How to Craft an Executive Meeting Agenda [+ 8 Free Agenda Templates]

Executive meetings can come in many different shapes and sizes, but each kind has their own unique purpose and value to bring to the organization. However, they can only bring value if they're crafted and constructed to be as effective as possible.

By
The Meetingnotes Team
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9
mins
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Last update:
April 12, 2024
Meetings

When implemented effectively, executive meetings are one of the most powerful tools for driving strategic growth within a business. Unfortunately, most executives report that meetings are often ineffective and unproductive. This is why careful planning and preparation is essential to hosting effective meetings.

To avoid the costly consequences of ineffective meetings, executives must invest time in creating and optimizing their executive meeting agendas. 

In this article, we'll be covering the following topics:

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Executive Meeting Agenda Framework

Depending on the size of your company and the meeting goals, here are some suggestions to build your executive meeting framework and create an effective plan for your next executive meeting.

Introduction: 1 – 10 Minutes

Start with a brief check-in

If time allows, consider including 1 – 2 check-in questions on the agenda to kick off the meeting. This will enable each team member to quickly provide necessary updates, keep everyone in the loop about the moving parts of their department or the organization, and help in building rapport and creating stronger professional connections within the group.

CEO updates or FYIs

During an annual executive team meeting or board meeting, for example, the CEO is often responsible for providing updates or a "state of the union" type of address to the meeting attendees. In this case, the CEO summarizes important business news, decisions, or changes, and does not require any action or input from meeting attendees.

Share company or department wins

During weekly meetings, executives often share company or department wins with the team. These updates call out progress towards goals and encourage executives and their team members by showing that their day-to-day efforts are paying off. This time is also an opportunity to recognize an employee or department exceeding expectations or targets.

Discuss & Evaluate: 10 – 40 Minutes

Identify top objectives or issues

To kick off this section of the meeting agenda, start by identifying the top objectives or issues that you and the team plan to address during the meeting. Clearly stating the meeting objectives helps centralize the focus of the meeting and draw attention to the most pressing issues of the week or month.

Pick 3 – 5 key metrics to evaluate

It's essential to narrow the focus of the meeting to 3 – 5 relevant metrics that align with the goals or purpose of the meeting. Not all metrics show meaningful change from week to week, so consider rotating which metrics you review during weekly meetings to avoid wasting time reviewing redundant information that is not aligned with the meeting goals.

Discuss roadblocks

After evaluating key performance metrics, it's time to collaboratively identify the roadblocks or challenges preventing your organization from meeting projected targets. Use this section to discuss possible solutions to the issue(s) at hand, and work to produce consensus-driven decisions that help improve underperforming areas of the business.

Decide & Close: 40 – 60 Minutes

Create a list of action items 

Hosting an executive meeting without follow-through or accountability is a waste of valuable time. In the past, it would be necessary to allocate significant chunks of time from the meeting to assign action items to the meeting attendees. However, you can completely eliminate this section from the agenda when you use a meeting management software like Fellow, saving everyone time and energy.

Fellow is the all in one AI meeting management solution that helps executives and their teams have fewer, shorter, more effective meetings. Fellow's AI meeting copilot joins your executive meeting calls to record, transcribe, summarize, and share your meetings with relevant attendees afterwards. It can automatically generate and assign action items to attendees based on the meeting recording, alleviating the need to manually write them out. What's more, action items in Fellow integrate with over 50 meeting productivity tools, so nothing falls through the cracks.

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Wrap Up

Use the last 5 – 10 minutes of the meeting to wrap up the discussion, and brainstorm the strategies and communication required to implement the proposed action plan. Best practice in the past has typically been assigning someone to publish the meeting notes and circulate the highlights to all necessary parties within the organization, as well as highlight any decisions, and review the next steps. Fellow's AI meeting copilot can take care of all of these admin tasks automatically, removing the need to assign them to a member of the team.

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Executive Meeting Agenda Templates

In addition to the framework above, using meeting templates, like the free ones below, will help your executive team stay organized, prepared, and aligned during every executive meeting.

Weekly Executive Meeting Templates

Executive Weekly Team Meeting  

This is an essential weekly meeting agenda for executives. This executive team meeting agenda template is designed to help executives review metrics, gain insights, host roundtable discussions, and resolve critical business issues.   

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Level 10 Meetings

Introduced by the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), the Level 10 meeting is a 90-min framework designed to help leadership teams host more productive meetings. This template is commonly used for weekly leadership team meetings.

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Senior Leadership Team Meeting

Designed by Drift CEO David Cancel, this meeting template prioritizes discussion and debate over updates. It is a great senior management meeting agenda example, and includes time for positive highlights and wins while saving the focus for discussing opportunities or areas of concern. 

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Monthly Executive Meeting Templates 

Monthly Management Meeting

This meeting a variation of the executive weekly team meeting template with a higher-level of focus. This executive meeting agenda template includes space for executives to review KPIs, share department wins or priorities, and dive deep into a problem-solving session.

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Executive Strategy Session

Unlike operations-focused templates, this template focuses exclusively on strategy. Monthly strategy sessions are essential to a well-run leadership team. This executive leadership meeting agenda template provides space to examine company strategy, re-align priorities, and create an action plan for how to move forward.

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Quarterly/Annual Executive Meeting Templates

All Hands Meeting  

Hosted by the executive team, an all-hands meeting brings everyone in the company together. This template includes space for executives to discuss the company vision, review key metrics, provide customer and employee updates, answer employee questions, and distribute appreciation awards.

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Fellow's library of templates can help you design an agenda for any executive meeting – whether it's a small weekly leadership meeting, a monthly strategy session, or an annual board meeting.

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Tips for Optimizing Executive Meetings

Below are some best practices to ensure that your executive meetings stay relevant for all attendees and make the most out of everyone's time.

Keep meetings lean and efficient

Before sending out too many executive meeting invites, consider the intent and purpose of the meeting. Too many voices and opinions can reduce the effectiveness and productivity of the meeting. Similarly, if confidential information is being shared, it's best to keep the group small. Fellow's Meeting Guidelines automatically prompt executive meeting organizers to keep meetings lean and efficient with the optimal number of attendees, by syncing with your calendar and stopping meeting pitfalls before they happen.

Prepare an agenda

Designing effective meeting agendas is essential to the success of any meeting, but doing so starts long before the meeting occurs. Taking the time to prepare an agenda before each meeting will ensure that your executive sessions are productive and efficient.

Fellow’s all-in-one meeting management solution enables you to easily streamline your executive meeting prep with over 500 customizable one-click meeting templates. Team members can then edit the agenda and capture notes and decisions in real-time with Fellow’s AI meeting copilot that automatically joins your calls to record, transcribe, and summarize every meeting. 

Assign pre-meeting homework

Set the expectation that everyone is responsible for completing pre-meeting homework before attending the meeting. This pre-meeting homework can include tasks like reading the agenda, preparing metrics, or writing a short department update.

Using an AI meeting management software like Fellow can help facilitate this with pre-meeting reminders and prompts to fill out the agenda in advance, as well as assignable pre-meeting action items to review any necessary executive meeting material.

Focus on action

Be mindful of getting bogged down in updates or prolonged discussions during executive meetings. Utilize a well-prepared agenda to structure the meeting discussions around predetermined goals and objectives. Focus on closing each conversation with an action item or task that benefits the larger strategic direction of the company.

Encourage constructive feedback

Constructive feedback is critical to the success of executive team meetings. Encourage a culture of productive and respectful feedback that places value on each person's individual experience and insights. This type of discussion enables company leaders to gain new perspectives and look at key objectives or issues from a different angle. Fellow has automated feedback functionality built in, making it easy for team members to request and leave feedback while fostering a culture of transparency and honesty.

Evaluate meeting effectiveness

Think critically about the format of your meetings and adjust the plan to keep discussions fresh and relevant. You can get feedback on the structure of meetings by issuing meeting effectiveness surveys. By refining the meeting technique and format, you can improve meeting outcomes and ensure they're always relevant and a good use of everyone's time.

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Executive Meeting FAQs

Below are some commonly asked questions about executive meetings, including practical explanations and more templates to guide other types of executive meetings.

What is the purpose of an executive meeting?

Executive team meetings create a forum for company leaders to assess company progress towards goals, collaborate with other leaders, solve issues, and drive business growth. The goal of executive meetings is to ensure that each department is adequately supported and aligned with the company's mission and priorities. They are also an opportunity for leadership teams to build and strengthen their relationships with one another. Constructive feedback and debate are central to productive executive meetings, and leaders can gain insights from each other's individual experiences and craft creative solutions to roadblocks that might be inhibiting growth or progress.

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What is the difference between strategy and operations meetings?

There are two types of leadership team meetings: operations and strategy meetings. Both meeting types require a different approach to meeting planning and execution. By segmenting the content and tailoring it to fit the meeting's intent, executives ensure that discussions are relevant, concise, and productive. It is important to note that both operations and strategy meetings are solution-oriented and prioritize decisions or actions that improve the day-to-day operations or strategic direction. Let's review the difference between operations and strategy meetings.

Operations Meetings

Operations meetings focus heavily on the day-to-day happenings and performance of the organization. An operations meeting is the appropriate venue for executive teams to review performance metrics (KPIs), share team updates, and request feedback or resources from other departments. During operations-focused meetings, executives also meet to discuss and identify roadblocks or issues inhibiting growth. Ideally, operations meetings occur weekly to keep company goals on track and quickly resolve any operational or logistical issues.

Strategy Meetings

Unlike operations meetings, strategy meetings focus on high-level discussions or debates that ultimately change an organization's strategic direction or priorities. These meetings focus less on weekly business happenings and more on aligning the company's mission, vision, and purpose. By hosting separate meetings for strategy, executives avoid wasting too much meeting time reviewing or discussing the day-to-day operations. This type of meeting typically occurs on a monthly or quarterly basis as adjusting strategy too often can cause disruptions in operations or confusion among employees.

What other types of executive meetings are there?

There are other types of meetings reserved for executives to participate in. This Formal Board Meeting template – for example, would be used by privately held companies or non-profit organizations with board members. It follows a traditional structure designed to help the board easily take meeting attendance, highlight executive reports, and record any motions or votes. 

Another example is this Start-up Board Meeting template – which is a modern adaptation of the formal board meeting agenda. This type of meeting is designed for start-up companies who want to dig deep into company issues and drive decision-making with key stakeholders.

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Final thoughts

Executive meetings can come in many different shapes and sizes, but each kind has their own unique purpose and value to bring to the organization. However, they can only bring value if they're crafted and constructed to be as effective as possible with an executive meeting agenda. To do this, remember to be mindful of meeting size, encourage constructive feedback, continually evaluate the meeting's effectiveness, and always come to the meeting with a prepared agenda. You can use templates to help guide your executive meetings and set them up for success. To ensure the other mentioned best practices are always being implemented, consider using an all in one AI meeting management software like Fellow. It is purpose built to help executives have fewer, shorter, more effective meetings with AI, behavior driving features, and seamless integrations.

Don't let unproductive meetings slow you down

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