Have your executives lost interest in business continuity? Now that the “big project” is over, are they less eager to jump into a steering committee meeting? Or, is it getting harder and harder to get time on their schedules?
Today, we’re going to talk about why executives lose interest in business continuity and what you can do about it.
I also invite you to check out our Executive Support Amplifier. It’s the complete guide to building executive support, and I know it’ll have a big impact on your organization.
Now, this topic is very personal and cool to me, as I am a survivor of the low executive interest in business continuity. In one business I worked with, we ran into this problem. Over time, I noticed that it was harder to schedule the business continuity steering committee meeting and that fewer and fewer people attended each time. The program was in a really good place – affording me the opportunity to tell the executives how great things were going – everything was on track, BIA and plan updates were completed, and the exercises were moving smoothly. I couldn’t understand why executives weren’t eager to come to the meetings where I could share the news and be a positive part of their day.
I started doing some research to figure out how I could make these meetings more exciting and attractive to the executive team; how I could get them pulled in and hooked tightly.
Today, I’m going to share with you my five key tips for making steering committee meetings irresistible to executives.
So, let’s dive in!
GET THE RIGHT PROGRAM SPONSOR
The first key is to make sure you have the right program sponsor. This is essential because if you have the right program sponsor, and they’re showing up, everyone one else is going to be there as well. This is a great starting point, but it’s not always achievable. Not everyone has a sponsor that is so powerful and magnetic that when they show up everyone else is in their seat. So, if you can’t get that high-energy, magnetic sponsor, then look to number two.
The second key is to go from the same old format and content to the unpredictable. Think about what makes a great movie. A great movie has a sense of suspense or unpredictability to it – you don’t know how it’s going to end. Once you know how the movie is going to end, it starts to get boring and you lose interest. The same is true of your meetings. So, we need to find ways to be unpredictable and have great discussions to figure out ways to move the needle on the program.
NOTICE THE BALANCE OF TALKING
The third key is to recognize the balance of talking in the meeting. Ideally, you want your portion of the meeting, where you are talking to the steering committee, to be 40% or less of the entire discussion.
Now, that’s a pretty big challenge because the question becomes, “What fills up the other 60%?” The answer is discussion with the steering committee members. You need to bring issues to the steering committee that require their input to be resolved.
Now you might have a recommendation, but you want to get the members of the steering committee talking. Everyone loves the sound of their own voice and getting people talking engages them and draws them into the conversation. The key is to look at that balance. Get your portion to less than 40% and I bet you’ll have a pretty strong meeting.
BE SPECIFIC ABOUT DECISIONS AND ACTION ITEMS
The fourth key is to be specific about the decisions and action items coming out of the meeting. Nobody likes sitting in a meeting where we talk about different ideas and then move on to the next topic without actually bringing anything to conclusion or driving a decision.
If you’re facilitating the meeting, make sure you’re are asking:
- “What is the decision that needs to be made?”
- “Who is the decision-maker?”
- “What is the next action item?”
- “Who is responsible for completing the action item?”
Write it down and track it. You can even write it on a whiteboard during the meeting. This brings clarity to everyone in attendance and energizes the meeting.
CONTENT DICTATES TIME AND FORMAT
The fifth key here is to make sure that your content is dictating the time and format of the meeting. What I mean by that is if you don’t have much content you may not need a meeting.
Let’s revisit my example from earlier. If everything is great – we’re on track and everything is green, there are no issues that require input from the steering committee to solve – then maybe you don’t even need a meeting. In that case, you can just send the update out via email with some highlights and let people review it.
A meeting is really meant to solve issues. If you have issues that need to be solved, then bring the meeting together. It also doesn’t always have to be 60 minutes. Depending on the content you want to cover, it may need to be longer or shorter. Again, let your content dictate the time and format of the meeting to keep executives engaged.
The five tips I covered above are what I use to drive excitement and energy into business continuity steering committee meetings. This framework has worked really well and enabled me to bring energy back to the room, drive discussion, get different viewpoints on the table, and make sure that everyone is on the same page about how we are approaching business continuity.
If you’re looking for even more help in amplifying the level of support that you get from executives, click here to download our Executive Support Amplifier. It’s the complete guide to building executive support for your business continuity program.
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