3 Tips to Facilitate a Strategic Status Meeting & Build Credibility

1st 90 days best practices career best practices leadership management Jul 22, 2019

#1 - Do you meet with your manager regularly?

The first tip is to have the status meeting.

So many people miss this opportunity, either because they don't see the value or their boss doesn't.

If you don't meet with your manager, why? If the answer is because 

  • you want to be autonomous, or 
  • you both have so much on your plate to fit this in, or
  • your manager didn't ask you for a recurring status meeting so nothing is set, or
  • you really don't like your manager and want to avoid him/her at all costs. 

Regardless of the reason, you are missing a critical opportunity to establish a connection, to ensure alignment, and to build your reputation as someone who delivers.

Take this opportunity to recommend a regular status call. It can be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly but be sure it's regular.

#2 - Don't be a Detailed Dolly or Passive Paul

Tip #2 is to check your mindset as you plan for and facilitate the meeting, to manage how you perceive yourself and how your manager perceives you.

When I managed employees, some would come in to my office with a blank sheet of paper and sit there passively wondering what I would tell them, teach them, or ask them to do. 

And, I saw this approach across the board, from leaders all the way down to individual contributors.

The Passive Paul type came across as if they didn't care, and that they'd do the same thing in front of a customer, which doesn't establish credibility or trust.

Other employees would come into my office with a list of 100 questions and updates. The good news was that they had prepared (probably for hours), but it was not effective.

I dreaded all that detail, and helping them to sift through to find what was important. I didn't have time for them to throw all of this spaghetti at me, and to help them figure out what should stick.

The Detailed Dolly came across as if they didn't have good decision-making skills or ability to synthesize. 

As a manager and leader, both types of employees were missing the mark. 

As a leader, have you experienced this range of employees too?

Instead, use the status meeting as an opportunity to manage your manager's perception of you.

Think through this - how do you want to be seen?

  • As someone who is self-managing and in control?
  • As someone who can facilitate a meeting, to get to the decisions and key updates effectively?
  • As someone who can organize and synthesize information?
  • As someone who is able to identify and articulate risks and 1-2 options to mitigate them?
  • As someone who can be trusted to meet with other internal leaders and also with customers?
  • As someone your manager can rely on?

#3 - Strategically prepare for the meeting

Tip #3 is so simple yet so frequently skipped or avoided. Prepare for the meeting. And, prepare in a strategic way.

I've heard these excuses so many times:

  • I didn't have time to put everything together for this or
  • I've been working on deadlines and prepping for this meeting was lower in priority or
  • I was hoping the meeting would be cancelled so I was caught flat-footed when it wasn't (they didn't actually say this out loud, but I know they were thinking. I've taken this chance myself before too and it's backfired).

None of this is a valid reason for not being prepared.

This status meeting is your opportunity to demonstrate why you're a leader in the organization and why you should be trusted.

  • Don't skip the prep.
  • Don't mail it in.
  • Don't tell yourself it doesn't matter, even if you think your boss doesn't care.

Instead, ask yourself key questions as you're preparing, to make sure you're focused on value and outcomes.

Spend 20 minutes writing this out. It will put you into a different frame of mind when you're prepping the content for your status meeting. 

  1. How are you over-delivering?
  2. How are you adding value?
  3. What would it take to blow your bosses' mind?
  4. What results do you want to create for yourself?

Then, after you've created value-based foundation from which to work, plan out and write the content of your status report.

Tip for your first status meeting: There are so many different formats available, find one that works for you. Get your manager's buy-in that it's a great format so that you don't have to revisit how the information is organized in every status meeting going forward.

Finally, go back and read what you've written.

  • Are you communicating the value you've delivered since the last call? hint: use as many numbers as possible.
  • Have you raised the risks and mitigation opportunities?
  • Have you synthesized the key questions and decisions you need him/her to make?


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