The Meeting That Changed Our 100+ Person Company
Three reasons you should have a company-wide standup every day, even as you grow.
In today’s business environment, where things change so quickly, a monthly goal qualifies as a long-term goal. Setting the right monthly goals is hard; hitting them is even harder. Companies of all sizes struggle with this. It’s an important skillset for an organization to master, though — monthly targets are rallying points to denote progress, and consistently hitting them enables better capital planning.
So, how do you get better at it? You become a data-driven company. Not a company led by data-driven executives; a data-focused company. That involves deep cultural change. The fastest way to achieve that total makeover is to talk about your monthly goal pacing every day…with your entire company.
At Palmetto Solar, where I worked as CTO from 2016–2019, I saw this total transformation. Palmetto is a fast-growing startup in the clean energy space. We had the right strategy; we had the right leadership; and we had product-market fit. While growth continued to be strong, we started to struggle to hit monthly objectives as we scaled into geographic markets and added headcount. We knew missing targets affected company morale, and we also knew hitting them could make all the difference in our ability to secure the capital we needed to fuel the next stage of the company’s expansion.
To become a data-driven company that hits its goals consistently, we made a radical decision: we implemented a daily 9am meeting with the entire 100+ person company. Team members at HQ in Charleston met around TVs at the front of the office. Remote colleagues joined via Zoom. During this 15-minute meeting, which we called our Company Standup, we reviewed our day-over-day progress on our monthly goals and our pacing.
Here’s an example report (not real numbers):
“Yesterday we had 30 sales, our total this month is 125, and we’re off pace for our goal of 1,000. To hit our goal, we need to average 45 per day for the rest of the month.” After reporting on pacing, we summarized any action items, and closed the meeting.
This weekly ~75-minute investment revamped our business, and it cured our challenges around hitting monthly goals.
There are three reasons why this was so effective:
- We became accountable to the morning report every day. We could not hide from it or ignore it 4 out of 5 days during the week like you can when you’re doing weekly Leadership meetings. Just like the habit spreadsheet gnaws at you, this bores into the collective consciousness.
- We leveraged the entire company’s creative power to hit our goals. In one stroke 95% of our team went from being in the dark about our pacing to knowing exactly where we stood every single day. Now knowing the status, they could (and did) brainstorm ideas to solve the problems. Seeing the positive results from actions gave us a company-wide dopamine rush.
- We made the transition to a data-driven company, as opposed to a Leadership Team of data-driven individuals. As we got better at goal-hitting, we also got better at goal-setting. We understood the underlying levers at our disposal more clearly.
For teams, what gets measured and communicated actively gets managed.
If a company-wide 15-minute daily meeting sounds like a big investment, it is. And the bigger your company is, the more collective time is spent in the meeting. It’s not insignificant. But here’s the important question you have to ask: How costly is it for you to not leverage the total brainpower of your human capital?
Are you on pace or off this month? If you know, that’s a good start. Does everyone?