Have you dropped management meetings in favor of more urgent tasks? Think again. Don’t chuck the baby with the bath water.
Tracking your numbers has no value in itself; the value lies in reviewing and acting on them. Management meetings provide the opportunity for such review and action and are an important means of working “on your business.” Some tips:
- Set a regular meeting schedule. If you don’t, the meetings are too easily put off. Regular meetings are the backbone of a good management system, and, like regular vehicle maintenance, they prevent crises. Other appointments, even clients and sales calls, should defer to your management meeting schedule.
- Summarize relevant information. A spreadsheet packed with numbers and abbreviations is a collection tool not a communication tool. Turn data into knowledge through accurate, clear summaries. Distributing these summaries in advance, along with a written agenda, enables participants to prepare so that meeting time can be as efficient as possible.
- Have three meetings per month. Regardless of company size, hold a sales, a production, and a financial meeting at least once a month.
SALES meetings should review and compare to goals:
- Number of inquiries and target leads; previous month and YTD
- List of preliminary contracts signed the previous month
- Signed construction contracts, including value and job category
- List of currently open sales files with projected closing dates
- List of projected contracts to be signed within the next two months
PRODUCTION meetings should review and compare to goals:
- Status of every job currently in production
- Projected schedule for each job over the next month
- Date the next job could move to production
- Date the next job must start in order to use resources profitably
- Job cost reports for every job completed since the previous production meeting
FINANCIAL meetings should review and compare to goals:
- Projected cash receipts over the next two months, including source and timing
- Cash flow over the next two months, highlighting any shortfalls
- Budget report, highlighting actual gross margin for previous month and YTD
In my experience, management meetings are best facilitated by the respective department manager (sales, production, finances) because collecting, organizing, and presenting the relevant data ensures familiarity with the details for which that particular manager is accountable.
Properly identified, each bit of data you review, each metric, is a window into a significant area of company performance. As a client recently observed, “The real value of meetings is in preparing for them.” And this is just as true if you’re wearing all those hats in your company.
—Richard Steven, president of Fulcra Consulting, helps remodeling companies create and use effective management plans. firstname.lastname@example.org.