When my co-founder, Dave, and I heard from our executive coaches that we should start holding weekly update meetings, we were incredulous.
Up to that point, we’d been holding quarterly update meetings and the occasional monthly meeting. Just the thought of giving a presentation every week was overwhelming.
But our coaches assured us that it would eventually become second nature. They also gave us a crucial insight: The meeting isn’t for us—it’s for the team. Dave and I do sometimes present, but more often than not, another team member explains what their department is working on and how it affects the rest of the company.
They were right. It didn’t take long for us to settle into a rhythm with these meetings. And the benefits to our company-wide communication and collaboration have been enormous.
If you aren’t already holding a weekly team meeting, here’s why you need to consider starting.
A weekly all-hands meeting shows people what’s going on at a high level.
Each meeting is a chance for people to understand the great projects and initiatives other teams are leading.
That’s why the schedule of presenters is set by our leadership team. A team leader decides that someone on their team should share a timely and important project they’re working on, and they’ll nominate that person to speak during an upcoming all-hands meeting. For example, if we’re about to launch a new creative campaign, then someone from marketing will be nominated, and we’ll add them to the list.
Usually, Dave and I spend a few minutes introducing the speaker (or speakers) and the topic. Then, the next 15 minutes is focused entirely on the presentation. That leaves us with 10 minutes at the end for a Q&A session, which I typically join to help answer any high-level company questions.
All in all, the meetings are 30 minutes and are run by as many as three people. This setup keeps the meeting concise while still allowing people to step out of their bubble at work.
It gives team members the chance to talk about their work.
Realistically, the meeting presentations shouldn’t be a massive amount of extra work. Ideally, team members already have most of the materials they’re presenting and just have to reframe them into a tight, 15-minute presentation.
The great thing about this is that the presenters really own the meeting. It’s a chance for them to talk about what they’re working on, where they see this project going, and how it fits into our larger strategy.
With roughly 150 people watching, it’s a moment for the team to be proud of their work and the impact it’s having within the company.
It connects different teams and improves collaboration.
The larger a company gets, the harder it becomes to communicate and align everyone around common objectives.
The weekly all-hands meetings are so effective because they create an awareness of what everyone else is doing. For example, one of our charitable projects at ThirdLove is a bra donation program. Our team knows about the program, but of course it’s not always top-of-mind for every team. But if the leader of the donation program speaks about the logistics, efficacy, and impact of the work during an all-hands meeting, that might flip a switch for someone in marketing. So they experiment with content to share the donation program on Instagram and in customer emails.
That’s a major perk of the meeting: for people in different areas of the company to realize how something outside their natural scope might affect them and how they can better collaborate cross-functionally.
It helps leadership roll out initiatives.
We’ve also used all-hands meetings to introduce and explain new company-wide initiatives.
When we rolled out our new performance review process, for instance, we used an all-hands meeting to make sure the team understood why we were doing these reviews, why they mattered, and what they meant for the company.
In a case like that, the Q&A is essential because it allows people to get clarity on the initiative and clear up any lingering questions while the information is still fresh in their minds. As a leader, it gives you the opportunity to explain why you’re doing something, why now, and what’s next.
Weekly all-hands meetings are an opportunity for everyone to continue learning about what’s happening within the company and feel connected to different projects and initiatives they may otherwise never even know about.
When everyone is aware of what’s going on in different areas of the company, you end up with better communication, more collaboration, and an increasingly efficient business.