How can I structure our employee meetings to keep everyone aware and on task of what we're working towards?
Recently, there has been miscommunication between my team members and management on the best practices for our company and where our resources should be spent. I don't want to waste any more time and am looking for innovative ways to get my employees focused. Please advise, thank you.
I think this is a common problem faced by most of us, perhaps the answer lies in a more cohesive in house communication plan- this should be common and individual based where each member gets to know exactly what, when and where of the focus areas of the company and his/her expected role to achieve them
Have you thought about holding "virtual" meetings instead of demanding attendance in person from all employees? Teleconferencing in from their desk, even if they are in the building can give some leeway for department managers to allow those not "participating" in the meeting actions to attend the parts of the meetings they need to be aware of and to "conference out" as soon as they have their information without disrupting the meeting itself. This keeps the meeting more focused by the employees that are "warm body" attendees and provides an alternative to larger meeting rooms, etc. where attention can be difficult to control.
As a coach, facilitator, and trainer, my advice would be to hire a facilitator to do three to for meetings while teaching those with aptitude on your team the facilitation skills necessary for conducting effective meetings. These should have measureable action items with due dates so that everyone knows results are being achieved. An external facilitator can also speak to the white elephants in the room and give everyone a chance to speak. I insist on creating the right atmosphere for the meeting by understanding the desired outcomes, creating an agenda to achieve it and maximizing the use of the space and facilitation tools to conduct an effective meeting.
Let me know if you would like some reference materials;-)
I'd suggest an authentic, lazy and curious leadership approach. Lean in and I'll explain:
Authentic: Be up front with your team and express your desire to create team meetings that give everyone the chance to input and remain focused on the task. Let them know how you feel and invite their view on whether the meetings are working for them.
Lazy: As leaders we are used to be solution monsters - it's what we are paid for right? Some challenges require us to be lazy and listen - taking the time to understand where the pinch point is for our people so that we can guide our people to find the right solution for the team.
Curious: Ask questions. Find out what works for the team and what doesn't. Change your question in your mind to How can WE structure OUR meetings to keep EVERYONE aware and ON TASK? Words are powerful and people take meaning form them.
Here's why the above works: All of the suggestions in the answers below me are all good suggestions. I'd urge you to think about adopting a strategy that's long lasting and has real impact and the key to that is choosing solutions that have credibility with your team. Where do most of our credible ideas come from?From ourselves of course and that's why you need the team to come up with the way forward. Have a view and maybe bring these ideas when you contribute to the session and try to avoid a command and control approach.
That's my first ever answer on these forums (I joined today). Best of luck and do get in touch if you need more.
Well this is a normal stage in a team life cycle. Have you heard about Town Hall Meetings?
If not, here is one article that might help, that solved most of the issues with my staff.
Also try to host it, not to facilitate it; that will make your staff more comfortable. By hosting I mean seat everyone in a circle and it won't be you delivering content, you'll make sure they understand that the session is driven by them and their questions towards their concerns.
Hope it helps!
You can use a web based software like jira but I would personally recommend you to have basecamp to solve the problem.
Depends on staff size. If bigger, try first round meetings at departmental level. That way consensus can be built rather easily, quickly. Then hold a meeting with heads of departments for final decision. Getting your employees focused is indeed very crucial, and you've got to devise an effective strategy to achieve that. What would help your staff to get focused? Knowing their itches may seem to be vital. Hope this helps...
The greatest way I have found to motivate employees is to use positive reinforcement. I typically use incentives such as gift cards, special gifts (such as green fees or golf equipment) for performance, and other types of what I call "investments". I find using these types of monetary elements can help motivate employees for even long periods of time, depending on the length of time of the project and the value of the "investment". These are also all fully tax-deductible.
Obviously offering cash bonuses based on the project performance is also a way to keep employees motivated (another tax deduction), and having a weekly update as to the progress of the project will allow management to be informed to make their decisions to direct the team members effectively. If there is more tension involved in the use of monetary resources, hiring a qualified accountant or expert in finance can help to be a great mediator and provide reports on certain scenarios on the use of that money. It is also from an independent standpoint, which should help with the miscommunication between members. Oh, and that fee is also tax deductible.
Hope this helps!
Start some sort of project management or workflow type program. Then you can see where the break down is happening. An innovative way to get them focused is to tell them to focus or they will be replaced. Resource spending should be allocated on the risk versus reward basis. Everyone competing for the resources should have a "business plan" for the use and the return
Hope this helps.
The most important things in feective meetings are
Plan the agenda
Circulate the agenda
Focus on the agenda
Ensure that meetings do not meander.
Circulate minutes of the meeting
Follow up on agenda points discussed
Why don't you try sending this email to your team and management? That is "Recently, there have been miscommunications between team members and management on best practices and priorities. How can we get on the same page? Does anyone have questions about what we are trying to accomplish? How can we improve how we share our goals and priorities, and get everyone to understand the value we expect them to add?" In other words - ask your team and your management what will work for them.
Jason, First you need to set your company priorities in stone, there should be absolutely no wiggle room without specific instructions from the management team. Every employee from management to the cleaning crew should understand what and how you expect them to act on your behalf. This is the basic integrity of your firm. This should be crystal clear in there minds. There are no excuses for wasting resources and manpower.
If they are in doubt, call senior management, if this group is in doubt, call you. Being innovative is fine where appropriate, but to sweep past guidelines to prove their worth is destructive in the long run. Vijaya's suggestion prior to my posting is quite correct. I have instructed each and every member of the team being assembled, what the meeting topics are to be, early in the week, giving them time to collect their thoughts on each topic to be discussed.
There is some really good workflow management and collaborative software available online. I forgot the name but seek and you will find.
Miscommunication is the most common cause of project cost overrun and delays. You should try to establish an auditable progress monitoring system which would implement company wide accountabilty for project success. The theme is quite wide.
I did an article on goals you seek, named "Multidimensional Preemptive Coordination in construction". It is not construction specific, as the same problem exists in all companies. You will find there additional resources you might like to explore. You are wellcome to download it from my Linkedin profile
Communication is very important to get something out of employee meetings. It is a good idea to convey team members in advance what the meeting is about and what are the expected outcomes. That way team members will come prepared to discuss the topics, issues they are facing. You can discuss those issues with team members and able to take appropriate actions on those issues. A quick and easy way to keep employees focused.
Meetings are opportunities to enhance the vision of the company or 'lose' the employee engagement. I find that long range plans are insults to the listener. " We are in business to serve the customer". "We will increase sales by 42 percent". Really. Will those two ideas keep employees on the task? This is the approach I use in my meetings. It is simple but effective.
Things we do well now
Things we can do better
Things we do poorly now
Things that can hurt us.
Forget how much it will cost and how long it will take.For now just figure out the objectives should be and how to get there.
KIS = KEEP IT SIMPLE
Start with a list of objectives and define who is to do what, when and how. Once you know how to present your plan then call the meeting. If you have mangers who must supervise the process, turn the portion of the meeting over to them and let them explain the objectives, time line, etc. Show you support them.
You are responsible to keep your team focused on the objectives and the timelines and deadlines. Have each manager or person responsible report back to you with the progress periodically. You set the benchmark and inspect what you expect regularly.
Reward the success achieved by the team or individual when reaching your goals or objectives. Give them a day off, take them to lunch, give them a gift card for them to take their spouse to dinner. Reward the success and collectively examine the failures so they don't reoccur. Show them you care if you expect them to care.
I'm not entirely sure if I understand the whole scenario but there's something I know, however cliche and basic it is, that still works when employees are not on the same page or couldn't monitor one another and their tasks. A complete action plan file coupled with a structured and very open reporting/communication/feedback mechanism is gonna do the trick.
Richard Stern- Suggest meetings take place Mondays and Fridays.
No more than 30 minutes with each person resonsible to bring to the meeting: what is happening in their departments, status of work, problems with the work, suggested solutions,.
On Friday what has been accomplished, what is still pending, status of the problem resolutions noted Monday.
Time and Action for remaining work to be done.
The owner, or senior Manager should step in when the Managers actions are not getting theb intended results.
Reiterate the 'focus' and agenda in an email prior to the meeting. Bullet out the discussion points to be discussed, and 'tell' everyone to 'be prepared' to discuss at the meeting.