A high-performing leadership team needs to be able to make 💯 business decisions quickly and efficiently – and to do that, they need an effective leadership team meeting.
The goal of this meeting is to arm the senior leadership team with the information they need to make key decisions about the business. But it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, we’re here to help!
In this article, we’ll walk through:
- The purpose of an executive meeting
- What to talk about during this meeting
- Expert tips for your next leadership team meeting
- Leadership team meeting agenda template
Let’s get started!
What is the purpose of an executive meeting?
Your weekly leadership team meeting is a dedicated time to bring together the leaders of every major function of your organization. The goal of this meeting is to make decisions, bring up and solve problems, align cross-functionally, and gain insights into every department.
It’s critical that you have this meeting weekly because it gives your leadership team 52 opportunities to identify issues before they become major problems and work together to solve them.
Leadership meeting agenda template
Here are six things to add to your next leadership team meeting agenda to have more meaningful and actionable conversations.
1. Personal update
Start your senior management meeting by sharing something about yourself with the group. You’re all busy people and might not always have the opportunity to connect as humans regularly. This will allow you to build these relationships. It could be as simple as sharing what you did last weekend, but starting here will really set the tone for the rest of your meeting.
If this feels unnatural at the start, try using a simple icebreaker question. Some questions you can ask include:
- How was everyone’s weekend?
- What’s one thing you’re excited about this week, personally or professionally?
- Where are you traveling to next?
The bulk of your time in leadership team meetings is tracking progress on metrics and OKRs to identify where you’re on or off track so you can course-correct if needed. If you find this agenda item is overwhelming your meetings, there are a few different ways you can go about structuring this conversation.
The red, yellow and green method
If you’re running on OKRs, you can use a simple red, yellow, and green method to get down to brass tax and cut through the noise. Are you feeling green, red, or yellow about hitting a 50% increase in signups this quarter? If it’s green, move on quickly, if it’s red, that’s where you should focus the discussion.
Pick 3-5 metrics to focus on every week as a team
With a lot of metrics to cover, across your engineering, marketing, sales, and other teams, it’s important that you narrow down your focus to a select few key metrics that you can focus on as a team week-over-week. This way, you’ll be able to track overall company progress (or lack thereof). Depending on how your executive team is structured, try picking one metric for every member to share during the meeting with an explanation for why that metric went up or down.
3. Wins and insights
Spend time as a group sharing wins on behalf of your employees and customers. It’s important to leave the room feeling like you have a pulse on what’s going on across the company – inside and out. You don’t want to wait for the annual company survey results to learn there’s a problem internally (and internal problems inevitably lead to external problems).
Doing this also gives your leadership team the opportunity to share recognition with employees that they may not necessarily interact with on a regular basis. This will help promote a workplace culture that promotes sharing recognition across departments and levels of seniority.
4. Messages to share
Here, you want to determine what’s important to communicate to the entire company. Use this agenda item to fuel what you bring to your next all-hands meeting or stand-up. Transparency always needs to trickle down from the top.
5. Hot seat
Before each meeting, elect a different person to do a deep dive into their particular area of the business. This is an opportunity to step back, look at progress, and see where plans are aligned in a specific department. Use this to uncover issues, blockers, and areas where other leaders might be able to step in and help.
Getting senior leaders in a room together is a hugely valuable time to uncover new issues and resolve old and ongoing issues. Don’t let known issues role over and over into every meeting. Keep an eye on recurring issues and either resolve or table them for a larger conversation (and keep them out of your leadership team meeting agendas!).
Expert tips for your next leadership team meeting
In addition to meeting basics like assigning a time-cop and having a facilitator, we follow four core principles at Soapbox to make sure our leadership team meetings are focused and productive:
🥣 Stirring the pot is better than holding your tongue
Create an environment where there are no passive-aggressive comments – and therefore no one hesitates to share an opinion or to start a tough conversation. There’s no room for that in this meeting (or any really). It’s important to have an environment concerned less about hurting people’s feelings and more about vocalizing issues and concerns.
👥 Discuss instead of tell
Come armed with information to fuel productive conversations and make decisions. Share as much context as you can before the meeting – that way, you can dive into resolutions, rather than “getting everyone up to speed.” Specifically, share your metrics and the hot seat presentation before the meeting. Allow others to digest and prepare questions for the meeting to provide for a more focused conversation.
✅ Focus on solving things together vs. pointing fingers
Collectively, you as a leadership team own the results and the trajectory of the business. Sharing that responsibility means sharing failures and successes. Spend the valuable time you have in this meeting laser-focused on solutions.
🗺 Encourage change over staying the course
The definition of insanity? Repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. You need to be open to change and embrace it. Resistance to change can mean the success or failure of your product and/or business.
Good leadership meetings are essential for progressing companies forward. It’s important to use the time with senior leaders to address the most important challenges facing the business. How your leadership meeting develops, and the productivity of that meeting, will trickle down to each individual team, so it’s crucial that you use the time here wisely.
The first step in a more productive leadership team meeting? Having an agenda! And you’re in luck…We built an app for that!