Planning Effective Meetings Template


One of the most frustrating elements of many managers’ calendars are meetings. If you ask people they mostly believe there are too many participants, that meetings take too long, and that some individuals talk too much and venture off-topic. And most people are unable to remember what was decided or which actions came out of the meeting. The tool I am sharing helps a chairperson to prepare for a meeting and it helps him or her communicate the specific overall objectives for the meeting and also for every agenda item.

Some of the meeting maladies mentioned above can be cured simply by creating and distributing an agenda to participants before having the meeting. This tool goes further though – it also helps to create clarity around each agenda item’s purpose in informing participants or driving decision-making to move a project or initiatives forward.

The template you can download above contains an example to illustrate its use. Just replace the agenda items shown with your own meeting agenda items and then complete each column as demonstrated to clarify who is responsible for each agenda item, the purpose of each item, and the allocated time and desired outcome for each of the agenda items.  Do share the objectives, time available and expected outcomes with those who are assigned to each agenda item – it helps him or her be prepared to guide the conversation and discussion accordingly.

Suggestions

  • Even with an agenda and a well-planned meeting there may be times when things need to change as it becomes clear that a critical issue requires to be solved right-away.  Give yourself the leeway to abandon the agenda for a particular meeting to deal with such a highly critical and important issue or set another meeting right after the planned meeting to address the issue.
  • Some successful chairpersons make use of meeting “agreements” or “ground rules” to further improve the quality of the meeting. Some have items such as “each speaker gets a maximum of 1 minute to make his or her point” and “we debate issues and we respect the opinions of others.”
  • To know if your meetings are getting better – get feedback from your meeting participants. Take a few minutes at the end of the meeting to ask what went well and what could be better in future – exactly how. Reviewing the feedback when you plan the next meeting can help you to be mindful of further improvements that can be included going forward.

I hope this tool helps you plan your next meeting and move closer to having productive meetings which helps you progress your project or initiative as you had hoped.

Preparing to give employee feedback – Template


feedback

Giving and receiving feedback especially around undesired behavior can be a daunting task. Not only is it typically hard for employees to hear corrective feedback, but it is also typically hard for managers and supervisors to give that kind of feedback. It nevertheless remains an important part of ensuring that performance expectations are set and met.

This template helps a manager or supervisor think through the important aspects of giving feedback to an employee and helps to plan and prepare for the actual feedback meeting.

The template and approach also helps plan positive feedback to employees. This aspect is often neglected, but equally valuable in helping employees understand what specific actions and communications are valued and should be continued.

Some reminders:

  • Never give important feedback via an email or sending this worksheet to the employee. It should always be done in person or at least through a phone or video call. – if an in-person meeting is not possible.
  • The feedback should be given as soon as possible after the event to minimize surprises at the structured annual performance feedback meetings and to ensure the employee still has a good recollection of the situation or event that took place.
  • Do allow the employee to respond once you have shared the feedback to ensure that your message is understood by the employee and to allow you to understand any nuances to the situation which you may not have been aware of.
  • It is always a good idea to agree on a check-in moment at some time in the future. This is an opportunity to see if the employee may have further questions or comments at that time or perhaps he or she has been working on improving a particular skill related to the feedback you had shared and perhaps he or she could have some successes to share with you!

Sharing feedback with an employee, when it is not positive, can be tough to execute even with a tool like this. It depends a lot on your own style for managing conflict and whether you prefer to avoid conflict or situations where people may be upset with you. Take some time to learn more about your own conflict management style if giving feedback to employees remains a challenge for you even when you have used the template to prepare for the conversation.

Communication Plan


writing plan

Whenever you plan to make changes to a system, a process, a strategy or generally change the environment that people work in you will need to communicate. Specific messages need to be scripted and planned to help communicate the change that is coming, why things are changing and how things are progressing with the change initiatives.

Stakeholders in the change process could have different information needs and messages will need to take that into consideration. Identifying stakeholder groups starts by making a list of the groups of people who would be affected by the change. Think about functions, think about geographic locations, think about management levels, think about people outside your company who may be affected, think about vendors or partner companies.

Communication messages could be intended to explain why things have to change, what is going to change, when and how it is going to change, how the change is going (progress update) and what (if anything) people need to start doing, stop doing or what should change in the way they have acted in the past.

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Post-survey Action Plan


You just looked through the results from your employee satisfaction or engagement survey. What is the most important action you need to take now? Develop a realistic action plan to address the highest priority areas of concern and then communicate that.

The first template I am sharing helps you to describe and be clear on which specific feedback you plan to address. Then capture planned actions and make sure they are measurable and include a definition of done. How will you know that this action have been completed?

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Training Needs Analysis


Templates

Understanding what kind of training you should plan to provide to employees depends on a number of factors such as:

  • Company strategies for growth and developing into new markets or expanding in existing markets – what skills would be needed?
  • Based on current performance – which skills need to be introduced and which skills should be improved upon?
  • Looking at employee career goals, which skills do you need to focus on in order to help move employees to being promotion-ready?
  • Which skills do managers believe would help their teams succeed better given performance targets and customer demands?

Tools

Here are three tools that can help you with conducting a training needs analysis. The first tool highlights individual training needs per employee and is based on employee self assessments. The second tool is a training needs view from a manager’s perspective focusing on the top 3 highest training needs for each employee in his/her group/team/department. The last tool helps you budget for the planned training.

  • Self-rated individual training needs. The quality of the results you obtain from this tool depends on whether you have a good career development tool/framework in place, motivated employees who maintain and work on their own development plans on an on-going basis and whether your managers/supervisors provide quality performance feedback to employees on a regular basis.
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