Team Meetings with Departmental Goals

Team meetings with a New Twist:  For the most part, I am going to assume that the majority of company weekly team meetings consist of the following:

  • Past Due Action Items
  • Sales for the past week
  • Departmental Issues
  • Customer Issues
  • Sales forecasts for that week.
  • AR reports
  • Etc.

I have sat through hundreds and hundreds of these weekly team meetings (with all of my jobs).  I’m not complaining about them as this seems to be the standard, corporate meeting agenda, but I certainly think upper management can add fun, positive, goals to the weekly itinerary.

As a marketing/sales professional with decades of experience, I strongly recommend having a part of your weekly team meeting designated for DEPARTMENTAL GOALS:  what are the goals for each department, how do they intend on reaching those goals, where are they in the strategic process plan?

As I market a company, I need all departments to excel and strive in their area of expertise and to reach new levels.  With the challenging economy, it is a battle to win sales.  Financial experts recommend that businesses should write a new business plan every six months due to the rapidly changing economy.  That being said, I would want each department to write a plan every six months.

Employees know their departments, probably way better than the big bosses.  Make it a priority to discuss the strategies to accomplish the goals and monitor them during the weekly team meetings.  Do this in the most positive manner possible.  Encourage them to want to write goals, encourage them to reach the goals, and allow them some bragging rights for a few minutes a week on their accomplishments!  This is a small price to pay to improve moral and confidence and performance.

Give the departments something positive to measure and talk about during team meetings.  Below are just a few examples to make my point:

  • Accounting:  Set a dollar amount for a forecast in collections, and have their goals be based on how they plan to reach their forecast.  “We recovered $$$ in past due accounts this week   instead of the usual “we have $$$ in past due status.”
  • Service:   A goal could be to decrease customer care close out time.  Issues always occur, and you can focus on how much quicker the issues are getting resolved.  Also, they can talk about their action plan involved in solving an issue.  Give them bragging rights on these resolved issues instead of harping on the outstanding ones.  Encourage them to prepare a strategic plan for difficult or outstanding customer issues to help them reach their goal of closing out the issues.
  • Drafting:  How often does the team meet deadlines…or exceed them?  Goal would be to have xxx accounts close xxx days ahead of schedule.  They can report at meetings:  we increased productivity by delivering xxx designs ahead of schedule.  We developed xxx process to increase our productivity via better internal communications…  This increases sales as the marketing department can now get a testimonial and promote “an outstanding return time on orders.”
  • Parts:  How long do customers wait to fill an order?  Goal would be to decrease over-counter wait time.  Let that department figure out what they can do better and have them establish their goals.  They can report at team meetings:  We sold $$$ with an increase in team performance as our average customer wait time was down by 2 minutes.  We implemented XYZ process…..  This increases probability of future sales through increased customer satisfaction.
  • Sales:  Have sales team select “challenge accounts” = ones that they have not landed yet but would be a significant accomplishment.  Their strategic plan would list unique action items that could help secure the account.  Their success is not necessarily measured on actually getting the account, but on being creative, taking a little risk, and completing their action items on time.  Keep in mind, I said to select “challenge accounts” so they may not get the account but being relentless is a good training tool as most sales people are short termers…they normally don’t have the patience to work a deal.

More likely than not, people will respond to goals for increased productivity if they have an input and if the consequences are positive.  If departments are having difficulty meeting established goals, then give them the tools and resources to help meet these goals or ask them to go back to the drawing board for a revised plan.  Either way, monitor and manage their progress as a mentor and coach…not as a micromanager.

Try to avoid using the team meetings as a missile guide!  Those meetings are counterproductive and reduces morale at a high rate.  I remember one job where we all dreaded the weekly team  meetings as we prayed to be in Stealth mode….off the radar…not the target of public shame as the boss tore into all that was wrong with our departments.  If shortcomings must be discussed, then do that behind closed doors.  Use your team meetings for positive reinforcement as the entire team is helping to move the company forward.

Bottom line:  encourage departments to build and execute strategic plans!  No matter what expertise they bring to the table, everyone needs to learn how to do strategic planning.  The goals they set will still hold them accountable while fostering a positive atmosphere during meetings.

“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a real commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”  – Mario Andretti


Social Media is still climbing the ranks in the marketing spectrum.  In my line of work, you HAVE to know social media or you are completely “out-dated”…  a marketer gone bad.  When I read this article More Than Facebook: The Time Is Right For Social Business, ( by Alistair Rennie, IBM‘s general manager for social business) on Linkedin this morning, I was very pleased.  He actually beat me to the punch as I have been wanting to address this same issue:

LET your people Tweet

LET your people Facebook

LET your people Network

So many business executives want to use social media, mainly because they think it is “free” advertising.  Some want to implement social media because they “realize they have to” in order to keep up with their competition.  Funny how most of these executives will “block” social networks, especially Facebook.  I find this funny because, as this article points out, in order for you to have great success with social media, you have to let your employees get busy with it!  How can they if you block them from powerful social medial sites!

“People by nature are social beings. We naturally form networks based on trust and similar interests. With social technology, executives are providing the necessary tools for their employees to easily tap into the creativity, intelligence and community that they crave. They’re now able to reach networks of people inside and outside the company to get work done more efficiently, more creatively, more collaboratively. But will they? Not without trust and encouragement from the top. Just as important as the tools, building trust and encouraging social interactions are essential to driving a social change in the workforce. Creating a social business culture can be the most difficult hurdle to overcome, but it’s also the most important.”   -Alistair Rennie

Trust.  Well stated, Alistair!  Letting go of the “denied access” sites is going to have a thorough understanding of how intense and deep this social media thing is.  If owners do not, then they may be participating in only a fraction of the possibilities.  As a business owner, if social is not your “cup of tea”, then hire someone.  Most importantly, when you hire them, LISTEN to them.  Let them do their thing.

I realize that a lot of employees would take advantage of this….always on the sites.  Hopefully, executives have ways to monitor and implement best social media practices.  Establish guidelines and time frames.  Turn your “block” off for an hour a day.  Or limit the employees who need access.

Better yet, organize a social media group in your company.  Allow them to meet weekly to discuss objectives and determine goals for the upcoming week with social media.  This team could monitor other employee’s usage or work with them for a training period as you test the usage and results.

Make a social media plan.  Get your people out there networking!

Funeral Home’s Bizzare Bazaar

While on my way to Michael’s Crafts store to get supplies for my other blog, I passed the local funeral home and was shocked at what I saw….A Bazaar!  Actually, I was quite mortified!  How could they be having an outdoor bazaar with a ginormous kid’s bouncy house right between the funeral home and the grave yard.

As I was gawking at this event, I saw kids having fun, people smiling, pumpkins being carved; it was a nice social event. Motorists, like me, who drove by could stop and visit the little tables of stuff they had out front of the funeral home.

Then my little brain lights went on.  Amazing.  Once I got past the shock, I realized that they were promoting their business.  And they were promoting a normally “not-talked-about” business with a very positive tone.  Funeral Homes and grave yards are a business, as much as we don’t like to think about it.  These companies have competition and need sales just like all others.  So, why not market your business, and market it  in a tone that is all the go these days—- Family Friendly.

This AWESOME idea made me smile and even laugh.  I have to tip my hat to them for being creative and adventurous.  They are stepping out to re-define the image of an entire industry, let alone their business’s brand.  What a huge marketing jump!  They are encouraging families to bring the kids and not make visiting a funeral home or graveyard something that is so sad and negative.   This is the total opposite of how my generation views or viewed funeral homes.

Guts and glory for this funeral home!  Well Done!


Blog Bashing Rebuttal

A very interesting article fell into my lap the other day about why so many blogs fail.   The article went on to state that blogging is outdated and a waste of company time and resources.

This was quite a blow to read since I just started to do my own blogging the day before I read this!  Once I took a deep breath, I stopped looking at the article with a “This is just great” attitude and looked at it with a professional attitude – “Seriously???”  I couldn’t disagree more with the article.

My blog:  I started In Check so I could share my insight and experiences with folks who may want to read it.   Right now, my blog is a great tool for me to keep an awesome journal of my business savvy tricks-of-the-trade.  Who knows, one day I can get enough content to write a book.

If a blog dies out, I wouldn’t really classify it as a “failed” blog.  I would classify it as a person or company who did not want to blog anymore.  My running coach has a blog.  I couldn’t wait to read the next article, and there wasn’t one.  I was disappointed because I wanted to learn from his writings.  If he had the time and ability to keep up with that blog, then I would most definitely read it.

I also write some blogs for my employer.  Our audience is a little different as we address our sales network group more than customers at this point in our infancy blogging stage.  Our purpose is simply “ COMMUNICATION”.  If they read it, great; if they don’t, then we are at least building our reputation of an “informative” company.  We are also establishing ourselves as an industry leader by providing good, informative blogs.  The more we write, the more we gain ground as an authority in our industry!  This is how you help to establish your company as a leader.

The article mentions that little companies cannot compete with the large corporations who hire professional bloggers.  So don’t compete with them, but certainly get in the race.  Don’t make it a huge ordeal or process.  Just blog!

A friend of mine owns a construction company.  His management team spent more time discussing and debating the blog/content/audience, etc. that the blog never made it to fruition.  It is still on their marketing projection list from 2009!  Their competition now has at least two years of blogging under their belt.

My case is another example.  I’m promoting myself as a seasoned professional in sales and marketing.  Shame on me for waiting this long to get it started.  I should have a huge blog portfolio right now.  I finally did what I am now preaching…I just DID IT!

Whether or not a blog is used for direct sales or communication, the bottom line is we all want to increase awareness, increase brand, and/or increase customer loyalty, which all leads to sales.   If you keep your brand and image out there, your sales have the best chance of increasing.

One of the toughest parts of being in marketing is dealing with an upper management team who does not see the value in marketing strategies and campaigns, especially one without base for ROI analysis.  Blogging can easily fall into branding, PR, Communications, etc., which do not have the means to measure and track.  Therefore, blogging could have a short “attention-span”   with this type of upper management.  This doesn’t mean that blogging is out.  It means that the group of “non-believers” in identity marketing is not going to be as patient and understanding with blogging.   Therefore, they will try it and then abandon ship when they do not see any return.  (As I’m certain they have done with all brand marketing.)

As a seasoned marketer, I stress over and over, “Use all the Guns!”  Don’t just go into the battle with only one gun.  Go in with an arsenal.  Do social media, write a blog.  Keep up with the times and especially keep up with your competition.

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