When you mention the word “Meeting” to most business people they start having nightmares about being trapped in a room with a bunch of staff for hours on end, with a lot of whining and complaining.
One of the first questions I ask business owners when they’re talking about team performance is “when was the last time that you met with the team?” Often it’s greater than six months and sometimes greater than a year. To expect to have a highly motivated team without meeting with them, is like expecting your car to run forever, without going to the mechanic. Naïve.
The Rumour Mill
When you don’t communicate with your team often enough, people will make up their own story about what is going on in your business. They base it on overheard conversations. This is where baseless rumours and gossip starts. It’s how good team members can get the wrong idea about your business. It allows a small issue to flare up into major crisis. All of which takes time to fix.
But what’s in it for you, the business owner? The biggest advantages of meetings is that when you start running them regularly, you get less interruptions. Rather than annoying you in the middle of your work, your team knows they can bring up their issues at least once a week, so they will leave things until then. It also cuts down on unnecessary one-to-one communication and allows things can get handled systematically and one-way upfront.
You need to start thinking of your meetings as a way to tune-up your team for high performance.
There are two main styles of meetings that you can run.
The Across-the-board Team Meeting, which is useful to have once every six months or once a year. This gets everyone in the same room at the same time speaking about the big picture, the big issues.
Then there’s Operational style meetings, where you get part of your team together and focus on day-to-day issues. You should be running these weekly, fortnightly and in some businesses, even daily.
How To Run Quick and Decisive Meetings
Here are some tips to get up and going fast:
Organises regular time – Regardless of who is going to be there or not, run the meeting. Don’t make it a calendar date, rather a repeat day every week or month (i.e. the first Friday of every month). Run it even if there are two of you there. You need to train your team to attend regardless. Don’t allow excuses as why they can’t attend.
Split Meetings – Do you have team members that operate on different days? Reduce the size of the meetings and run the meeting twice. Or get them to phone in (there are very cheap teleconferencing services that let you get everyone on the line at once).
Agenda Only – Never start a meeting without an agenda. Not a new agenda for every meeting, just one agenda that you reuse for what to cover every time. Write once, use many. (If you’re would like a “Power Meeting Agenda” please e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org).
Keep Up The Pace – Have someone as the timekeeper. Make someone accountable for telling the group to move on (“we haven’t got enough time, why don’t you two speak about this later?”). Some people drag the chain and you need to be able to move forward fast.
… and make sure you have a clock in the room.
Make it Uncomfortable – Get rid of chairs, don’t have food or coffee. Make it take place standing out on the work floor. Move it forward fast, don’t make it too comfortable.
Preparation – If you are checking reports, make the person responsible for that area bring along the reports. Hold them accountable for reporting their figures to the team.
Start Long, Finish Small – If you have never had meetings, just accept that your first couple will take a while. It’s like a big boil festering, when you lance it, it’s going to be ugly and messy (after all your team haven’t had a chance to voice their concerns for ages). But once the first couple is done you will find that they will happen faster and faster. As long as people know that you will be meeting again, they are more willing to discuss things next meeting, so you can move forward faster. Slash the meeting times after the 3rd meeting.
Take Action Points – No use meeting if you don’t give people tasks. Just create a list of who has to do what by when. Get one person to write it down and then email or print it for everyone.
GET MOVING: Stop putting it off. Organise a meeting to discuss the important issues with your team today so you team can start working on all cylinders
Article By- Steve Smit – Reality Consulting