Ok, it's time for our last post on the Advantage series.
While nothing can kill productivity faster, nothing is more important in your day-to-day business activities than holding regular meetings with your staff. Taking the company's pulse, so to speak, is the best way to monitor its health. Meetings allow concerns and questions to come to the surface from the staff's end, and from management's end they're a great way to establish and discuss the values and objectives of the company, as well as to involve the necessary parties in decision-making processes, strategies, and tactics relating to carrying out the company's objectives while keeping its values at the forefront.
If you are unsure as to whether or not your company has a lackluster meeting schedule, review the following checklist established by Patrick Lencioni, author of The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business:
- You address strategy and tactics with your staff in separate meetings, with each meeting focusing solely one topic at a time.
- During tactical meetings, you only establish an action plan after the team has been fully briefed on the progress they have made thus far in reaching the company's goals, and administrative topics that are not urgent in nature (i.e. time-wasters) are disregarded without batting an eye.
- During meetings relating to issues or concerns, enough time is allotted so that the proper amount of focus can be dedicated to the more important issues so that everyone can be properly and fully briefed on the details surrounding the issue, debate how to go about resolving the issue, and then finally settle on a resolution that everyone can agree on.
- You meet with your team quarterly and offsite in order to review the goings-on at every level of the retail chain, from the retail industry as a whole, to your company (and how the retail industry's goings-on affect your company), and finally, to the team, and how the goings-on at the other levels affect them both individually and collectively.
If you find that two or more of these points are non-existent, then you must re-evaluate how you and your management team go about conducting meetings with your staff. (Hopefully, you are conducting at least semi-regular meetings, and that those meetings come with understood open-door policies.)
Lencioni knows a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to successfully managing a business. He is the author of 10 books, which have sold almost five million copies and have been translated into over 30 languages, and he has written pieces for The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and Harvard Business Review, amongst others. Peruse some of his books, including the aforementioned The Advantage, here.
Ok, this is the hardest part in the series. While I write all the time about how technology can help communicate across vast geography, nothing beats face-to-face meetings. So field managers, you're going to want to find some way to bring the team together on some sort of schedule.
For field teams it's even more critical that you give your team some human contact. They work apart from their management and co-workers and need to bond. The need to gel. They need to become a cohesive merchandising team. And while technology can help people maintain relationship connections while apart (think social sharing) it's hard to get buy-in on mobile devices, one person at a time.
For me, I used to hate meetings. You know, Patrick wrote another book, Death by Meeting which is another book I recommend as well. Now I have a morning meeting via teleconference every morning with my leadership team and it's the best thing I ever did. Speaking of that, it's high-time we met face to face. I'll go set that up now.