Connect with us

Success Advice

How a Properly Planned Agenda Eliminates Ineffective Meetings

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

Organizations spend a great amount of time throughout the course of a year in meetings. Meetings should always be meaningful, organized, and necessary. Unfortunately, too many meetings I have sat through fit what a friend once told me, “Meetings are people sitting around talking about things they ought to be doing.” I can recall many meetings I attended through my career wishing I could have been in my office working!

I think meetings are more fruitful if they are preceded by a comprehensive Planning Meeting at the beginning of the year. The purpose of this initial meeting is to get everyone on the same page for the upcoming year.

University of St. Francis Athletics

Our full-time people in the St. Francis athletic program would annually meet approximately two weeks after the May final exams. We met to review the past year and to plan for the upcoming year which began in late July with our fall athletes arriving for preseason practices. We devised a simple, but comprehensive, plan to prepare for the upcoming year. Our full-time people blocked out four hours – from 8:00am -12:00pm – for one week to plan for the new year. This gave us 20 hours set aside for one thing: Planning.

As the Athletic Chair, I brought the agenda to the meeting. Our first order of business was to study the agenda and add important items that I missed. We then reviewed the previous year by having each person review his goals. I don’t ever remember accomplishing all my goals, so I reviewed mine first. By doing this, everyone knew that it was okay not to achieve all your goals. Those not achieved could be carried into the upcoming year.

The agenda was divided into two areas – “Priority Items” and “All-Other Items.” We first discussed the Priority Items, the most important things we had to face for the coming year. We then developed an action plan for each of the Priority Items. 

The All-Other Items were primarily setting dates for annual functions we had to plan for like banquets, community/fundraising events, the golf outing, and all other date-related events. These dates were important because they needed the cooperation of other busy University Departments like Food Service and Maintenance. The sooner we gave these dates to our cooperating departments, the better for their planning.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein

It was my job to take copious notes of our discussions so I could write our annual Planning Document. It was a simple document delineating the items we had to accomplish for the new year. We then sent the document to both our full-time and part-time personnel.

Each full-time person would write his goals for the coming year, especially integrating the Priority Items into these goals. We had many more part-time, off campus, coaches than our full-time people. The Planning Document was sent to every part-time coach so they could read it prior to our combined full and part-time personnel meeting.

In mid-July, we held our total department meeting. Each full-time person would speak to his responsibilities within the Planning Document. By doing this, our part-time people had the opportunity to read the document prior to the meeting and then listen to it come alive as the full-time people presented their portion of the document.

When our full-time personnel finished their presentations, we opened the meeting to our part-time people for their input. They always offered points we had missed and subsequently could add to our planning. This format enabled us to have all our people on the same page to face the upcoming year. 

At mid-term we would meet with our full-time people and get a progress report on each person’s goals. We would get final reports at our year-end meeting as well. We would then review the goals and begin the planning cycle for the next year.

This format allowed us to not have meetings for meetings sake. We met when we had to plan for important events or when problems arose. These meetings were both organized and necessary. At all other times we were in our offices working.

Final Thoughts

From our experience, I would recommend four thoughts for your consideration:

  • I would encourage you to meet with your principal people and write an annual Planning Document.
  • I would encourage you to share the Planning Document with all of your people.
  • I would encourage you to have your principal people write their goals in concert with your Priority Items.
  • Although you will not accomplish all your goals each year, I believe you will be surprised at ALL you do achieve due to this format.

I hope you find that some of our planning details can be integrated into your planning.

Pat Sullivan was a successful coach, teacher, and administrator in the Chicago area for 44 years – 10 years at the high school level and 34 at the collegiate level. His basketball teams won 602 games; he was named Coach-of-the-Year 11 times; and he has been inducted into 8 Halls of Fame. He has received Lifetime Achievement awards from Lewis University, the Joliet, Illinois, Chamber of Commerce, and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. Pat has offered basketball clinics and camps in Austria, Ireland, Belgium, and Greece and has spoken at clinics throughout America for the USA Coaches Clinics. He has also spoken to business executives from IBM, Accenture, and Sun Microsystems, as well as the University of Notre Dame’s Play Like A Champion conference. He is the author of Attitude-The Cornerstone of Leadership and Team-Building: From the Bench to the Boardroom.

Success Advice

3 Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

Imagine you’re the head of a $250 million company. Sounds great, right? Except you’re challenged with your level of success. In fact, your anxiety is so overwhelming that you walk out of an exclusive CEO event to talk to your executive coach. Without that support, you wouldn’t be able to return to a room filled with other leaders — most of whom aren’t running businesses worth nearly as much as yours. (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

4 Lessons I’ve Learned From Sending 3 Million Emails

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

As an entrepreneur, the heart of your business lies in your email marketing efforts. Sixty-four percent of small businesses use email marketing to reach their customers. Each year this percent will grow because email marketing can turn a fledgling business into the leader of the pack. What you do with those emails matters. Whether you’re a branding coach that helps newly service-based women or you’re like me – an expert content freelancer helping others learn to make a business online –at the end of your email marketing efforts, you’ll hopefully come away with lessons for improvement. I learned these lessons from sending three million emails. (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

3 Investments That Are Better Than a College Degree

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

Let’s look at the facts: the average college student leaves school with $30,000 in debt (according to U.S. News), the unemployment rate increased to 7.2% (up from 4.7%) for 2020 college grads (CBS News), and on average, tuition costs inflate by 8% every year (FinAid). (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

8 Traps to Avoid When Making Fact Based Decisions

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

Many people pride themselves in trusting their gut when it comes to decision making. You may have heard that successful leaders have excellent gut instincts. Don’t be misled by this broad statement. The gut, regardless of how skilled it may be, can trap the best of us into a cycle of poor decisions. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending