3 Keys to Effective Meetings to Help Turn Your Business Around

I’ve facilitated over 15 meetings with clients in the past couple weeks, and hundreds more with all the businesses I’ve worked with over the years and there is a trend.

Businesses that are NOT achieving their profit targets or have productivity issues, are not having meetings.

And I mean ‘effective meetings’.

When I ask why a business isn’t having meetings, the two common reasons are: they take too long and they don’t work.

If you have this belief and are looking to turn your business around, here are my tips for effective meetings:

> Set an agenda/checklist of topics. You may or may not need this and it can be the same checklist every month so you don’t have to rewrite it. But it can help add certainty to the team. No one is wondering if their question/issue is going to get raised etc. And can keep you on track and prevent you missing important bits. If you, as the boss, don’t discuss it, then the team will assume it isn’t important, and you can’t blame them for not taking it seriously either. Note my points below to add weight to what you think is important.

> Focus on outcomes and what needs to be done. It is quite natural for everyone to want to explain the background or talk around the subject, and about the people involved. It’s human nature. However in order to keep your meetings short and sharp and prevent people from blaming meetings for taking too long, you need to encourage the habit of allowing just a couple sentences on the issue, decide if it needs fixing and then just go straight to the outcome you want and what needs to be done to get it. Short a sharp. Issue is raised, “great, what do we need to do about it? Who’s going to do it? When do we need it done by?” Bang, done. Next topic.

> Make sure you write down and clarify:

  • What needs to be done – outcome needed, what it looks like, how you will know it’s done
  • Who’s going to do it – check the person is comfortable doing it, knows how to do it or needs some support/help/equipment/training
  • When does it need to be done by?
  • Give permission to get it wrong. New procedures may not work and that is ok. You don’t want people fearing taking action to improve things.

The above prevent staff losing faith in meetings because they ‘don’t work’.

Communication breakdown is a major reason businesses fail. Effective meetings are essential.

Contact me if you need help identifying the kind of meetings you need or to facilitate the first few to coach everyone on how to have effective meetings.

Fixing a Business is Easier Than You Perhaps Think

Just finished doing a turnaround consult on two businesses and I’m posting this to give encouragement, perhaps hope, to those of you running a business that is driving you nuts or sucking all your time for little financial reward.

If you think fixing your business is going to take ages or cost a lot, I can almost guarantee you are wrong.

Yes, there are some businesses that just can’t be fixed. But the majority can quite easily be ‘fixed’.

For example these most recent two businesses took 6 wks and one started implementing important changes in week 3 and is already operating like a different company! Wonderful to see the changes.

Both businesses had good products and service but were failing to make profit despite turning over $1.4m and $3.7m. They also had staff performance issues and the wrong people in the wrong roles.

My turnaround service involves an auditing process I’ve developed over the years and includes my own questionnaire, staff interviews, audit of processes, audit of financials and if required, customer interviews.

I then make recommendations on priority things that need fixing and how. Often this is enough. Sometimes the business needs me to support and facilitate the changes. I’m here to help for as long as required.

To emphasise again, seeing the way out when you are in it can be impossible. However this doesn’t mean the solution is hard or impossible! Quite the opposite!

I tried renovating a one bedroom apartment once. After 12 months of no rent, my wife made me get a builder in and we finished it in a week. I was spending nights after work in that apartment looking at the mess I had created pulling out the kitchen etc and I was paralysed. I didn’t know where to start or what to focus on so I just dabbled at fixing this and that. The builder came in and immediately knew what to do. He made it so easy.

Same in business. If you are having issues or want to take things to the next level, give me a call.

Tip for Improving Staff Self-Management: make the invisible visible

Making the invisible visible.

This is key.

Here is a wonderful example how a client did this recently.

Major bottle neck happening getting projects through the lengthy approval process so they can start work. They can’t start work and make money until approvals and insurances are sorted.

The spreadsheet for tracking where the project was at in the approval process was inside a computer. It was a nice spreadsheet, had all the info including coloured boxes.

BUT! It was invisible!

Make a huge whiteboard with all the columns for approval steps and hang it where everyone responsible can see it.

They have coloured magnets they move along the columns as steps are completed.

In an instant, project managers can see which projects are dragging. There is no escaping reality and this is what you want.

Staff responsible for chasing approvals, permits, insurances, contracts etc can immediately see which projects they need to focus on.

Results have been instant.

BUT!  There was one extra bit missing that added the final icing to the cake, and boosted performance even further.

Project managers and the business owner couldn’t quickly see how many projects were ready to start that week. This is a key KPI that needs to be tracked because it directly influences cash flow.

The solution was to add a 3wk forecast of jobs due to start. This means they can clearly see how many jobs are starting each week. As a result they can slow down or ramp up efforts as required. In the past it required the business owner to spend a lot of time digging into the details and hassling them to make follow-up calls.

With the new columns added, the business owner can set the team targets for how many jobs need to be starting in Weeks 1, 2 and 3.

As a result, the staff can self manage, and don’t need the business owner to waste time monitoring what is happening and pushing them.

This is key! It is an important step towards holidays for the business owner!!!!

When targets and progress are visible, staff are more able to manage themselves. Plus, visible scoreboards satisfy a core need to contribute and feel a sense of achievement/progress = improved job satisfaction.

Less time needed for the business owner ‘in’ the business!! Win-win.

Don’t Ask for a Meeting or Reply!


This can be due to several reasons, but here is one that you may not have thought of or considered.
A client today had a lightbulb moment regarding their issue of prospects not returning their calls or replying to emails.

It highlighted how easy it is to be more in OUR world instead of being more in THEIRS. And as a result we get ignored.

My client was telling me:

“I’ve asked them many times to meet so we can explain our service, I’ve even invited them to come to one of our sites and see our work firsthand! And I’ve given them names of clients they can call to confirm we are good.”

I translated this for him so he could understand what the prospect may be hearing:

“So you want me to interrupt my day and give you time I don’t have in my overloaded schedule, to help you, a stranger, make money?”

The penny dropped. Yes he’s got a good service but everyone is busy. And he was approaching his business development from the perspective of himself. So every email or phone message was asking the prospect to agree to an action and add yet another task to their already overflowing to-do list. Even replying to an email is an extra task they don’t need.

The solution was to brainstorm a range of ways he can remind them he exists and how he can ‘give’  value before asking for something from them.

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Are You Making These Mistakes Chef Ramsey Often Finds?

Chef Ramsey is horrified by these mistakes


I love watching Kitchen Nightmares.

There are several common issues Chef Ramsey deals with that are applicable to all businesses.

1. Too many items on the menu.

Are you making yourself inefficient and unprofitable because you are trying to offer too many things?

Are you scared to drop items or believe you have to offer a lot of options?

Red flags. You might want to reconsider and rationalise your offerings. Why? Because you can save time and deliver a better service for less if you streamline your offerings. And significantly reduce your stress levels.


2. You think the food is great, but no one else does.

Customer feedback systems, secret shoppers or audits by consultants such as myself are often required to get honest feedback. It can be very hard for a business owner or Director to have an accurate measure of service.


3. The head chef has lost their passion.

Has your manager or sales person lost their passion or is doing the bare minimum?

Are you micro-managing or failing to act on their suggestions?

Have you stopped doing the regular meetings or BBQ?

Is it your way or the highway?

Red flags!


These are the common issues I see. All easy to fix. Turning a business around can be actually quite easy, when you know what needs fixing and how to fix it.