Many businesses fail to have a formal approach to the meetings and the decision making methods of the owners and managers. Large Public Companies have a Board of Directors and a strict Corporate Governance system that defines their behaviours. SMEs are traditionally run in a less formal manner however their performance will be improved by adopting some of the approaches of large business. We recommend that business owners and management should meet regularly to ensure that their business is managed efficiently and effectively.
I recently wrote about the use of business performance reporting as a management tool and the data obtained in this process will provide a basis for an effective meeting. Gathering the data is essential for a properly managed business however it is only the first step. The real value comes from the analysis of the data and the decisions that result from considering the implications on business performance. The valuable insights provided are wasted if they are not utilised to assess recent results against the business’ benchmarks and to make adjustments to the implementation of strategy and consideration of any changes.
We suggest that business have a structured approach to directors/management meetings which is a task that can be achieved with some planning. By implementing the following actions your business will be well on its way:
Set a regular date for example the 3rd Friday of every month & have all attendees include it in their diary. The date should allow enough time to gather the information on the prior month performance.
- Appoint a Chairman who will prepare the agenda and run the meetings
- Develop an agenda that can be used as a template. An example of the items to include is below
- Invite additional agenda items prior to the meeting
- Stick to the agenda at the meeting
- Take minutes at the meeting ensuring that there is an action column and the person responsible included
- Attendees sign off on the minutes at the next meeting
- Follow up on the action items from prior meetings by having them set as carry forward agenda items
- For critical business areas appoint a person responsible for reporting to the meeting – for example the sales update.
The agenda is an important tool for a successful meeting. Each business’ agenda items will be different but there will be common threads. The agenda should ensure that the meeting runs efficiently & covers the critical areas.
A sample agenda could include:
- Sign off of the prior meetings minutes
- Carry forward agenda items
- Financial performance
- Marketing & business development
- Human resources
- Physical resources