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.