We have an ongoing discussion about the blessing and curse of being a leader. We’ve discussed how necessary leadership is to any growing company, and how it can be overwhelming for a leader to balance the needs of the team with their own. We’ve shared how the strategy of “Leading by Example” can provide leadership for your team in a leveraged, structured manner. Here is another strategy to produce results, while allowing you to maintain a balance between the demands of your team and your own needs.
The Setup for a Productive Week
Team meetings often seem like really bad episodes of the TV show “Survivor” – half the team arguing about HOW to do something, while the other half is daydreaming; at least one person is upset and at least one is just sitting there nodding “YES” to everything to keep the peace. However, with the blur of day-to-day noise in a small firm, it’s impossible for a team to be effective and avoid miscommunication without checking in once a week, as a group, on goals and things that impact the team (firm). It also makes sense to make group announcements ONE TIME to everyone, versus FIVE TIMES to each person individually, or worse, getting stuck in an email game of “Communication Ping Pong.”
Most team members run and hide from any mention of a “meeting.” They simply want to get their work done. They don’t want to talk about it, or strategize about it – they just want to do it!
As much as we can commiserate about sitting through long, drawn out, useless meetings with endless discussions and nothing accomplished, it’s imperative that you set your week up to be productive with the following HOUSE RULES for running a concise, effective weekly team meeting:
1. You must start your week with a team meeting, whether Monday or on your company’s first business day of the week. Who needs a meeting at the end of the week to discuss what’s already happened? Monday team meetings help plan for the week and get everyone on the same page. It MUST be the same day and time every week, so everyone can plan to be there. This meeting is sacred and should never be postponed.
2. The meetings should be no longer than an hour.
3. Everyone attends the meeting – from the boss to the receptionist. No exceptions. That’s why it’s called a TEAM meeting.
4. All phones are turned off! Office phones go to voicemail with a recording that lets callers know that you’re in a team meeting from X a.m. to X a.m., and will return calls at X a.m. And no smartphones. (We know this little device makes you feel very important, but it is a blatant display of disrespect. And we promise your listserv email responses of “me too” can wait an hour.)
5. A predetermined, consistent leader should run the meeting with a standard agenda. The leader should never, ever be the owner of the business. Everyone should be made aware of the agenda prior to the meeting, and come prepared and organized. If the team leader is you, take responsibility for bringing the necessary implements (current schedule, copies of tools/worksheets, pencils, etc.). You can prepare for it at the end of the day Friday, or come in early Monday morning – whatever works for you. (You don’t want to have to say, “I don’t have that” five times during one meeting.) The key is to be accountable. The result is an effective Monday Morning Meeting, and respect from your boss and team.
6. Keep Monday Morning Meeting agendas and worksheets in front of you all day Monday, until you have all action steps calendared for the bigger strategic items. The easy “Gottas” go right from one list to the next until you can knock them off your list, typically by Tuesday. The result is a focused planning day.
7. At the end of the week, hold a quick meeting to summarize what was accomplished for the week. We call this “The 10 Minute Team Huddle.”
If you are ready to make your Dream Team come true, while making sure it doesn’t fall apart, and create a structure for clear, unified communication for creating a self-guided team, then an intentional VIP Strategy Day is for you. It takes the average person six months to fully chart what we will accomplish in ONE deliberate DAY.
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