Effective meetings are vital for management and communication and should be given as much priority as meetings with key clients or prospects.
For meetings to be successful, you must:
- Take them seriously. Numerous missed, postponed, or canceled meetings shows lack of respect for your team.
- Have an agenda. Use it to guide the conversation and to ensure that all issues are discussed and resolved.
- Start and end on time.
- Take notes, especially on action items decided during the meeting.
- Use a “parking lot.” This is a running list of things still to be addressed.
- Encourage participation.
- Keep debate and conflict productive. If disagreements are not encouraged, frustrations will grow and may show up as bad attitude, passive aggressiveness, or behind-the-scenes backstabbing. If there are conflicting ideas, Patrick Lencioni, author of Death by Meeting, recommends saying this: “Thank you for making us confront that issue. Our meetings were getting so uncomfortable because we were avoiding it when everyone knew it was a problem.”
Reinforce the notion that disagreement with an idea is acceptable but attacking the speaker is not. Derail an occurrence by saying: “This is about the project. Personal attacks are not acceptable. I know you have great ideas for how we might take this project to the next level. Will you share?”
Which meetings are essential for remodeling companies?
- Weekly or biweekly: staff, sales, and production meetings
- Monthly: strategic meetings with sales, marketing, administration, and production department heads and a field representative
- Quarterly (or monthly): board of directors meeting. These provide an opportunity to have organized input on the business’ strategic direction. Information shared here is often not shared with the rest of the team.
- Annual (or twice a year): all-company meeting. Everyone in the company should attend. At the annual meeting the owner and department heads share a “state of the company” message and new marketing initiatives, recognize team members who went above and beyond, repeat the mission statement, remind staff that every person on the team contributes to overall success, and lead activities that break down barriers between departments.
- Every two years: strategic planning meeting. The owner(s) and key employees (no more than 10 to 12 people) focus on developing a direction for the future. Effective planning meetings encourage brainstorming and two-way communication to uncover innovative solutions to problems or strategies for moving forward.
- As needed: brainstorm, project kick-off, system development meetings
—Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage.