Certain types of meeting agendas require slightly more thought and consideration than others. An executive meeting agenda is one of these high-level meetings that demand valuable time to prepare so that you can execute the meeting to its full potential. Because an executive meeting or session requires the attendance of senior management and addresses important issues at the highest level, problem-solving for important issues is central to moving forward with key decisions. For this reason, every agenda item must be well considered so that the time is used wisely.
Because these meeting agendas can be a little tricky to put together, this article is going to cover what an executive meeting is, what their purpose is, what kinds of topics should be discussed, some pro-tips and of course, executive meeting agenda examples, so that you’re set up for success.
- What is an executive meeting?
- What is the purpose of executive meetings?
- What kind of topics should be discussed?
- Talking points to add to your agenda
- Pro tips for executive meeting agendas
What is an executive meeting?
Executive meetings are a meeting within an open meeting, which are typically company-wide board meetings. This type of meeting aims to address and give an opportunity for the board and senior management to meet in private and discuss pertinent, confidential, and sensitive information related to the organization. An executive team meeting may include solely the board members or may choose to include the leadership team, depending on the nature of information sharing.
The discussion and meeting notes from an executive meeting are considered to be completely confidential. Certain organizations, based on if they are public or private entities, may legally need to provide public access to meetings and meeting records. This type of meeting fosters strong discourse and strengthens trust and communication at a high level within the organization.
What is the purpose of executive meetings?
The purpose of an executive team meeting is to assure the confidentiality of important information, to create board oversight and independence, to strengthen the relationships between board members or to improve the synergies between board members, senior management, and in certain cases, professional advisors. Where certain points of discussion are more private, confidential and impactful, a more limited audience may be selected to be in attendance. Of course, the specific rationale for the executive team meeting will depend on the organization’s mission, culture and overall strategy.
Effective executive meetings start with a collaborative agenda
Executive meetings being booked without a purpose or going completely off-topic? Fellow’s collaborative approach transforms meetings into productive work sessions your executive team will want to attend.
What kind of topics should be discussed in executive meetings?
The kinds of topics that should be discussed during your executive meetings depend on specificities within the organization such as your mission, your goals and your organizational strategy. Without the Chief Executive Officer in attendance, topics can range from reviewing the organization’s financial audit, a discussion about the CEO’s performance or compensation, as well as any kind of alleged or inappropriate behaviour accusations against the CEO. If the Chief Executive is in attendance (which is most typical for this kind of meeting), topics can range from major business achievements or transactions, such as a merger, acquisition or real estate decision. Topics may also include crisis management or cases in which there are alleged or actual cases of improper conduct by a team member or a member of the board.
6 Talking points to add to your executive meeting agenda
- Top objectives
- Company wins
- Updates & FYIs
- Metrics / OKR progress
- Puzzles / Roadblocks
- Open action items
1 Top objectives
First, you want to make sure that you have an agenda for your weekly meetings that is compiled by either your CEO or COO. You can identify your top objectives through taking notes on a regular basis at your weekly status update meetings. That way, in advance of your executive team meeting, you can ask senior leadership to put forward what they would identify as the top objectives worthy of discussion in the executive team meeting. It’s essential for you to keep to the meeting agenda so that the executive meeting doesn’t turn into a status update.
2 Company wins
Motivation is necessary at every level of the organization, which is why it’s important to share company wins with the attendees of your executive team meeting. Identifying progress is motivating and will reassure senior management that all of their efforts and hard work is paying off. Giving recognition to your team will encourage each attendee to keep working hard and let them know that their efforts don’t go unnoticed, that they are appreciated and a valued member of the team.
3 Updates & FYIs
Things move quickly in business and it’s important that the senior members of the organization as well as the board members remain informed about any important updates, decisions and any crucial information. Along with asking for the attendees to identify what the top objectives may be to discuss in the executive team meeting, it may be worth also asking each week who has important updates or information that is going to impact the rest of the group and the way in which the company operates.
4 Metrics / OKR progress
As you continue tracking and measuring your company’s performance and successes through metrics or OKRs, it’s important to highlight any progress that has been made. Similar to highlighting your executive team’s wins, sharing what kind of metric, observable advancements have been made, will confirm that your strategy is well-aligned and producing observable results. Be sure to track the rate in which your metrics are moving so that you can use insights from the senior management or board to modify your targets as necessary. It’s also important to ensure that your executive meeting doesn’t become a planning meeting focused solely on metrics. For this reason, stick to your meeting agenda and the time that you’ve allocated to each topic.
5 Puzzles / Roadblocks
Something that should definitely be discussed during your executive team meeting is any challenges or roadblocks that any member has been facing. Because you have your top leadership in the same room, this is the best opportunity to have strategic discussions and debates. This is a time to directly and openly call out issues, where you can call out the most substantial problems that the company is facing and how each person can help in addressing them. This is where consensus building and important decision-making takes place.
6 Open action items
Someone should have the role of taking meeting notes and sharing them with the executive team after the meeting has taken place. Within these meeting notes, it’s extremely important to keep track of action items. Each action item should be outlined and assigned to a specific individual with a due date. This way, at each executive team meeting, you can review any action items that have not yet been completed, why they haven’t been completed and readjust actionable tasks accordingly.
4 Pro tips for executive meeting agendas
1 Don’t provide personal updates
Personal updates are for your weekly status update, which are separate meetings. The purpose of the executive team meeting is not to foster a roundtable environment, where each member discusses what they’re personally working on. It’s more important to focus on company-wide updates and how challenges or changes at the organizational level may impact the way in which the business runs.
2 Keep goals top of mind
Organizational goals are a main priority for the leadership team. Having a clear idea of your mission, your goals, objectives and your organizational strategy is going to ensure that you and the rest of the team remain aligned on what requires the most urgent attention, what your priorities are and what kinds of results your work is going to produce. When you keep your goals top of mind, you create the opportunity to modify the details of them accordingly, to ensure that you achieve them in the most effective manner.
3 Solve things together
Having the opportunity to have your leadership team in the same room is an incredible opportunity to tackle challenging issues. Each individual, whether part of the board or the company, has extensive experience in diverse areas. For this reason, the team should leverage each other’s insights, opinions and expertise on how to tackle the most difficult problems that the company is facing.
4 Think critically & assess if the format is working
Think about the way in which your executive team meeting is hosted and conducted. It’s important to consider if the meeting structure is effective and if the results of the meeting feel productive and like a good use of time. It’s a good idea to get feedback from the attendees after each meeting, so that you can continue to improve the way in which the meeting is conducted. This way, you ensure that you are using your valuable time well and getting the most out of your executive meetings.
Meeting agendas set you up for success, especially for meetings that require some deeper consideration and planning. Executive team meetings ensure that your senior leadership and board of directors are aligned on the company’s mission, goals, strategy and corporate approach. These leadership meetings also provide an important opportunity to strengthen relationships between those individuals who play key roles in ensuring the success of the organization. Using meeting agenda templates for this type of meeting is going to ensure that you use your valuable time effectively and productively, therefore setting up the company and its contributors for success.
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