According to online scheduling service Doodle, poorly organized meetings cost $399 billion in the United States in 2019. We know no one wants to be bogged down by useless meetings, especially with “Zoom fatigue” now a very real thing. While we don’t think it’s productive to have meetings when you don’t need them, we also believe company, team and 1:1 meetings that are structured with OKRs can help communication and direction immensely.
One of the biggest advantages of using the objective and key result framework is the transparency that comes with the method. This method of goal setting makes sure no team is working in a silo, and that everyone is working together toward the company’s most important goals. Part of the process includes productive OKR check-ins and OKR meetings.
As a best practice for team meetings, we suggest holding weekly meetings that are structured off of the team’s objectives and key results. First, have every team member do an OKR check-in before the meeting so their progress is up-to-date. This is best done at the beginning of the week. For example, have everyone update their OKRs every Monday, and meet to discuss on Tuesday. (Tip: Ally.io allows you to set an alert with a custom day and time to remind your team to make their check-ins, try here) To make the best use of your time during the meeting, have your team go over goals they are struggling with first. Addressing any at-risk or behind objectives first puts the most important tasks that need to be completed at the forefront.
(A behind OKR means progress is less than you want currently, but there is a plan or idea on how to get back on track. An at-risk OKR means progress is less than you want, and there is no plan for how to move forward or get back on track.)
Framing team meetings with OKRs keeps goals top of mind. This way, the meeting doesn’t get sidetracked, and the team can really stay focused on the most important work that needs to get done. Having this meeting sets the tone for the week, and reminds everyone that OKRs should be driving the work that you’re doing, not the other way around. We all know what it’s like when meetings get in the way of actual work being done, so if you’re going to have a meeting with your team, make sure the discussion is meaningful.
Having a regular OKR review meeting between managers and team members to discuss progress keeps everyone on the same page and communication open. Pick a cadence that works best for you. Some managers may find weekly 1:1 OKR check-ins helpful, while a once-a-month schedule works better for others. If both of you don’t have anything new or any at-risk/behind objectives to discuss, consider communicating via email or Slack/Teams to eliminate unnecessary meeting time.
It’s important for leaders to talk about company goals at the leadership level and at company-wide meetings. Here’s what we suggest:
Hold a weekly meeting with the department heads to discuss progress across teams. Connecting every department reinforces that OKRs should be top of mind and drive the work being done to help the company reach its goals. Including all team leaders helps eliminate silos and ultimately if there’s issues, they can be addressed more efficiently. At the end of the quarter, use this meeting as an opportunity to go over what went wrong, what went right and what the plan is for the future quarter.
Company leaders should also consider holding a regular company-wide meeting at the beginning of the week where leadership can discuss important updates or issues the company is having and give all employees the opportunity to ask questions. This can be a quick 30-minute meeting that is structured by going over progress of the company’s goals for the quarter or another given time period.
Consider holding a company-wide meeting once a month that goes further in depth on the state of the company than the weekly meetings. The “state” of the company should be driven by where OKR progress stands. This is also a great opportunity for employees to participate by asking questions and making suggestions.
Now that you and your team are doing your updates and meetings at the beginning of the week, try checking in as a whole company or team at the end of week to discuss wins. This is a great way to celebrate successes for the week, and also to focus on what’s ahead. Part of OKR goal setting is celebrating when those goals are reached. Take a moment for some recognition to kickstart the weekend!
Want to learn more about OKR meetings and reviews? Read our article on OKR reviews to learn more.
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