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
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
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!