Today, I’m sharing ALL about planning a team vision meeting. I rarely hear people talking about this, but it has been immensely impactful in my own business. So, naturally, I wanted to share it with you all.
What I mean by team vision meetings is a gathering to kick off the year, close a year, start a new quarter, or even halfway through the year. It's where you lay out the exact direction we're heading in as a team. We discuss the business goals and how each person plays a role in achieving them. I like to review data from the previous quarter or year and interpret what it means for me. These team vision meetings are a great time to identify what's working, what's not, and where we're headed. It's a comprehensive overview of our progress and future plans.
In my opinion, team vision meetings are not just for large companies (where these types of meetings are more common). it's also great for us business owners who have small teams, whether they are all contractors or partly remote.
In this episode, I'm sharing exactly how I do this. You can also put your own spin on it, but I'll be sharing what it looked like in my business last year. I hosted two of these sessions - one to kick off the year and another halfway through to recap our progress and set new goals. As we start another year, I'm currently preparing for the upcoming meeting while recording this episode. It's fresh in my mind, and I’m so excited to dive in!
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5 Reasons Why You Should Host a Team Vision Meeting
Before we dive in, I want to mention that this is relevant to you, even if you have just one contractor contributing a few hours a week to your business. They play a role in your business goals. So whether you have a small, medium, or large team, this applies to you. And if you don't have a team yet, still listen to this episode because you can adapt it for yourself and I think you’ll still find it effective.
1. We often don’t talk about the overall vision enough with our team
One main reason you should host a team vision meeting is that we often fail to discuss the company's overall vision with the entire team, especially remote members or contractors. As a visionary, you may have ideas about the potential outcomes of social media or deadlines for launching projects, or you may feel disappointed with certain metrics and are hoping for improvements. But, and this is the key part - you keep these thoughts to yourself. By hosting a more formal meeting, you can communicate the company's direction to your team in one sitting, which ultimately leads to better clarity and alignment for the year ahead.
2. You can give ownership to people on your team
I also love this because it empowers team members to take ownership. When they understand the vision, they can contribute unique ideas to drive business growth. Sharing goals with the team encourages them to come up with ideas (and share them with you) that they might not have otherwise thought of. I've personally seen how good communication breeds ownership, not just in coming up with ideas, but also in taking pride in their work. This is especially important for small teams where contractors might feel a bit disconnected from the bigger picture.
3. It creates team bonding in an environment where team bonding is tougher
If you're like me, your team may be small and maybe even spread out across the world. It's not as easy to bond compared to working in the same office or living in the same city. In my experience, these team vision meetings help create a strong work bond because it reminds everyone that we are all working towards common goals, even if they don't directly relate to our individual tasks. It's great to see and talk to each other about them.
4. Even if you’re talking about your goals in weekly or monthly meetings, it’s great to have a meeting where this your complete focus
Even if you're talking about your goals in a weekly or monthly meeting, it's super helpful to have a dedicated session solely focused on them. My next team meeting, scheduled at the beginning of the year, will be all about visioning. No practical discussions about failed payments, emails, or upcoming launches. It's all about presenting and sharing the vision. It might feel a bit like a webinar, as I'll explain in detail below, but it's really important to have a meeting solely dedicated to this big focus, without getting caught up in the day-to-day stuff.
5. You coming up with a vision in a way that you can clearly COMMUNICATE to someone else is important. And it helps you and your business overall.
Finally, it's super important to have a clear vision that you can effectively communicate to others. This is true even if you're working solo because it helps your overall business. We often have big goals and ideas that end up being unclear or undocumented. But when you have to explain your goals and lay out your path to someone else, it pushes you to create a game plan. This way, your vision isn't just in your head but is effectively shared with others.
How to Plan Your Team Vision Meeting
Alright, let me break down how I run and lead this kind of meeting. There's no one-size-fits-all method to it. Every business is one-of-a-kind. But hey, I'll share what I've personally done, and my team has loved it too. This is exactly how I plan to handle mine for this year as well.
1. As the CEO, I come up with our company goals and the vision for the new year.
The first step as CEO is to establish goals and vision for the year. For me, this process typically spans a few weeks, with dedicated moments of focus. I don't often have the luxury of a whole day to vision cast, so instead I find time in between tasks to work on this. For instance, yesterday I wrapped up recording lessons for the new podcast success blueprint. Then, during a free hour before picking up my son from preschool, I reviewed social media data from last year and took notes. These small bursts of productivity add up to crafting a comprehensive plan.
I like to consider our goals for the upcoming year and analyze data from the previous year to inform our decisions. Instead of focusing on the last 30 days, like I might do throughout the year, I take a holistic view of the entire year. This is the perfect opportunity to review your data if you haven't done so already. I personally keep detailed notes in a private document.
Once I finish that, I translate it to another document. By "translate," I mean duplicate it in an edit to share with the whole team. We have it on Clickup, where anyone can reference it at any time. So, they can see what the presentation was based on, the goals, and a written version different from what I'll share in the actual presentation.
Lastly, I want to note that you might not have to do this step alone. You could work with a team member on some of these goals before your vision meeting. Last year, I did this whole step on my own and presented it to my team. However, this year, my marketing assistant and I are meeting one-on-one before the meeting, a week or so in advance. I'll discuss the goal ideas specific to marketing and show her the data. I'll ask her opinion, if she thinks they're achievable or if she sees another direction. I'll send her all the document stuff before the meeting, so we don't have to go through it all together. Instead, we'll meet and talk about it, figuring out which goals make sense. She'll help me finalize some of the details before the team vision meeting.
2. I Create a Presentation in Canva
The presentation is often quite lengthy. Last year's version had a whopping 56 slides! However, the length can vary, and I do go through some of them quickly. The meeting itself lasts around an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. During the PowerPoint, I cover everything from data and goals to the business's word of the year. I'll share all the details with you shortly. The slides are designed to be visually engaging, typically featuring text and photo backgrounds. It can feel similar to a webinar or a presentation for an online summit or speaking engagement.
3. I schedule a meeting with the team (often our first of the year!)
And then the third step is scheduling a team meeting. It's typically our first meeting of the year, where we set the goals and vision for the whole year. Then in future meetings, we'll check in on the progress of these goals. We use Zoom for these meetings, so I can present in a casual manner, allowing the team to ask questions. Encourage team members to take notes on ideas or topics they want to discuss later. After the meeting, I'll have one-on-one conversations over Slack with each team member to get their thoughts on everything.
Also, it's worth noting that this could be a great opportunity to involve other team members who aren't as involved in the day-to-day operations of the business. You might have a couple of core individuals who are constantly in touch with you through Slack and ClickUp, working alongside you. However, this could also be a chance to invite other professionals like your podcast editor, bookkeeper, or frequently collaborating copywriter. Of course, you would pay them for their time, but it could be beneficial to have them join this discussion.
What I Share During a Team Vision Meeting
My Words of the Year For the Business
Firstly, I'm sharing the business's words for the year. I discussed these and how to incorporate them into your own business on episode 245. If you missed it, give it a listen as it's an excellent episode. These words are not only for your personal life but also for your business. I will share these words and their meanings with my team, highlighting how they align with our goals and connect with what happened last year. It's not only about the word itself, but grasping why it matters and how it impacts our goals.
Sales Data From the Past Year
The second thing I share is basically sales data: where customers come from, what's working, what's popular, what's not working. For example, last year our top referral sources for new sales were this source. The product that sold the most was this. We had our highest month of revenue and our lowest, and this is why I think that is.
Additionally, I share some results. For instance, imagine this year if our goal was to launch 20 new products (or halfway through the year, if applicable). If we set a goal of doing this thing 20 times at the beginning of the year and we've only done it five times by now, we're not on pace for that goal. So from there we can discuss whether we adjust the goal or pick up our pace.
While I believe sharing data is important, I also don’t want you to feel pressure to share everything. For example, if you're not into sharing exact revenue and sales figures with your team, that's cool. You can still share valuable insights without diving into specific numbers. During a team vision meeting it’s also a great time to zero in on what's working and give props to team members when the work they are doing is contributing to the company goals.
My Goals for the Year
And then the third thing I discuss is the goals for the year categorized by the words of the year I set above. Each word has its own set of goals, though not necessarily a specific number. We go through each one, explaining what it means and how we plan to achieve it. We also touch on what's on the horizon for the year, for example, this year we will be including my upcoming maternity leave and its impact on the structure. Action items are assigned to each goal for team members, ensuring everyone knows what role they play.
Problems from the Previous Year
And another thing I include is reflecting on both challenges and successes from the previous year, and the lessons learned. Looking back at my presentation from last year, I openly shared with my team the areas where I felt our systems fell short, what I learned from it, and how it will shape our new goals and strategies. This is an opportunity to let your team in on insights they might not otherwise have, helping them understand the reasons behind the direction we're taking. That's the essence of the meeting.
Make sure to grab my free team vision planning guide below to walk you through the process and take ACTION!
Final Advice for Hosting a Team Vision Meeting
And here are some final tips to wrap things up. Remember, the goals you set for your business can change. That's why it's helpful to revisit them later in the year and have a place where everyone can reference them. Simply making a presentation with goals is not enough. You need to regularly check in on them and ensure you remember what they are. Consider having another meeting later in the year or even quarterly to discuss progress. Maybe you can kick off each quarter with a longer meeting to set the tone for the year, and then follow up with shorter check-ins.
It's also important to have a clear area where all the goals are laid out, accessible to any team member. Remember, the goals shouldn't just live in a PowerPoint. If you ever need to know what the goal was for something, like the number of guest interviews you planned to do this year, you should be able to find and see it. The key message here is that you must revisit and communicate the goals, as they can change even if the overall vision for the business remains the same.
And I also want to tell you, whenever you're listening to this, it's a good time to host your first team vision meeting. Don't feel like it has to be January. People say there's nothing magical about January 1st when it comes to goals and they’re right. You can start at any point. Maybe it's the middle of August and you're like, "Hey, I'm finally going to set goals for my company and share them with my team for the first time." You can literally do this at any time. There's no rhyme or reason to when. But I wanted to share this with you so that if you do want to kick off the year this way, you can! Happy New Year!
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January 9, 2024