Meetings are one of the most expensive overhead costs of organizations. If your team is like most, meetings pop up like weeds. Then, we spend our much-valued time sitting in them rather than getting work done. But then, there are the meetings where the cost not to have them is greater than the cost of the meeting itself.
Soon after any new hire starts at TiER1, they start to hear murmurs about the ACM, otherwise known as the All Company Meeting. It’s the time in September when the entire company comes together for an experience that taps into our emotions and blurs the line between meeting and celebration. It’s a big event (read: ritual) that requires a considerable investment of time and money. And yet, it’s a huge priority for us.
To help you understand why we continually make this investment, here’s a glimpse of what happened at our 2017 ACM:
TiER1 prioritizes this event because we feel that creating space to reflect, connect, and celebrate is critical. It makes us stronger as a company. Most importantly, it inspires us—individually and collectively—to realize our potential in the months that follow.
It’s about reflection.
In the book Leadership Is an Art, Max DePree shares, “The question of what we can be lies within us, for whatever we do expresses the character of the people who are this company.” Reflecting on who the company is, why it exists, and the stories of how we got to where we are today allows each person (no matter their tenure) to reflect on their impact and potential within the organization. (And it’s intentional that we minimize the what.) Allowing employees to be a voice in sharing these stories allows each new TiER1 generation to add their language and create the story for the next generation. This also demonstrates how important your employees are to the organization.
Idea: You can foster opportunities for reflection by inviting employees to deliver “TED talk” presentations. Encourage them to intentionally reflect on the journey and history of your organization. Crowdsource content from others in the organization so the experience includes words and sentiments that resonate across the organization.
It’s about connection.
Connection allows your people to think about themselves in relation to other employees and to the company. Every ACM is intentionally designed so that employees from different markets and disciplines build and strengthen bonds that lead to trust and compassion. In addition, it connects employees to the mission, vision, and values of the organization. As Brené Brown shares in Daring Greatly, “What we know matters but who we are matters more.” When we can capture who we are in a narrative that every individual feels a part of, then we can embrace and communicate who we are to others.
Idea: Throughout the day, focus less on the content of your strategy and focus more on the why behind your organization and strategy. You could even incorporate some pre-work that encourages your people to think through what their why is, what they value, and how it connects to your company.
It’s about celebration.
“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it,” shares Simon Sinek in Start with Why. When we celebrate who we are and the gratitude we have for each other, we inspire continued growth. The human spirit needs to have time away from the daily grind. Taking a break as an organization allows people to fill each other’s spirit and see that they are surrounded by a community who believe in the organization. It keeps culture healthy and further builds connections, especially when we harness the energy post-event. It allows us to continue to close the gap between our performance and our potential.
Idea: Awards and recognition are one way to incorporate gratitude and appreciation. However, considering the flow, quality, and experience of the event are just as important in demonstrating that you value your employees and their time.
Making your meeting a must-have.
With the right planning and objectives, meetings can be a powerful and needed platform for connecting employees to each other and the organization—with a benefit that far outweighs the costs of time and money. From solving problems (think Kaizen or choose your own A-thon events) to articulating your organization’s why, an investment in meaningful meetings can be an investment in a thriving culture. These are the meetings that make team cohesion a little stronger; adoption of your next initiative a little easier; and outcomes for your customer a little higher. And that is what will cut down on the “weeds” from your calendar.