In business, Jour Fixe meetings occur between individuals on a one-to-one basis or a team to discuss ongoing projects, progress updates, and upcoming tasks. The purpose is for team members to share information and collaborate on solutions to challenges they may be facing.
This article will walk you through the steps to prepare for, conduct, and follow up on a Jour Fixe meeting. Whether you're new to leading these meetings or have been doing them for a while, our tips and advice will help ensure your Jour Fixe is productive and successful.
Jour Fixe Meaning
The term "Jour Fixe" is originally from the French language. However, it's commonly used in German-speaking countries to refer to a regular meeting or appointment on a fixed day and time, usually weekly or monthly. For instance, the HR team might meet on the first Friday of every month, while the remote development team has a Jour Fixe at 15h00 every Thursday.
The primary purpose of Jour Fixe meetings is to improve communication and collaboration among team members and ensure everyone is working toward the same goal. By setting a fixed day and time for these meetings, team members can plan ahead and prepare accordingly, which can help to increase productivity and efficiency.
When is a Jour Fixe Useful?
As a manager, you can use the Jour Fixe meeting to check in on how your team members are doing in their roles on a one-to-one basis. Learning about how they feel and if there are ways you can help them can give you a better understanding of where they stand on their professional work and give you actionable insight on how you can also improve your performance as a manager.
Jour fixe meetings are also beneficial for remote teams, who may not be able to communicate as frequently in person. Regular meetings can help virtual teams stay connected, understand what other team members are working on, and find ways to support each other.
In addition to the contexts mentioned earlier, a Jour Fixe meeting can also be helpful for managers or team leaders who want to:
- Know how their subordinates are feeling regarding a task or overall project. These meetings allow for more open communication regarding challenges the employees might face and how these impact their overall motivation. Managers might have a more casual approach at the start of the Jour Fixe to learn how their team members are doing and if anything is bothering them that might impact their work.
- Have a better understanding of the project status. Jour Fixe meetings are an excellent way to catch up on how the projects are developing if the issues have been resolved, and if any new matters of concern have popped up since the last Jour Fixe. You can discuss any new developments from the stakeholder side that might need to be addressed by those working on the project.
- Establish a plan for mitigating any urgent matters or problems. You can use these meetings to have a broader understanding of which problems your employee might be facing and establish a plan on how you can help them solve them. For instance, if a developer has issues with a particular feature, you may recommend they work with a more experienced team member or direct them towards a different approach.
How to Conduct a Jour Fixe
Poorly conducted Jour Fixe meetings can lead to disengagement, wasted time, and even harm the team's productivity in the long run. This latter aspect becomes particularly frequent when the Jour Fixe meeting becomes a tedious obligation rather than a process that delivers actionable insight.
On the other hand, well-conducted meetings can lead to increased accountability, better decision-making, and a stronger team dynamic, all of which are strongly associated with how you direct the Jour Fixe. Below, we'll dive deeper into some tips to help you direct a successful Jour Fixe:
Determine the Participants
The success of a Jour Fixe depends mainly on the participants. As the organizer, you should carefully select the people relevant to the content discussed in the meeting. This includes identifying the stakeholders, decision-makers, and team members responsible for the project or goal. The more clearly you define the group of people, the more productive the meeting will be.
Determine the Content
The content of a Jour Fixe depends on the purpose of the meeting and the progress of the project. Here are some tips to help you determine the content:
- Take a few days in advance to write down the critical items for the agenda
- Summarise these points in the schedule and send the document to all participants
- Give participants time to prepare and think about the agenda items beforehand
Depending on the content of the Jour Fixe, you may need the participants to prepare data to share during the meeting. For instance:
- Updates on the project the employee has been working on
- Details on the progress completed thus far
- Issues they might be facing
- Requests for further training on specific matters
- Information on the next steps for the project
If there are significant company-wide developments, such as new hires or layoffs, you should also ensure you set the time to discuss these topics.
Set the Rules
It is essential to establish clear rules for the Jour Fixe to ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently. Consider the following when planning the meeting:
- Define who leads the discussion and coordinates the agenda items
- Specify who can contribute ideas on the agenda items
- Establish a process for handling open questions
- Determine how the process will run and ensure everyone is aware of it
Establish a Process
Establishing a straightforward process is crucial for the success of a Jour Fixe meeting. You can take a practical approach by following these steps:
- Start with lighter topics, such as a short status update
- Move on to the more difficult or complex issues, such as working on strategies or solutions to current problems the employee might be facing
- End the meeting with a positive matter, such as good feedback or complimenting the advance the employee has conquered in the project
- Define a realistic time frame for the discussion and plan a certain amount of minutes per topic
Tips for Conducting a Successful Jour Fixe
Below, we'll dive into some of the best tips to guarantee you can take full advantage of what these meetings offer:
- Clearly define the objectives and goals of the meeting, as this will help ensure that the meeting is focused and productive
- Create a plan that outlines the issues you will discuss and the amount of time allocated for each subject
- Share the agenda with team members in advance so that they can prepare for the meeting and come ready with any necessary information or materials
- Start the meeting on time and avoid delaying the start to accommodate latecomers. Likewise, ensure the meeting ends on time
- Encourage the employee to participate in the discussion and share their ideas and insights
- Create a safe and supportive environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their opinions and engaging in constructive dialogue.
- Avoid criticising or blaming the team member and instead focus on identifying solutions and moving forward
- Assign action items to team members at the end of the meeting, and be clear about responsibilities and deadlines
- Follow up with the team member after the meeting to ensure they complete the action items and are making the expected progress
The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Jour Fixe
Jour Fixe meetings can provide numerous benefits, including improved communication and better decision-making. However, they can also have downsides. In this section, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Jour Fixe meetings and provide insights into how to make these meetings more effective.
Advantages of a Jour Fixe Meeting:
- Strengthened relationship between team leaders and team members
- Increased productivity due to actionable insight
- Stronger team loyalty and employee retention
- Delivery of meaningful and personalised feedback
- Enhanced progress tracking
Disadvantages of a Jour Fixe Meeting:
- Depending on how you organise your Jour Fixe, you may spend several hours a week on meetings with different employees
- Some minor progress updates could be shared through other communication channels
- Employees might not see the importance of these meetings – in that case, you might want to find ways to improve the discussion or maybe change the meeting to a quick check-in.
While Jour Fixe meetings can have many advantages, they can also have disadvantages if poorly structured and not effectively implemented. It's essential to carefully consider the meetings' frequency, format, and purpose to ensure they are productive and beneficial for all team members.
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