company productivity while making work a more fun place

You’ll be amazed to discover how using the Leadership Meeting from the Management & Productivity Made Simple Playbook will align your Leadership Team around the company’s three biggest priorities. 

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Each Department Leader will know about all the initiatives the other departments are working on and can help remove any roadblocks slowing down progress. The Leadership Team will be energized, as will you, by the feeling of knowing that all the departments are working together on the right path towards success.

Final Thoughts

Step 5 from Donald Miller’s book, How to Grow Your Small Business, is the Body – Your Overhead & Operations.  The Leadership Meeting is the second of the five meetings that make up the Management & Productivity Made Simple Playbook.  Installing the All-Staff Meeting will keep your Leadership Team aligned around your three biggest priorities and as the business owner, it may prove to be your most important meeting each week. The template for the Leadership Meeting is available to download so that you can implement it in your company. After you fill out your information, you will receive the link to a downloadable PDF. Step 5 will ensure the Body of your small business airplane, your Overhead & Operations, doesn’t get so big that it limits your altitude.

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 The biggest part of your Overhead is the people on your airplane, and those people are one of the biggest reasons you have a plane in the first place.  You want your business to be able to fly them far and high, soaring to new heights of success.

Next week, we’ll introduce the third meeting in the Management & Productivity Made Simple Playbook, the Department Stand-Up, and how it can give Team members in your departments the direction and feedback they need to know they are working on the right things each week.

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