Vistage Research Center

Get actionable, data-driven insights and expert perspectives from our global community of CEOs and thought leaders. Led by Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer

5 Questions CEOs Should Ask to Energize the Next Staff Meeting


Twice this week, once at a client lunch and once during a dreaded staff meeting, the topic of how unproductive many staff meetings are came up.  This got me to thinking about why staff meetings are unproductive.

Upon reflection, is it because many of us focus staff meetings on the burning operational issues of the day, or on reviewing operational dashboards with little discussions of the 3rd, 4th or 5th why for average or lackluster performance?

Jeff Bezos, when asked during his first meeting with Washington Post writers how he’d define success at the Post, replied “growth”.

5 Questions CEOs Should Ask to Energize the Next Staff MeetingIf we’re agreed that the role of the CEO is also Chief Growth Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, wouldn’t it benefit our firms if we shifted the focus of staff meetings from the here and now to the where are we going?

Our functional leaders should be empowered and accountable for running the business, our strength as a leadership team is ensuring long term viability, which, as Bezos states, is the result of growth.

Here are 5 questions to energize the next staff meeting that I suggest putting on the agenda and discussing for a half hour, one per meeting for your next 5 staff meetings.  If these questions don’t result in some shifts in your strategy and execution, either you’re running a top 10% firm or you’re not serving enough coffee at your meeting!

  1. Why do we lose business?  (Have participants write down their top three reasons, then share).  Do you, and your staff, really believe price is a top reason?
  2. Who are our most profitable customers? What do they have in common? Are there more of them?  Are they delighted with us? What other problems do they have that we could solve?
  3. Are any of our value propositions interchangeable with our competitors? If so, where is our unique value and are we communicating that clearly?
  4. Should we be offering more, or less, choice in our product portfolio? Why? How would our demand and cost curves change if we eliminated the bottom 20% of our offering?  If we expanded our range of goods or services, including aftermarket? When was the last time we zero base budgeted our product range?  Is there a clear owner of SKU count and range rationalization?  A clear champion of finding new applications for our existing products?
  5. What potential sales partnerships and industry alliances should we be planning for in our future? We don’t have to do it all!  Are there channel partners that could take us to adjacent markets?  Technology partners that could help us expand our range without a significant engineering investment?  A complimentary player that would allow us efficient entry into an international market?  An emerging technology that by partnering now with a pioneer we could gain both insights and an early market presence?

We often assume people on our teams are thinking about these questions.  The reality is that these questions are often put on the back burner due to the pressures of daily business.

Research from the University at Texas McCombs School of Business highlights that growth focused companies outperform operationally focused companies.

Asking these questions at your staff meetings has the potential to not only change the trajectory of your firm, but also to make your meetings more engaging and aligning.

Which of these questions is most effective for your situation?  Or do you have others that have provoked a new line of thinking about growth?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Predefined Skins

Primary Color

Background Color

Example Patterns

demo demo demo demo demo demo demo demo demo demo

Privacy Policy Settings

  • Required Cookies
  • Performance Cookies
  • Functional Cookies
  • Advertising Cookies
These cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around the Sites and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the Sites and using Vistage’s Services. Since these cookies are essential to operate Vistage’s Sites and Services, there is no option to opt out of these cookies.
These cookies collect information about how visitors our Sites, for instance which pages visitors go to most often. These cookies don’t collect information that identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

Cookies used

Visual Web Optimizer
These cookies remember information you have entered or choices you make (e.g. as your username, language, or your region), and provide enhanced, more personal features. They may also be used to provide services you have asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies then some or all of these services may not function properly.

Cookies used

Google Analytics
GTM
Gravity Forms
These cookies are used to make advertising more relevant to you and your interests. The cookies are usually placed by third party advertising networks. They remember the websites you visit and that information is shared with other parties such as advertisers. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.