Over 80% of executives believe board directors fulfill their strategic oversight roles. Yet, only 30% rate board performance as excellent. While boards have strong strategic capabilities, a deep understanding of operations is crucial for balanced decision-making. That’s why excellent performers run periodic operations meetings to grasp day-to-day business activities.

Discover effective management tool for your board

Rely on our choice – iDeals Board

Visit Website

What is an ops meeting?

An operations meeting discusses day-to-day business activities, operational plans, and performance outcomes. Board members, senior executives, and project managers discuss the following topics at ops meetings.

Project updatesUpdates on strategic initiatives
Sales and operations updates
Risk management updates
Quality control processes
KPIsFinancial performance and revenue targets
Production output 
IT transformations
Sales outreach
Resource allocationProduction schedules
Financing projects
Talent management

Operations meetings are necessary for the following:

  • Project coordination. Directors and officers make strategic and tactical decisions based on project updates.
  • Problem solving. Executives brainstorm ideas on current operational issues and develop corrective actions.
  • Accountability. Operational meetings maintain staff accountability through performance reports and project status updates.

Organizations may use several types of operations meetings.

Operational meeting typeSpecifics
Status meetingIt reviews project updates, milestones, challenges, and statuses of upcoming tasks.
Onboarding meetingIt introduces new members to corporate culture, workplace environment, and job specifics.
Brainstorming meetingIt generates solutions to specific challenges.
Planning meetingIt establishes project timelines, allocates resources, and assigns collaborators.
Pro tip: Operations topics like workplace safety, cybersecurity, or physical security may be more relevant to a safety committee. Check a safety committee meeting agenda to plan and run effective risk management meetings.

How to host effective operations meetings?

Only a few organizations benefit from meetings, especially operational ones that occur the most often. As much as 63% of executives say meetings distract them from doing their job.

It is a multifaceted, systemic problem with many root causes and solutions. Fortunately, there are a few strategies that help organizations make operations meetings more efficient.

Maintaining focus and staying on track

It’s hard to focus on meetings because participants are often passive listeners, sleep-deprived, and with dense brain fog. Here are the strategies to keep focus and stay on track with operations meetings:

  • Exercise before meetings. Physical activity in fresh air, like short walks, situps, stretching, and jumps, improves brain blood flow, enhancing focus and alertness.
  • Cycle standing and sitting. Sitting for long periods leads to mental fatigue. Use standing desks during meetings to improve alertness.
  • Assign action items and deadlines. Ensure all participants have tasks and presentations during meetings. 
  • Limit participants. Productivity decreases drastically in large meetings. Studies show that 8 participants are optimal for decision-making. It’s convenient for HOA boards as they are usually smaller than corporate ones.
Pro tip: Consider specifics of an HOA board meeting agenda to plan HOA operations.

Encouraging open communication and collaboration

Lack of communication often comes from a lack of trust. The following practices may help you improve communication:

  • Promote mutual trust. Limit negative responses to speakers’ reports, “bad news,” and issues. Participants are likely to share honest feedback while expecting constructive, problem-solving discussions.
  • Measure meeting performance. Collect anonymous feedback and improve meeting procedures accordingly.

Ensuring follow-up and accountability

Most meetings fail because of the lack of follow-up activities and overall accountability. Here are a few simple yet effective tips to solve this problem:

  • Assign follow-up actions. Assign action items to participants at the end of the meeting. All members must have clear guidelines and tasks to carry out boardroom decisions. 
  • Use dedicated meeting software. Manage action items in board portals with notifications and user activity reports to promote accountability.

Reduce meeting frequency

While board directors spend around 4.35 hours a week at meetings (321 hours a year), executives and managers spend an average of 23 hours per week. Boards should limit meetings across their organizations. That is the only way to improve productivity at board operational meetings:

  • Foster asynchronous communications. Many tasks, information requests, and reports can be managed textually rather than in personal meetings.
  • Treat meetings as a “last resort” option. Promote a culture where operations meetings occur when other communication options are exhausted. Run meetings only when strictly necessary.
  • Implement collaboration tools. Promote workspace automation tools to receive project updates without meetings.

Effective operational meeting agenda: 6 components

An operations meeting structure takes many elements of the nonprofit board meeting agenda to benefit from a straightforward parliamentary procedure.

Operations meeting agenda sample componentDescription
Opening and welcomeIt contains welcome remarks and aligns participants on the purpose and goals of the meeting.
Review of previous action itemsIt quickly recaps decisions and business items from the previous meeting and approves previous meeting minutes.
Updates on ongoing projectsIt explores how ongoing projects progress and discusses associated challenges and risks.
Discussion of current itemsIt reviews the current items based on the meeting goal and nature (planning, brainstorming, resource allocation).
Planning for future tasks and goalsIt outlines key decisions, priorities, and post-meeting tasks.
Closing and follow-up actionsIt assigns follow-up action items for the next meeting.
Check helpful tips on building a board meeting agenda template to optimize your operations meetings.

Best practices for designing an operations meeting agenda

The following two practices can help you design effective agendas for productive meetings:

Prioritizing operations agenda items

The Eisenhower Matrix can help you prioritize items on the agenda:

  1. Urgent and important: Build your agenda around these items. Review them first.
  2. Non-urgent but important: Put these items after important and urgent. Review them if you have sufficient time.
  3. Urgent but not important: Put these items on the consent agenda.
  4. Non-urgent and not important: Put these items at the bottom of the list or remove/postpone them.
ImportantItems that significantly impact operations in the short term.Items crucial for long-term success.
Non-importantItems with minimal operational impact that must be resolved quickly.Low-priority items that can be postponed or removed from the agenda.

This matrix will help you set clear objectives for the quarterly, monthly, or weekly operations meeting agenda. As you understand the action items to be discussed, you can grasp the meeting goals and objectives.

Discover what is a consent agenda for a board meeting to manage routine and non-important urgent items.

Allocating appropriate time for each agenda item

Applying time frames to business items helps you keep meetings short and efficient. Follow these tips to allocate time for agenda items:

  • Consider urgency,  importance, and purpose. Leave maximum time for urgent and important items. Updates may take 10 minutes, while complex challenges may need 20-minute discussions. Routine items should take the least time.
  • Consider overall meeting length. See how long your agenda draft takes and remove certain items to keep your meeting at two hours max.
  • Take breaks. Take breaks every 25-30 minutes to reduce mental fatigue. Also, consider an average audience attention span of 8-10 minutes.

You can check the operations meeting agenda examples below:

Download a free operations meeting agenda template

For your structured and productive meetings


Engaging participants in operations meetings

Consider these practices to improve participation:

  1. Using interactive tools and techniques
  2. Encouraging contributions from all team members
  3. Recognizing and celebrating achievements

Using interactive tools and techniques

You may use additional tools and techniques to help participants visualize operational metrics:

  • Digital board packs. Circulate board packs between participants using a digital operations team meeting agenda in board portals. It helps members keep up with discussions and presentations.
  • Charts and infographics. Visualize KPIs, financial results, and other metrics that are difficult to track with auditory perception.
  • Projector screens. Show charts on wide projector screen stands to improve visual perception and enhance decision-making.

Encouraging contributions from all team members

Chairs can use the following tricks to stimulate discussion and contribution from all members:

  • Open-ended questions. Explicitly ask for an opinion at the end of your question.
  • Round table discussions. Initiate discussion tables and sequentially ask for personal contributions from all members. 

Recognizing and celebrating achievements

You can celebrate achievements to improve trust, foster open-mindedness, and stimulate productivity:

  • Success stories. You can periodically celebrate achievements and milestones while opening meetings (not every meeting). One five-minute slot in the meeting agenda is enough.
  • Awards and certificates. Introduce a system of certificates and awards to highlight success recognition. Incorporate financial incentives for executives and project managers.
  • Team celebrations. Organize periodic team celebrations and corporate events. Make them exceptionally voluntary because “mandatory” fun has the opposite effect.

Key takeaways

  • Emphasize physical activity before ops meetings for better focus, limit participants for clear decision-making, and reduce overall meeting frequency to avoid meeting fatigue.
  • A clear ops meeting agenda brings order to meetings, allows everyone to participate, and facilitates follow-up actions.
  • Awards and incentives facilitate engagement, while board portals and visual tools bring clarity to operations meetings. You can review board portals at board-room.org to make informed software decisions.


What should be discussed at an operations meeting?

An ops meeting usually discusses the following topics: project updates, KPIs and milestones, financial performance and revenue targets, resource allocation specifics.

What is on an operations agenda?

The operations meeting agenda contains the following elements: opening and welcome, review of previous action items, updates on ongoing projects, discussion of current items, planning for future tasks and goals, closing and follow-up actions.

How do you optimize your operations meeting?

Adapt the Eisenhower Matrix (priority matrix) to prioritize agenda items, involve a maximum of 8 participants at decision-making meetings, and use board management software. And emphasize light physical activity before meetings to improve alertness and take short breaks every 25-30 minutes.

Average rating: 4.8 | 15 votes
Casey Johnson Marketing strategist
Casey Johnson is a seasoned marketing strategist specializing in board portals. With over a decade of experience, she spearheads comprehensive marketing campaigns to enhance brand visibility and drive growth. Casey orchestrates content plans, conducts market research, and collaborates with content creators to ensure impactful marketing strategies.
Download a free operations meeting agenda template for structured and productive meetings
Please fill in the required field
Please enter the correct phone number
Please enter a corporate email
Thank You for Your Interest!
If the download does not start, click the button below to download the White Paper.
Download White Paper