Its said that the meeting is a practical alternative to work. We know one bank CEO in Oregon that removed all his chairs from a conference room under the concept that a meeting should never last so long that people get tired of standing. Many other banks adhere to the one pizza rule that says you only invite enough participants that can be fed off one pizza (preferably non-garlic). While we are not big fans of meetings, they can be practical if they have an objective, an agenda, follow up action items and a sense of teamwork. More importantly, they should have an overarching purpose. Here are three meetings that you may not be having now, but you should:
The Vision Meeting
After goals are set, once a year, management should not only present a set of objectives, in order of priority but should take the time to reinforce the bank’s vision. People are not motivated about what you are going to do; they are motivated by why you are doing it. Keeping the “Why” front-and-center will be both motivating and efficient. We like it when banks start this meeting with a general question and discussion from employees on “How do you want the Bank to look a year from now?” Talking about, and agreeing, on the brand, customer focus, financial goals, training, staffing, and culture will help solidify plus validate concrete objectives. The process will help support Company-wide buy-in. Without defining and communicating such goals, and not getting company support, success will be elusive.
While many banks have an annual “kick-off meeting” like the one above, few follow up on them. The key to vision achievement is to break the annual goals down into smaller monthly and department goals (discussed HERE) that can be more easily be achieved without being overwhelming.
These smaller team meetings start with a review of the previous month’s goals and then focus on what needs to be done differently to achieve any missed goals. While these meetings are the perfect time to highlight any corporate communication, the heart of the meeting is focused on accountability and problem-solving. Here, it is important to have each employee take accountability for what they agreed to do the previous month. At the end of each meeting, each employee should be given one minute to state at least one goal they want to achieve in the coming 30 days that is aligned with the Bank’s vision. The meeting is also the time for managers to get group input on important problems.
While the monthly update meeting is all about the team, the semi-weekly check-in meeting focuses on the development of the individual. It is the manager's job to “check-in” with everyone on the staff at an individual level to ensure they are on the right track, have all their questions answered and have the resources they need. Here, we love the “walking meetings” where both sides get some exercise to stimulate creativity, get healthier and reduce stress in an informal setting. This can be one-on-ones or in small groups that also have an objective to solve a particular problem.
Putting This Into Action
Meetings are mostly despised because they tend to degrade to general discussions where decisions aren’t made. They are also notorious for updating everyone with information that could have been routed on email, a project plan or Slack. Finally, it is also a pet peeve of ours that the default meeting time is usually an hour when something less could be more effective.
Having clear objectives and a process of accountability to turbo-boost your meetings, so goals get accomplished is one of the best ways to change the culture in the bank. No matter if it is a credit meeting, loan sales, product design or risk, running meetings with a purpose will help morale, performance and may eliminate the need for both chairs and pizza.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on January 02, 2019