4 key tips for running a successful all-hands meeting
I've seen a full spectrum of all-hands meetings during my career. Sometimes they didn't exist, or were run badly; others were uplifting and inspiring, making you want to stand on the table and yell.
I have distilled my observations into four tips which will transform your all-hands meeting into a powerful, productive session.
1. Start holding an all-hands. As soon as your organisation no longer fits in a single room, you should start holding a regular all-hands meeting.
2. Set the right frequency. The frequency of your all-hands meeting will largely depend on the size of your organisation. It's important to balance the value of the information from the session with the productivity loss of having all staff attend. Most companies until they IPO hold them weekly, some slightly larger firms bi-weekly. If you are post IPO tech giant the trend seems to be now monthly, but that’s another story.
In addition to a companywide all-hands, as separate teams and divisions grow, they'll need their own all-hands meetings. This is a delicate balancing act and has wider cultural implications and trade-offs, however it is a practical reality that needs managing.
3. Involve the right people. The scale and importance of an all-hands meeting means that the senior leadership team should be intricately involved in preparing and delivering the content. But it should not just be a senior leadership event. The trick is to get the balance right so it reflects the whole company appropriately.
4. Structure the meeting well.
At a minimum your all-hands meeting should include these three components:
Recognition of people and accomplishments
Discussion of strategy and priorities
Q and A
It's a simple structure, but each component is vital for the success of the all-hands. Not every meeting needs every part. And certainly the balance shifts. Regardless always start with something positive, then deliver key messages and have the main discussion, and finally if tha is the focus on the meeting give the opportunity for questions and feedback.
Oh and keep it real, make it interesting and have some fun. It is supposed to reflect your culture after all!
TAKEAWAY: By implementing these few simple tips, you can elevate your all-hands meeting, engage your employees and strengthen the top-down communication in your organisation.