by Kayla Sheely

Every Monday morning at Voice Systems Engineering, you will find all the employees gathered for an “all hands” meeting. Our Monday Morning Meeting is a longstanding tradition – but as with any tradition, sometimes they get a little stale and need to be shaken up.

The Monday Morning Meeting format has changed quite a bit over the years. It started out with a more traditional structure – the C-suite ran the meeting to make announcements and share upcoming initiatives.

When VSE implemented Holacracy, we wanted more people to be involved and make the Monday Morning Meeting more of a team experience. The Community Circle (Circles in Holacracy are similar to departments in traditionally structured organizations)created a Meeting Energizer Role to run the meeting and elicit updates from the entire company – upcoming events, important dates, or exciting projects launching. 

After five years in the Meeting Energizer role, Christine Szwech thought the meeting could benefit from a refresh. The Community Circle hosted a brainstorming session to ask: how can we improve? Christine explains that the team wanted the Monday Morning Meeting not to rest solely on a single person. “We decided to make it more about the Circles and make the work a driving force in the meetings. It’s a way for other people in the organization to get to know each other.”

That brainstorming session produced the most recent iteration of the meeting that intentionally showcases the inner workings of Circles across the company and engages with a broader cross-section of people.

To get more people involved, the Meeting Energizer role took a step back from being the main voice running the meetings. In the current format, each week a different Circle is responsible for running the meeting. “Originally the goal was to have people just talk about what they are doing,” Christine says. “One Circle made a formal presentation, and now everybody does a PowerPoint of some kind. It has morphed into more formal presentations, and it's kind of funny how that evolved.”

Monday Morning Meeting Agenda

If you visited VSE on a Monday morning, here is what you could expect:

 

Presentation

The hosting Circle starts with a presentation about the work happening in their Circle. This often is a PowerPoint presentation, but it could also be an informal discussion. One Circle even ran a quiz about their team members as a way for the organization to get to know them better!

 

Company Updates

After the Circle has presented, they open the floor to the entire company for updates. These could include reminders about upcoming deadlines, security awareness tips, or other projects going on in the company.

 

The Starfish

Presenting the “Starfish” is the next item on the agenda. Before the whole company was virtual, we had a plastic starfish that promoted peer-to-peer recognition. Whoever was nominated the previous week had the chance to pass it on to commend another coworker for their hard work and collaboration – now we just do it virtually. 

 

Value of the Week

A Circle member reads the value of the week, and anyone in the company can share an example of how they’ve seen that value play out recently.

 

Next Week’s Host

Finally, we chose the Circle to host the following week’s meeting. If there are no volunteers, we spin a wheel with all the Circle’s names on it.

 

We implemented the new meeting format in January 2020 – shortly before the entire workforce was sent to work from home. The visual format of the meeting and the variety of presenters has made the meetings a way to stay connected even while we all work remotely. “It’s been great, especially since we've been virtual now for over a year,” states Christine. “The visual element of being able to see what people come up with creatively keeps it interesting.”

In thinking back over the past year of our new meeting format, Christine reflects, “I like that you are hearing different people talk. I think it's been really good for people to get to know each other and learn about what other work is being done in the organization.” By engaging different employees each week, Monday Morning Meetings provide an opportunity to connect with fellow employees and start the week off on the right foot!