Your company's success depends on having more meetings. I'm assuming that's not what you wanted to hear. My general stance on meetings is that in most cases, they aren't necessary and an email detailing the information you want to convey will suffice.
So, why do I want you to have 25 more meetings each year? The meetings I recommend relate specifically to achieving your annual goals. Here's how:
One big-picture meeting
Once a year, your management team should meet to set goals for the upcoming year. If you don't have a formal "management team," this group should include those who oversee key functions of your business such as marketing and manufacturing. Typically, this group should be comprised of up to seven individuals.
The goals you set include your financial metric goals for revenues and net profit you'd like to achieve. They also include your "business asset" goals, such as attaining new customers, building new products and recruiting and training new employees. Without defining such goals, success will be elusive.
Running this meeting is easier than you might think. Start by asking this question: How do we want our company to look a year from now? Use this question to gain consensus on your annual financial metrics and goals. Then, work with your team to determine what needs to be done to achieve these goals.
Related: 3 Tips to Make the Most of Meetings
Monthly goal meetings
The key to attaining your annual goals is to break them into smaller monthly goals that you can successfully achieve.
Meet with your team at the beginning of each month. Start the meeting with a 15-minute recap of the previous month. What were the company's monthly results? Did you meet or exceed your goals? If not, what happened, and what do you need to do differently this month?
In discussing your prior month's results, have each key employee take five minutes to report back on the goals they set for themselves for that month. Which ones did they achieve and which didn't happen? Why?
Finally, set your overall goals for the current month. Take 15 minutes to discuss what your company can realistically accomplish as a team. At the close of your meeting, give each member about a minute to state at least one goal they plan to personally achieve.
If you stick to a structured time schedule, assuming you have seven employees in the meeting, it should last approximately an hour and fifteen minutes.
Have someone take notes that you then share with the team. After the meeting, each team member should identify five to seven specific goals they will achieve that month. Have them post their goals using an online collaboration tool, such as Google Docs, where everyone can view them.
The next meeting is your mid-month meeting. During this meeting, have each employee state the progress they've made on their five to seven specific monthly goals. Importantly, if any goal seems like it will not be accomplished, collectively figure out how you can meet it. Also discuss how the overall company is doing and whether you are on track to meeting your monthly goals. If not, figure out what the team must do to get back on track. Budget approximately one hour and fifteen minutes for this meeting.
Most business owners wait until the end of the month to determine whether results were positive. Your mid-month meeting provides timely insight as to whether your company is doing well so you can course-correct if needed.
Employees despise most meetings because they are either irrelevant or boring. Conversely, employees usually enjoy these meetings because they have a voice and can shape your company's strategy and goals. As a result, their morale and performance increase dramatically.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Dave Lavinsky is the co-founder of Growthink, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs identify and pursue new opportunities, develop business plans, raise capital and build growth strategies. He also is the author of Start at The End (Wiley, 2012).