Even well-oiled machines need to stop for gas, so at the risk of having another meeting in our calendars, I started our weekly Fuel-Up’s. They help create a consistent rhythm for our team to see each other’s eyeballs, to catch-up on the week’s happenings, and to unstuck anyone who is stuck.

In order to respect my conscientious and task-driven team, I came up with 5 ways to set myself up for success:

1. Expectations

I share my expectations and goals about the meetings and the value that it brings to each person on the team. I also tell them that I’m better able to stick to the agenda if people are prepared and participate. 

2. Make It Quirky

When it came to start times, I chose Thursday from 1:23 to 2:34 max. Uh, 1:23? Yes, in an effort to get people there on time, start on time, and out on time, I chose an odd number. Don’t remember where I learned that, but it’s been good so far. We are 2/2 on being on time and starting on time. There are also reminders that go out at 1:15 to remind people to get their water/notebooks and whatever they need to get ready.

3. Agenda

I have a list of the same agenda items. Once we have nailed our routine, I will be putting it up on the screen so everyone can see and follow along.

4. Timer

Start that time and keep things moving along, and I’m not afraid of telling people to speed things along as well.

5. Open & Close

To start the meeting, I ask people if they are above or below the line and the one word that describes what each person is feeling. We use it to practice being self-aware of our own feelings but also gauge the mood of the room when we start and when we finish. We also finish with a “takeaway” that reminds people about the fuel for their week.

The Fuel-Up’s have really become a sacred time to get together for up to one hour a week, to break down challenges, and solve problems for each other. That’s 2.5% of our work week to make the other 97.5% run smoother and make it easy to show up in our own skin, do what we do best, and be appreciated for it.

Elizabeth Mah

Lawyer-Founder, Paperclip Law