Improve accountability through effective company meetings.

by Feb 7, 2023High Growth Businesses

Whenever two or more people work together, there are bound to be a few challenges among them. Working with many executives and leaders, we have found that the number one problem experienced in their work relationships, 9 out of 10 times, is ineffective communication. To improve this, we suggest a rather controversial solution- more internal meetings.

Sr. Ron Chernow, in his book ‘Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller’, writes about the business magnate’s routine and the lessons you can learn to improve your teams’ communication effectiveness and accelerate your company’s growth.

Every day, without fail, Rockefeller would have lunch with the four founders of Standard oil. As time went by and the company grew, these daily lunches came to include Rockefeller’s nine directors and they still met every single day. A century later, Steve Jobs adopted the same ritual, having lunch almost daily with Apple’s design legend, Johnathan Ive.

Is their success a coincidence, or should their consistent meeting rhythm receive credit? I argue it’s the latter.

These leaders, consciously or not, knew the root meaning of the word ‘company’. It is derived from the Latin words ‘com’ meaning together and ‘panis’ meaning bread. It originally described how merchants would gather and share stories as they ate and traded together.

By Rockefeller’s teams gathering each day, they would:

  • Get to know each other very well.
  • Strengthen their personal and professional bond and,
  • Have an opportunity to check in with one another about what was accomplished or encountered the previous day.

By breaking down his method, you too can learn from Rockefeller, a few tips to successfully run each meeting, improve communication within teams and accelerate the company’s growth rate.

Internal meetings, if done correctly and effectively, can greatly improve communication. They provide alignment, focus and offer an opportunity to solve problems more quickly.

You may be wondering ‘Don’t meetings waste a lot of time?’ Contrary to popular opinion, when done well, they can also save valuable time. When meetings are regularly scheduled, they serve as placeholders in everyone’s calendar, lessen ad-hoc interruptions and save everyone from having to constantly schedule them.

Having a meeting rhythm sets the heartbeat of the organisation and opens up lines for effective communication. If you as a leader want your organisation to move and grow faster, you will want to pulse faster. The better run your annual, monthly, weekly and daily meetings are, the greater your chance for success.

1. The Daily Huddle

The Daily Huddle is the most important building block of successful meetings. Although an absolute necessity, these should never run longer than fifteen (15) minutes each day. To encourage brevity, it’s also a good idea to have Daily Huddles as stand-up meetings.

Ideally, for improved productivity, the frontline employees should only be in one Daily Huddle while those in management can be in two – one with their leader and the other with their direct reports.

A typical agenda for a Daily Huddle should have 3 main parts that answer these questions:

  1. What do you need to do in the next 24 hours?
  2. What daily metrics are you tracking?
  3. Where are you stuck?

For your Daily Huddle to be successful:

  1. Ensure that everyone in your team gives specifics and avoids generalizations on what they are up to. These few seconds of details enable your team to compare what is being said with what they already knew and open a line for input from your teammates.
  2. Schedule the meeting at an odd time: e.g. 8:06 am or 04:04 pm. For some strange reason, people are more likely to be on time. Always start on time, and end on time, whether everyone is there or not.
  3. Pick someone who is naturally disciplined and structured to run the meeting (this doesn’t have to be the CEO). This is also the person who will request others to “Please take it offline” if the matter raised can be handled outside the meeting.
  4. Avoid trying to find out if someone completed a task they said they were going to at the previous Daily Huddle. As is often said, ‘Looking forward is great management; looking backwards is micro-management.’
  5. Anyone moving quickly will encounter challenges and constraints, so be alert for anyone who goes two to three days without reporting a constraint. It’s important to challenge the team member who says, “Everything is fine!”

2. Weekly Meetings

The goal of the Weekly Meeting is to ensure that everyone is laser-focused on the company’s No. 1 priority.

Once the Daily Huddles are working well, you will find that most of the items that clog weekly meetings are already taken care of. This will free up valuable time that can be used to tap the collective intelligence of the team for 30 minutes to an hour on 1 or 2 important topics. If you do the math, that means the team will have the opportunity to resolve about 50 to 100 important things each year.

Here is how the typical agenda for a Weekly Meeting looks like:

  1. Start will the good news (both professional and personal): 5 minutes
  2. The main priorities: 10 minutes
  3. Employee and customer feedback: 10 minutes

For your weekly meetings to be successful:

  1. Schedule about an hour to 90 minutes one morning or afternoon to host all of your functional and project meetings back-to-back. This will put everyone in the meeting mindset and flow and will subsequently free up the senior management to spend the rest of the week on other tasks.
  2. For the first 25 minutes, warm up by sharing enough data through reports so that team members can pick up trends and patterns. In the last 35 to 65 minutes, utilize the team’s collective intelligence to make important decisions.
  3. It helps to have the weekly meetings end before lunch or happy hour so that there is a more informal setting for the executives especially to discuss any issues that may arise during the structured part of the meeting.

3. Monthly Management Meetings

This meeting should include everyone who supervises anyone in the business. The monthly management meeting is a day of problem-solving.

It provides an opportunity to grow your middle managers and gives them a chance to help in solving the challenges faced by the company.

The agenda varies depending on the organisation, but generally, the management team will collectively tackle 1 or 2 big items.

4. Monthly Company Wide Meetings (Town Hall)

Some organisations may choose to have a monthly hour-long company-wide meeting to address a couple of larger issues, share the results of the weekly leadership team meetings and give direction — continuously revisiting the Strategic Plan.

In this meeting, it’s important for the CEO to highlight notable accomplishments, both by individuals and the company (most people find public praise a huge motivator for them) and share insights from board meetings and big partnerships, etc. The department heads should also give progress updates on department big news, OKRs and challenges.

The meeting calls for openness, allowing time for anyone in the organisation to bring up any issues and provide feedback on what is raised. In this meeting, people come together to learn, share ideas, find solutions, and grow as a team.

Although it’s in the spirit of openness and transparency, one of the biggest mistakes a CEO can make is to share important updates with everyone at the company-wide meeting without briefing the supervisors and middle managers first. Briefing all managers first, allows them to have a chance to process the information themselves before they are in a position to field questions from employees.

5. Quarterly Strategic Planning Meetings

Once every quarter, the leadership team should meet preferably offsite for a day to update the Company Strategic Plan and set the OKRs for all departments. The findings and conclusions from this are then passed on to the middle management and frontline workers during the next company-wide meeting. This helps keep everyone focused and aligned on the main priorities.

Here is a breakdown of the Strategic Planning Meeting:

The Past — Look back at the prior quarter and ask:

  • How did we do against our KPIs and OKRs?
  • How did the team function as a whole and as individuals?

The Future. Plan for the upcoming quarter

  • Update your Strategic Plan.
  • Dig into bigger issues/proposed solutions
  • Update the Organization Chart as well as Areas of Responsibility for each department
  • Update the Scorecards (measurable outcomes and responsibilities for each leader).
  • Review financials focusing on the company’s Cash Flow Story
  • Set the new company OKRs (which will then be passed on to each Department, Team and Individual).

Bond. This meeting allows you time to get to know and hopefully like each other to improve how you work together.

6. Annual Strategic Company Offsite

This is a two to three-day long offsite retreat that is useful for strategic planning for the following year and enables updating the longer-term objectives. Although this meeting has a similar agenda as the quarterly executive team meeting, it is more strategic in its scope. It focuses on the core principles and the company’s main audacious goals while letting members bond with each other as well as strengthening the leadership team.






Samuel Njoroge writes and speaks about Creativity, Strategy, Leadership and Productivity. 

Through his boutique firm, Azelea Coaching Advisory, he works directly with over 100 business leaders and entrepreneurs each year to help them design the necessary framework to achieve their biggest business targets. 

Invite SAMUEL to speak at your IN-PERSON OR VIRTUAL event.


Samuel's specialty is designing and breaking down complex projects to really simple steps. 


Samuel Njoroge Advisory
Luther Plaza, Nyerere Road
Nairobi, Kenya.

2021 © Samuel Njoroge Advisory Ltd.  
- All Rights Reserved

Help               Privacy               Terms