The chief executive officer (CEO) is, without a doubt, one of the most important people in any organization.
As the CEO is responsible for being the face of the organization and setting the strategic direction, having them lead specific meetings can greatly contribute to the impact and importance of the meeting. CEO-led meetings also create opportunities for lower-level employees to feel connected with upper management and see the vision the company has for the future.
Below are the seven meetings CEOs should always lead (with free templates!), as well as a few useful tips for leading productive, results-driven meetings.
7 meetings every CEO should lead
- One-on-one meetings
- Retrospective meetings
- Town hall meetings
- Status update meetings
- Budget review meetings
- Business plan review meetings
- Feedback meetings
As the CEO sits on the top of the corporate food chain, they’ll have multiple managers reporting to them. And as with any one-on-one meeting, the more senior manager should always be taking the lead to help set the tone and direction for the call.
The significance of one-on-one meetings is quite unique. As Mark Horstman shared in Episode 49 of the Supermanagers Podcast,
“The single biggest predictor of management success is the score your direct reports give you when you ask them: how much do you trust your boss? If you get a high trust score, you’re going to be fine. If you get a low trust score, you’re gonna have to work really hard to even keep your head above water.“
Here’s a template that breaks down the typical structure of a one-on-one:
Retrospective meetings are important for the organization as these meetings help the organization to look back on recent activities and gauge successes vs. failures so teams can better approach similar situations on the next go. When retrospectives are covering large, multi-department projects, it’s helpful for the CEO to lead these meetings to ensure cross-company alignment and signify the importance of this review activity.
Below is a template for a bi-weekly leadership retrospective meeting. This type of retrospective meeting brings upper management together to discuss an overview of the past week’s activities.
3Town hall meetings
A town hall meeting is a great way to align all of your employees in the same strategic direction. Town hall meetings bring together all employees across the company to discuss major project updates, company announcements, and new corporate objectives and key results (OKRs). Since these items are dealt with at the highest level of the organization, it’s important they be delivered by the person who holds the most influence in those projects: the CEO.
Below is a template for starting your own weekly town hall meetings!
4Status update meetings
Status update meetings might not always require a CEO to lead them. However, if the status update is regarding a large project or has important clients in attendance, having the CEO lead the meeting helps reinforce the importance placed on that project. It can also improve relationship building if your company is working closely with an important client.
With the meeting agenda template below, you can structure your status update meetings to cover project updates, ideate solutions for roadblocks, and determine action items to continue the project forward.
5Budget review meetings
This one might sound like a no-brainer. At the end of the day, the CEO is the person managing the corporate bank account, so it makes a lot of sense for them to lead the conversation about budget reviews; this said, the budget review meeting is a discussion-style meeting across departments, so it’s important for the other C-level managers to take large roles in this meeting as well to best represent their departments and their needs. By having the CEO present and at the forefront, you can make decisions or get approvals on the spot if needed.
Here’s a meeting agenda template for running monthly budget review templates! At a monthly cadence, it’s easy to identify if you’re on track for the quarterly target without spending too much of other managers’ valuable time.
6Business plan review meetings
Similar to the situation with budget review meetings, it should be pretty clear why the CEO needs to lead the conversations surrounding business plan reviews. A main part of the CEO’s job is ensuring a healthy future for the company—one with lots of opportunity for growth, stability, and employee happiness. Having the CEO take lead in this meeting emphasizes the importance of the meeting discussion topics and ensures key stakeholders are aligned.
To help make your monthly business review meetings more effective, we’ve provided a template you can use!
Feedback meetings are important and can be practiced in one-on-ones, as a team, or across a wider set of managers or stakeholders. Feedback meetings, similar to retrospective meetings, take a look at what went well and what didn’t go so well in a given situation. However, feedback meetings also dive into more constructive action plan building for future plans. When working on large or high-priority projects or when working one-on-one with other C-level managers, the CEO should always take the lead in feedback meetings.
A 360-meeting is a type of one-on-one feedback meeting where the manager gets insights from others with whom their employee regularly works. Here’s a template to set up an agenda for your first 360 meetings!
Meeting best practices for CEOs
- Create a meeting agenda
- Share the agenda at least 24 hours before the meeting
- Send a meeting reminder
- Take meeting minutes
- Assign action items
- Send a meeting follow-up email
1Create a meeting agenda
Using a meeting agenda ensures your meeting structure is clean and easy to follow, flows in order of importance, and stays within a designated time frame. The meeting agenda also helps identify who will speak or present at specific times, which makes it easier for both the host and attendees to prepare their segments. Meeting agendas can be customized for each type of meeting, so it’s important to choose an agenda that works best for your needs—see all those great templates above if you’re looking for some inspiration!
2Share the agenda at least 24 hours before the meeting
Sharing the agenda at least one business day ahead of the call ensures that attendees know what they’re walking into on the call.
With company-wide meetings, it’s important to note that some meeting attendees (for example, other C-level managers or those preparing presentations) may need access to the meeting agenda even before the rest of the participants. These important attendees may also have feedback on the structure of the agenda, additional points to add, or documentation to share ahead of the call—all of which can be incorporated if enough time is given. In this case, consider having all of your feedback collected as soon as possible so the final agenda is still ready to share with the wider audience a day in advance.
3Send a meeting reminder
CEOs have incredibly busy calendars, and it’s easy to miss meetings.
Through meeting productivity tools like Fellow, you can automatically remind your attendees (and yourself!) to fill out the meeting agenda. This is great for meetings like one-on-ones where you want the other person to include their important points. Additionally, you can use this feature in larger meetings by allowing only specific meeting stakeholders to add meeting agenda items.
Run delightful meetings
Increase meeting engagement and productivity with a collaborative agenda that the whole team can contribute to. Try using a tool like Fellow!
4Take meeting minutes
When dealing with high-priority meetings, it’s incredibly vital to record meeting minutes. Doing so helps ensure success for future meetings by tracking what was said, what decisions were made, why those decisions were made, and who was assigned action items based on those decisions. Ultimately, having meeting minutes creates accountability within your team and provides a knowledge base of information to which anyone can refer in the future.
5Assign action items
Action items are another way to hold your team accountable. When working across multiple departments and with many stakeholders, it’s likely that some teams will be more capable of taking on certain tasks than others. In this case, you want to make sure you’ve clearly assigned an action item to a team manager responsible for ensuring the completion of that activity. Then, in future meetings, there is a specific person to whom people can direct questions about project updates and feedback.
Through Fellow, you can assign action items to specific individuals and share this information after the call for ease of communication.
6Send a meeting follow-up email
Making use of meeting follow-up emails is like putting a bow on top of a present. While possibly not necessary, it does complete the full meeting experience and ensure that everyone receives “the full package.”
In your meeting follow-up email, you can include the meeting notes, the recording (if applicable), action items, meeting survey questions, and a plan for the next meeting so everyone’s on the same page.
Being a CEO means there aren’t a lot of opportunities to take breaks. But, there are a lot of opportunities to make your day-to-day life more efficient. By taking the lead on these seven meetings and ensuring they’re managed well, you can be one step closer to leading a productive, high-achieving organization.