Management team meetings can be boring. Everyone goes around the table and shares updates from their departments. Blah, blah, blah. Too much reporting and not enough dialoging. Lots of talking and very little (real) listening.Work meeting

So at your next management team meeting, throw out your traditional agenda. Instead, ask the following questions (making sure everyone answers) and enjoy a healthy idea exchange.

(1) What big changes are coming and how can we prepare?

The world—and your financial institution—is changing fast. And it’s changing faster than you even realize. If you are not ready for those changes then you are already behind. You could already be behind in your strategy and your thinking. It’s not enough to know that change is coming: you have to know how you are going to prepare for those changes (now).

(2)  What is one example of how your department is living our brand?

Every credit union and bank talks about its brand, values and value proposition (or at least it should). But while your management team leads your brand, it’s your employees who live your brand. Challenge each department head to bring a story about how one of their employees (front line or support staff) did something that demonstrates your brand values.

(3) What business are we in?

One Starbucks front-line employee (not an executive team member) once famously said, “we’re not in the coffee business serving people; we’re in the people business serving coffee.” So what business are you in? Too many times we think we’re in the financial services industry, credit card business, loan area, etc. The reality is we need to change our thinking. That starts with a broader discussion about what business we are really in.

(4) What is one task we are doing that is stupid?

We do the same things over and over again. Why? We are creatures of habit. That’s a very dangerous thing to be in business. We need to be creatures of change. Get your management team reviewing their areas (and the entire organization). Ask one simple question: why are we doing it this way? And then ask a follow-up question: can we do it better?

Those are just a few ideas to help kick-start your next management team discussion. They are designed as open-ended questions to facilitate dialogue. You want your management team to think. They are leaders of your organization—so get them thinking about the questions above.