Thursday, November 28, 2013

Leadership A-Z: K is for Kick-off Meeting

A large part of my professional work has focused on program management. I always describe program
management as "project management on steroids". As a former leader, director and manager who worked at the UN, and within other international development organizations, a large part of my work focused on creating, leading and managing multi-disciplinary programs from disaster management, through to health care, and education. Typically programs would consist of a multitude of discrete projects, involving dozens of experts, generalists and other stakeholders. I very quickly realized early in my career that one of the most important activities for a new project, program or initiative was the kick-off meeting.

Some considerations in pulling together an effective kick-off meetings are the following:
1. Who needs to be at the table or involved in the kick-off? Make a list. The RACI framework of stakeholder analysis can provide us with a useful framework to think through the multitude of potential players, partners and stakeholders. What happens if they are not represented from the start?

The RACI framework stands for:
R - Responsible: Who is responsible for executing the project?
A - Accountable: Who is accountable for results?
C - Consulted: Who needs to be consulted, and perhaps involved through the provision of knowledge, information, expertise?
I - Informed: Who needs to be informed - about the project, outcomes and results?

How are you involving a representation of these different players? What's the most effective channel for communication.

2. What needs to be communicated at kick-off?

3. What roles and responsibilities need to be identified or clarified? What other expectations need to be clarified?

4. Communication, Reporting and Evaluation  - What ongoing communicaton, reporting and evaluation processes will you create? Who needs to be involved and when? What are the major milestones going to be?

5. Checking in on accountabilities - Accountability in today's business environment has become a Pandora's Box at times. What are the specific accountabilities each person/party has and how will this be measured? Who are they accountable to? What's expected in terms of reporting? What happens if things go off course? Failure to discuss this from the start can set a slippery slope for any project or initiative.

6. Goals and Outcomes - Of course, clearly defining goals and outcomes is another critical factor of success. What is the common vision across all stakeholder groups?

What components do you want to make sure you include into your next kick-off meeting? Anything else that you would add?

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC
Potentials Realized
Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching and From One to Many: Best Practices of Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-TEAM
Read more about our retreat and leadership development offerings and support
As an author Jennifer Britton is known for her thought leadership in the area of group and team coaching. She is also a former leader and team builder who spent the first 13 years of her career working within the United Nations as well as the international aid sector. From Boardroom to jungle, beach and forest to mountains, Jennifer has worked to develop teams and leaders in more than 18 countries, and virtually many more. She founded Potentials Realized in 2004 and focuses on leadership, teamwork and coaching skills training

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