A Checklist to Follow Through After Meetings

Now what?

Once you leave that conference room (or the couch, or the break room), that initial energy has to be harnessed and directed into great work. Whether you’re a store owner, a team lead, or an experienced manager, you can take some practical steps to ensure the success of your project.

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Start strong: Before you’ve even left the meeting, ensure that everyone knows what they are responsible for completing.

Set clear expectations: Decide on a timeline for tasks ahead of time. Corporate trainer Paul Axtell suggests using the following phase: “Do thing X by time Y or call.” It creates accountability for everyone’s commitments while maintaining the agreed-upon completion date.

Wrap it up: Soon after the meeting’s conclusion, distribute a quick summary of the meeting and tasks to complete, when it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind.

Check in: Every so often, check in to determine which tasks have been completed. “Making a record of your action item completion rate — your say/do ratio — will tell you how you are doing. Set a target. In my experience, a 60 percent completion rate is about average,” says Axtell. “But don’t expect perfection,” he warns. “It’s the overall pattern that matters.”

Be understanding: Avoid micromanaging, and don’t forget that people have busy lives (just like you!). While occasional missed deadlines aren’t ideal, they happen. However, don’t be afraid to have a conversation if an employee regularly misses set deadlines.

Keep everyone updated: As you move through a timeline, highlight it to the team when major aspects of the project have been completed. It’s motivating to see how much closer your team is to reaching its goal.

Follow up: Lead by example, and keep everyone in the loop. After all, “your job as a leader is to be right at the end of the meeting, not at the beginning of the meeting,” said David M. Cote, the executive chairman of Honeywell.

Celebrate: When projects are done, enjoy your team’s simple wins. Even when things don’t go well, stay positive. Keeping everyone encouraged and happy ensures that everyone is motivated to do their part and complete work on time.