Reducing Internal Obstacles To Business Growth

Chris ZookDecember 16, 20202 min

One way to ensure a balance between leadership teams and systems as organizations and brands pursue rapid growth is by implementing a “Monday meeting.” One particular type of meeting that can have the effect of reducing work and increasing the metabolism of a business.

The simple idea is for leaders of the company to meet once a week with a promise: at this meeting, no matter how long it takes, they will work to unblock any obstacle that is preventing key players from doing their jobs.

A meeting of this sort (which doesn’t have to happen on Mondays) has four immediate benefits. First, it signals to the whole organization that the problem-solving cadence of the company is now four days. Leaders can no longer blame the organization (or new systems and processes) for delays. Second, it forces the leadership team to talk in an integrated way about the problems that are making it hard for key players to get their jobs done. Leaders can’t hide. Third, the meetings keep the senior team action-oriented and reduce the cycle time from decision to action. Team members can’t leave the meeting until they solve problems, so they learn to deconstruct problems and to make big issues small enough to be fixable, precisely the kind of bias to action that animates a founder’s mentality.

Les Wexner, founder of L Brands has made the Monday meeting into one of the most important management routines. It helps keep the cycle time of solving problems short, he told us, and removes blockages to action. The wrinkle at L Brands, which makes it an even more powerful management technique, is the Tuesday follow-up, a check-in on the progress of decisions and any new bottlenecks encountered. This strategy is employed by one of Wexner’s most successful CEOs, Nick Coe, who runs Bath & Body Works and the new start-up White Barn. Coe attributes a lot of his success to these meetings. “The Monday and Tuesday meetings are companywide, fifty-two weeks per year,” he told us, “and you never miss it. It is the most disciplined thing we do. It has morphed to ‘we can’t live without it.’ It is done for each business, no matter how new.”

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Chris Zook with the permission of Harvard Business Review Press. Excerpted and adapted from The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth.

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