In my first book, Are You Talent Obsessed? I describe the rhythms of talent management leaders need to get into to focus them on the development of those around them.  Why is development so important? Because development, done well, not only increases the capacity and performance of your workforce, it increases employee engagement and decreases turnover. And with the growing shortage of talent globally, the ability to retain your talent is a competitive advantage.

Much like the rhythms Verne Harnish describes in his book, The Rockefeller Habits, I believe the addition of development into weekly meetings is critical to the execution of a business plan.

Most managers have weekly meetings, which generally revolve around what happened during the past week: accomplishments and disappointments, and then planning is done for the next week. Yet often, these meetings don’t bring out the specific learning that has taken place especially when it comes to success. It seems we spend more time on our mistakes and miss the opportunity to share what we learned during our accomplishments.

Incorporating Learning into Weekly Meetings

1. Share recent successes

As part of your weekly meeting, set aside 3 minutes for each team member to respond to questions about their recent success and encourage them to share their stories of success. This technique not only promotes learning but helps recognize employees for what they have accomplished which may have required taking a risk, researching, connecting, etc. Focus on what, why, and how.

Here are some questions I recommend to start the learning conversation each week:

  • What one new thing did you try that worked?
  • Who did you help this week and how?
  • Who did you get feedback from and what did you do with the feedback?
  • What didn’t work for you this week and how do you plan on making it work next time?
  • What behavior are you trying to change to be more effective and how can we help you through the process?

2. Rotate meeting facilitators

Another great learning opportunity is to rotate who will be facilitating the meeting.  It gives you the opportunity to observe your team members in a leadership role and how they handle the spotlight on themselves. At the conclusion of the meeting have each member provide one strength they observed in the meeting facilitator and one learning edge. And finally, as a wrap up, ask the facilitator “What are they most proud of?” in the feedback they received and “What one change do they plan on implementing?”

3. Include a mini training

An impressive development technique I have seen in weekly meetings is a mini training session. It usually takes up 20 minutes of time. The mini-training is delivered by a team member and the topic is one that links back to the team member. The format is up to the team member as to what and how they deliver the training.

A few examples I have seen include:

  • One team member was working on becoming more strategic in her thinking so she found several articles on the topic of strategic thinking and then came up with two techniques that she was going to start doing that would help her be more strategic.
  • In another meeting, a team member wanted to be a better listener so he shared two techniques that had been working for him. This then created additional dialogue about how the entire team needed to become better at listening.
  • A TED video was used to demonstrate how to be more creative which led into a conversation about the team’s commitment to innovation and creativity.

The meeting should conclude by each member committing to trying an idea, technique, or best practice they learned from another employee. And don’t forget, you as a leader need to be part of this commitment process. Leaders need to model the behaviors they expect from their employees.

Originally published on Updated for 2022.