What are the stakes for your Executive Committee?
The primary goal of the Executive Committee is to make the company’s vision and strategy work. It is, of course, the principal operator, where decisions, guided by this vision, are made in order to optimize the management and the growth of the company. Above all, it must be agile to ask the right questions about the company facing potential crises. But also, unifying when everyone is involved, and thus creates a strong common culture.
Its role is, without any doubt, needed for the proper working of any company.
A regular and structured Executive Committee brings numerous benefits: efficiency with shared priorities, decision-making and the monitoring of their practical application, and of course group cohesion.
However, a number of issues hinder the Executive Committee performance.
What are the objectives of an Executive Committee?
- Define action plans to achieve the company’s objectives
- Manage the progress of action plans and identify risks
- Make decisions
- Facilitate communication
- Strengthen the involvement of each employee
When the Executive Committee is not optimized, the impression of wasting time each week quibbling over details predominates, and half of the employees feel only marginally concerned by what has been said. These meetings get stuck in endless discussions. People will repeat what has been said in the past weeks and not bringing much new, or even encroaching on topics that may not necessarily be a priority for the achievement of your objectives. There is no real monitoring of what has been said in previous weeks and we leave it feeling that it has not been so productive given the time spent in meetings.
Also, without cohesion, it will be up to you, director, to make the link between each major function of your company, with all the inconveniences and limitations that this brings, such as the lack of solidarity between the different departments and the loss of time to reframe projects and objectives. We propose some essential rules to apply, so that your Executive Committee becomes a real strategic tool for the development of your company.
6 commandments for a successful Executive Committee
Commandment #1 – You will focus your teams with a pre-defined and prepared agenda:
The Executive Committee meeting implies preparing an agenda, so that each participant can prepare, in advance, the reporting elements or information necessary to make decisions.
Important criteria to take into account for setting up this agenda and make the meeting efficient are to clearly identify priority and strategic topics that require decisions and sharing. The Executive Committee must not be a chat room but a meeting allowing to deal with important topics that require decisions from the directors, strategic communication topics, the opportunity to upload on and download structuring information, but also a synthetic analysis meeting of key figures of the directions and projects.
Indeed, communication is the central pillar of a company, and the Executive Committee is the genesis of this communication. A clear communication with each direction sharing the stakes automatically leads to team cohesion. The first key to success for a team is the shared feeling that everybody heads in the same direction and pursue the same vision.
The topics to be discussed need to be prepared in advance and naturally know to everyone. Before the meeting, each participant must prepare the topics to be addressed. They can also enrich these topics and bring their ideas and clear propositions, so that decisions are made quickly. So, it is preferable to send the agenda before the Executive Committee, especially if new points are put forward for the next meeting, in particular if its need a preparation or a reflection.
Thus, in addition to saving a lot of time by starting meetings by the principal subject, your team will be more involved in the proper functioning of your Executive Committee.
Commandment #2 – You will restrict the number of participants to the minimum:
The Executive Committee is the meeting which serves, above all, to move the company forward in all situations. The first important decision is to build your Executive Committee team with only a few people representing a crucial role for the management of the company. The thing is to find the right compromise between the representative of all the major functions of the company and the right team size that will promote smooth running of the joint work.
The opening of an Executive Committee to too many people often lead to decision paralysis and a reduced engagement of participants in building your actions plans to drive your strategy forward.
It is better to use a “guest member” mode depending on the agenda: occasionally inviting the person having the expertise or the project responsibility needed, to help the Executive Committee to be better informed, or to make right decisions.
Commandment #3 – Your agenda shall start from the actions of the last meeting:
For each of these topics, it will be important to focus on the objectives and time frame. As the objective of the Executive Committee is to prepare the future of the company, it is not necessary to invest too much time on the analysis of past facts and results. It’s really important to stay focus on the future of the company.
So, this is important that from one Executive Committee to another, you do not need to start from the beginning of the subject, but to take up directly the action plans previously defined.
What has been said for the past weeks must be assimilated. Imagine the number of unproductive hours per month if at the beginning of a meeting you had to spend time reexplaining and keep trotting out facts and recaps from the previous meetings. The purpose of the Executive Committee is to save time for managers and employees. Instead of spending hours sharing ideas on subjects without formalism or preparation, it is important to start again from the observations, analyses and action plans already established during the last Executive Committee meetings.
To do this, you need a summary that includes the decisions and action plans of previous meetings.
As for the first commandment, this synthesis must be shared with the whole team.
Commandment #4 – The meeting history will be available at any time:
Everyone must be able to consult the history of the decided elements and action plans as well as their information in an easy and timeless way.
For all subjects that can lead to endless discussions, it is useful to be able to follow from one Executive Committee to another all the elements previously decided. This will avoid “unsaid things” or “yes, but” that may lead to recurrent feedback from the subject and loss of efficiency.
This not only helps your managers to prepare the Executive Committee in advance, but also to pick information from the history in order to better understand this or that process or decision.
You then have a solution to store all the content of your meetings in order to avoid wasting time searching for previous information.
Commandment #5 – You will prepare an operational report at the end of each Executive Committee:
During your Executive Committees, each member of your team will be mobilized and in charge of achieving the objectives set. Each member must know precisely what results are expected, for what dates and who is responsible for them.
The meeting report is the best way to ensure that the commitments and decisions made during the meeting are respected.
- Compliance with commitments: the report should list the actions in progress, and the actions to be carried out, and identify who is responsible for them. This precise action plan, well known to all, makes it possible to move from strategic discussion to implementation: everyone must do what has been said and written in the report.
- Respect for decisions: a report clarifies the decisions in order to avoid that each participant has their own interpretation.
The report should, if possible, be sent as soon as the meeting is over so that it can be used immediately.
Commandment #6 – You will manage your projects from your Executive Committee decisions:
You must avoid “pragmatic approaches” during your Executive Committee meetings and focus on “project approaches” to enable each employee to be involved and thus build a horizontal organisation.
Structure your activity into priority and strategic objectives and projects with one person in charge for each of them. The decisions defined by the Executive Committee will build the structural elements of your projects.
Thus, decisions taken by the Executive Committee are well integrated into your company’s activity and projects, managed by your employees.
These few rules are useful for the proper functioning of the Executive Committee. Implementation is not always an easy exercise, it requires both discipline and precision but also the mobilization of teams for the success of this moment of exchange and construction. But this energy will be rewarded both by the quality of your Executive Committee and by the development of a culture of collective performance within your team, satisfied employees will often tend to reproduce this collaborative organization in their teams.
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