- THE MAGAZINE
I hate meetings. I’m not sure why, but meetings feel like one of those old vinyl records that all of a sudden goes into slow motion. As an “off-the-charts D,” I want everything moving and moving fast! But I have found that it’s impossible to communicate effectively if you don’t meet with your team on a regular basis.
Meetings give you an opportunity to share the vision, mission and purpose, as well as get feedback from your team. Most importantly, it’s your opportunity to build community in your business. Having a positive, productive staff comes down to communication. Regular “meetings” are the way to make that happen.
I hesitate to use the term “meeting” because it has a negative connotation. You may want to adopt the term I learned from Kirby Lammers. Kirby always called their staff meetings a “family reunion.” He goes on to say, “no negative energy allowed.” The last thing you want to do is allow your meetings to turn into a gripe session. If you don’t give your staff a positive, phenomenal vision, mission and purpose, they will automatically focus on what’s wrong. It’s human nature. Make all of your meetings positive.
The success formula…
Start all of your meetings with recognition and praise. You want to build a culture of praise. Dale Carnegie said the No. 1 thing employees want is sincere and honest appreciation. You might start out with who’s top in sales or read testimonials. Depending on the type of meeting and what the purpose is, you can even just start by appreciating them as a group. Be sure to recognize them for specific things.
A common thing for small business owners is to allow a lack of performance to cause resentment. Although you may want to let them know how you feel in a group setting, it never works. Praise in public, discipline in private. If you can’t find anything to praise anyone for, you have a leadership problem.
There have been times where we’ve done an entire meeting on appreciation. Each person appreciates another team member for something specific. We call it an “appreciation fest.” Be sure that everyone is recognized. If anyone gets left out, you’ll have the opposite effect.
What meetings should you have?
Daily Production Meeting:If you have production staff (i.e., technicians) or people who build or ship the product, you want to meet with them daily. Why? Because there is one thing that’s on the mind of the typical production worker - what’s going on at home. They’re thinking about what they need to do (or want to do) when they get home. They’re glued to their text messages or Facebook.
It’s the job of the Operations Manager to hold this meeting every day to communicate how we are tracking on the vision, mission and purpose. This meeting should take place every business day! This gets the production staff focused on the goal for the day. It doesn’t have to be a long meeting - it can be 10 to 20 minutes. But the idea of production workers coming in and going straight to work with no leadership and no attitude adjustment is not leadership.
Here’s a simple outline for your daily production meeting:
- Recognition (see above).
- Have a motivational quote or article that helps shape the values you want. For example, you can use Dale Carnegie’s Golden Booklet, John Maxwell’s 365 Daily Reader or Zig Ziglar’s Little Book of BIG Quotes. We have used all of these things and currently play five minutes of “A Conversation with Zig Ziglar.” He shares a couple dozen values on video. Teaching your staff about values is what will have help them be more productive and positive.
- Have a technical tidbit of the day. Maybe something you learned at a seminar or a best practice. Let your employees share also.
- Go over any special instructions for the day or any company announcements. If you have service tickets, or routes, pass those out.
Weekly Manager Meeting:If you’re big enough to have managers, meet with them every week. For example, in my service company, I have a manager over each of the areas of business (Marketing, Sales, Operations, Administration). You may have one manager over some or all of that. Here’s what’s covered in that meeting:
- Leadership training.
- Review reports: See administration for the reports you need to be running. These reports show you how you are doing on your goals.
- Go over any issues that need discussion or decisions.
Weekly Department Meetings:The manager of each department (Marketing, Sales, Operations and Administration) which may be you, should meet with those who are doing the work at least once a week. Here’s how it should run:
- Review reports: For example, if you are meeting with the Marketing Department, review the sales by source report.
- Training tidbit.
- Discuss any issues surrounding performance or development of that area.
Weekly Staff Meeting:This is your big meeting where you have the entire staff together. It is important for your staff to see the team as one. Production staff tend to think that office people sit around with their feet on the desk eating chocolates all day, and the office staff may think the production staff isn’t trying hard enough, or whatever. There are many assumptions that are made. Bringing the team together to show the importance of each team member role is essential.
- Start with positive client comments. Deal with the negative ones in private with those that are involved, and recognize those that met their goals. Everyone in the company has a goal.
- Recognize any new employees. I am very cruel as I make the brand new guy recite the mission statement his first staff meeting. When he recites it in the staff meeting, we discuss what it means. We have five pages on what that mission means. Those five pages are the first pages of our Company Manual.
- Review sales report: You should have a monthly goal and you should track it and post it every day.
- Training: This will be training that benefits the entire group. It could be a DISC Assessment, a video on values, Zig Ziglar videos, technical training or sales training.
As with any relationship, regular communication is the key to keeping everyone positive and productive.