||One-Stop Money &
Bigbooster's Business Opportunities Update List
We periodically update our business opportunities section by adding additional opportunities and new information regarding the programs we participate in. This is an announcement-only list.
To receive a periodic update notification via email, send a blank email to: email@example.com.
Your address will be kept confidential.
|Click here to read about the opportunities featured on this website!
TEAM MEETING: INVOLVEMENT
I've already spoken about the "participative huddle" approach I took to team leadership when I was quarterback of the Vikings. The principles we employed there work fine in business, too, and in this section I want to explain how you can get things you never dreamed of out of your people by creating participative "huddles" of your own. In the difficult, but rewarding process of team-building, the team meeting, we've found, serves both as a solid structure to get things done and as a motivating model in its own right. To use it effectively, though, you as the motivating manager have to keep a few guidelines in mind. The first, and most important, one defines the nature and function of your role as
Whether you're setting up a team meeting to improve assembly line productivity or to hash out a new Marketing plan or to find out how well your sales force has penetrated a new market, you're always going to need a team leader. People will come together happily to solve mutual problems, but they expect direction from their own management in the mechanics of doing that. Without such direction, team meetings invariably dissolve into gripe sessions or exchanges of war stories.
One way of getting the role of team leader clear in your mind is to think of yourself not so much as a director or manager or "bossman," but as an educator or facilitator. I'm choosing these terms carefully. If you look up "educator" in a dictionary, you'll find that it derives from the Latin for "to lead out" or "to draw out.” Education is the drawing out of inherent, but hidden individual talent, and that's very much what good team leading is, too. It's a process of drawing out the best in all of your people. Or, as we often say, of "making it easy" for them to contribute. "Facilitator" means someone who makes it easy. We always like to think that the managers we train to be team leaders go back to their operating units with that idea burned into their brains.
One way of making things easier right at the outset is to lay out some basic ground rules under which the team meetings will be conducted. This should be done at the first team meeting, and the setting up of the ground rules should be accomplished in the same participatory manner that you want to have govern every meeting down the line.
You might start out the first meeting by acknowledging that you all have a limited amount of time, and that you want to get the most out of the time spent—so you will need some initial agreement on a "code of conduct" so you don't get bogged down later in parliamentary confusion. A line supervisor I know who has established effective team meeting formats in several different plants lays out that opening pitch, then offers a few suggestions for ground rules that have worked in the past. Things like this: "Start the meeting on time." "No interruptions or criticisms of other people's ideas." "Task assignment to be done on voluntary basis." And so on. Then, once he's thrown out these examples, he gathers other suggestions from his team members (Involvement, right at the start), and together they come to a consensus of what rules will be observed.
Having such a "code of conduct" set up at the outset of the meeting not only frees the team leader from having to improvise protocol and discipline; it also provides a "home base" that everybody can feel comfortable returning to. The team leader I'm speaking about here writes out the agreed upon rules on an easel sheet, and leaves them visible throughout every meeting. You'd be amazed at how much time that can save. If Linda interrupts Harry somewhere down the line, all the team leader has to do is point to Rule #3, comment, "Linda, we agreed not to interrupt; I'll get to you as soon as Harry finishes," and proceed with the business at hand. Very seldom will Linda buck that kind of advice, because, remember, she's had a hand in drawing up the code herself. And, as my former partner Hank Conn liked to remind our clients, "People don't resist their own ideas."
Another thing you want to get settled early on is how often the team should meet. On the football field that decision was easy: we met after every down. You've got to come up with a team meeting schedule that works for your particular situation, depending on the nature of the problems you're going to discuss, on whether they're transient or chronic problems, and so on. Whatever you decide, however, be sure that the meetings are regular.
I emphasized regularity when I was talking about the Recording aspect of the P.R.I.C.E. scheme, and since team meetings are an important format m which to read and analyze your recorded data. It follows that they have to happen every time—or at least every other time—the relevant data is posted.
If you've got a problem with the collection of marketing data, you can set up a one-time, ad hoc meeting to resolve the collection difficulty, and there may be situations in which this "hit and run" tactic is fine. But if you want to turn your seventeen Marketing people into a team that sustains a high level of motivation over time, they've got to know that they'll be addressing the collection and other problems every Tuesday or once a month. Regularizing the team meeting is like regularizing a team practice in football. You only start to see real performance results in the second or third week of spring training. People
get used to it, they come to the field knowing what to expect and what is going to be expected of them. They work at the practice, and they improve. The same thing goes in business. Involvement is a result of commitment to team process over time.
In addition to being regularly scheduled, the team meeting has got to he focused. That is, it has to be Pinpointed enough on real problems so that people know why they're attending, and will come to the meeting having thought about the agenda, rather than having it dumped in their laps when they arrive. This is especially important as you're starting up a team meeting structure. As you continue that structure, the set-up of future meetings becomes self-generating, because you can simply end the April 9 meeting by telling folks what to expect on the 16th. But at the outset, tell them what it's about. If you don't, I guarantee you're going to end up with at least one "team member" who thinks the meeting is a free-form bull session, and at least one other who thinks it's a grievance-airing opportunity. There are appropriate venues for bull sessions and for airing grievances in business, but the team meeting is not one of them.
Once you've set a regular time to tackle the ongoing data collection problem, and have advised team members what to expect, you're ready to start the first meeting. I'm going to lay out a simple format for you to do that, one that we follow in the managerial meetings we develop for our clients, and one that you'll be able to modify based on your individual needs. With those kinds of modifications, we've found this format to work very well at every level of organization. Supervisors, middle managers, and hourly workers alike have all profited from this basic "first team meeting" structure.
Next week we will cover the specifics of our format for managerial meetings.
Previous | Contents | Next
|Click here to access our Business Opportunities page!