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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

What you're doing wrong with your all-hands

If your all-hands meetings are not living up to expectations, maybe you're doing them wrong. Don’t worry you are not alone, and most likely it is easy to fix.

All-hands, when done right, are powerful meetings for an organisation. Make sure you're avoiding these common mistakes.

Don’t be reactive

You shouldn't be holding your all-hands meeting in response to a crisis or to urgently communicate a message. Your all-hands sessions should occur at regular intervals and follow a consistent pattern. They should be there through the good times and the challenges.

If the timing of your all-hands is not matching your communication needs, consider increasing the frequency. Most likely it is weekly or bi-weekly.

Don’t force the message

Keep the messaging of your all-hands honest and don’t let it get too polished. Your employees live and breathe your organisation and they will know if you aren’t being straight with them. As you scale you will hire professional help of course, but still aim to keep things real and don’t loose the magic of your particular culture.

Let the messaging be natural, messy and even unscripted.

Don’t be dry

Keep the meeting engaging and free from boring financials or status updates which are better conveyed in written form.

Don’t steal the spotlight

Reserve around half the meeting for presentations by non-executives. So many members of your team can contribute great insights and ideas. Give them a chance to stand in the spotlight. I always recommend that a non-executive is the ‘MC Host’.

Finding the right extrovert to do this who embodies the company values, is high-EQ and is trusted by the senior management is probably the biggest game changer.

Don’t force attendance

Many leaders force attendance at the all-hands. This is a huge mistake. Make the meeting optional and use attendance levels as a guide to how effectively you're executing the sessions. If attendance is low or falling, it is time to try something new.

TAKEAWAY: If you're guilty of any of these all-hands mistakes, it's time to make some changes before your next one.


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