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Meeting I Never Miss

M.I.N.M.: The Tuesday Meeting
Who: Dan Meyer, president and CEO, Copernus Inc.
Email: dmeyer@copernus.com
Players: The eight-member executive team
Frequency: Weekly, 10 AM to noon
Why I never miss it: "I can process what's happening in this frenetic startup environment with my team. It's the only time we actively manage our business together."

For Dan Meyer, less is more in a do-more-faster age. As president and CEO of Cincinnati-based Copernus Inc., a b2b software company, Meyer takes an action-only approach to his weekly executive-team Tuesday Meetings. He has to. The pace of his startup is too frantic — and the industry is too fluid — to lollygag over big decisions. "In a startup environment, you're spinning your wheels if you only meet once or twice a month," says Meyer, 34. What he needs is traction — and time out to manage the emotional spin cycle and the winding course of startup life. It was a Tuesday Meeting that led to the realization that the company had to rethink its product-positioning strategy completely — even though it was just about to enter its first round of funding.

Guiding Principle:

Active management. "The goal every week is to steer the company. Most management meetings slip quickly into status mode, but we focus on strategy and execution. We hash out issues in real time: Should we change the company name? What's happening in the market this week? What's the competitive environment? What have we learned from our internal prototypes? As a startup, we have to be obsessed with execution and fast action."

Best Practice:

The 10/5 report. "We don't have time for progress reports. So I've implemented the 10/5 report: a one-pager prepared by every executive and emailed to the team on Monday afternoon. The idea is to keep it short and sweet. If you can't write it in 10 minutes, you're giving too much detail. Can't read it in 5 minutes? Still too much detail. Everyone is expected to read the 10/5s before the meeting. That way, we can talk about where we're going, not where we've been."

Talking Stick:

Macro mind share. "We start with a roundtable discussion based on the 10/5s. We only report outcomes that have changed, and then we delve into macro-level issues. Discussions stay actionable and relevant to the entire team. It's not about the bowels of what we do."

Postgame:

Zero delay. "We back-end the executive-team Tuesday Meeting with a company luncheon at noon to keep everyone in the loop on real-time corporate issues and strategy. With a zero-delay report, we're held accountable for those two hours, and that sends a powerful message. It signals to the rest of the company that we're not screwing around. And that message builds trust."

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