Operations meetings are among the most important types of meetings – there’s no overstating how crucial it is to hold high-level check-ins with management and leadership. But there are plenty of challenges with holding effective operations meetings. After all, you can really get in the weeds with cost reports, resource-sharing and expensive approvals. None of that stuff is the most exciting, even though being in the room with everyone else is always fun.

So the question becomes: How can you make your weekly operations meetings as engaging and productive as possible? It’s simple – with a few tips, tricks, and adjustments, you’ll have an awe-inspiring, fine-tuned, and fresh approach. 

What is an operations meeting?

An operations meeting is a weekly meeting where executives, managers, and team leads have a high-level conversation about procedures and operations. It’s often a time for everyone to examine the organization’s workflow, goals, wins, and setbacks. In other words, it’s a way for the whole C-suite to get on the same page, and the benefits of that speak for themselves. 

That said, an operations meeting isn’t all high-fives, presentations, and record-breaking sales numbers. It’s also a chance to figure out how to improve. And with so much important information on the table, your meeting can quickly go astray without proper meeting management. So for this melding of the minds, don’t skimp on the prep work and follow-through!

Great meetings are just the start

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7 tips on how to make your operations meetings effective

Here are seven tips to make your future operations meetings better for everyone – even the team members who don’t attend them. 

1Use the same agenda during each quarter

A meeting agenda is the backbone of any great meeting, but there’s more to it than just topics and bullet points. For your operations meetings to be effective, your agenda should be roughly the same throughout the quarter. 

It’s easier to keep using the same agenda if you set objectives and key results (OKRs). This way, you have both lofty destinations and a way to reach them. Your big aspirations and roadmaps can be your agenda items. They can also guide your meeting action items and keep everyone focused on the bigger picture. 

Marissa Goldberg, founder of RemoteWorkPrep, has the following to say on the value of meeting agendas. “If I do have a meeting,” she says, “There is a clear agenda with expectations, only necessary people are invited, and decisions and action items are sent following the meeting.”

2Put it on the calendar 

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s here because even executive teams so often forget about it. An event on a person’s calendar can make them way less likely to miss a meeting, especially if it’s there every week. A meeting notification can also remind someone who’s in the zone that they need to pause and head to your operations meeting. Think of it as a gentle nudge out of your head and into the conference room. 

3Begin with positive news 

Although an operations meeting involves pinpointing weak spots, starting with the negatives sets the wrong note from the get-go. It’s best to focus on the positives first, especially if your operations meeting kicks off your week. The opportunity to share what’s going well and celebrate with everyone can boost morale and enthusiasm across the board. So dedicate the first agenda item to spotlighting team victories – with good news comes good meetings. 

4Keep conversations on track 

Any meeting has the potential to go off the rails. Seriously – any time you get people in a room, there’s the possibility of chatter and side conversations. And while you won’t be able to entirely eliminate these distractions, you can rein them in when tangents go beyond the 20-second mark. That’s another reason why a clear agenda is so important. Think of it as your operation meeting’s North Star, forever guiding you in the right direction.  

5Check in on goals

Like any meeting, an operations meeting is largely about walking that fine line between information and follow-through. Presentations, charts, and graphs about how things are going can be great; using them to figure out where you’ll go next is even better. Get a status update on that latest project and an ETA on completion. When everyone is honest and open about this all, everything can more easily go to plan. 

6Cross off certain to-do list items right in the meeting

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” and that’s great advice for operations meetings. You know those little notes you make to yourself about sending a team member a calendar invite or giving someone access to an important file? You can easily take care of those within seconds right during the meeting rather than noting them as next steps. 

7Finish on time

Meetings are best when they’re thorough yet short and sweet. That means ending them on time. Plus, since operations meetings are a team meeting that occurs weekly, you want everyone to trust in a reliable hard stop. This way, they don’t start dreading that weekly operations meeting that goes too long. And if you need more time on a subject, have no fear – just ask for a follow-up meeting. 

Who attends an operations meeting?

Attendees for an operations meeting can vary, but typically, managers, leaders, and executives are in the room. Beyond these key players, you might find a host of other team members. In some industries, it’s common to gather each and every team member for a status update. This big check-in can kick off the week with transparency and get everyone in on all the wins and losses. It’s a good opportunity to share important updates with the entire team. 

Keep your operations smooth 

When you’re in control of your meetings and you stick to a well-defined meeting agenda, there’s nothing your team can’t accomplish. And if you follow the above tips, your operations meetings will probably go super well. Fellow makes checking all those boxes easier – you and your team can build great meeting habits through collaborative agendas, real-time note-taking tools, and time-saving templates. You can hold everyone accountable, help them improve, and drum up their enthusiasm – and take your operations meetings to the next level.