Great Managers Are Always Nice by Chip Averwater

Chapter 9

Team Meetings

Employees are hired individually; as individuals, they’ll show up, do the assigned work, and draw their pay.

When we organize them as a Team, they gain a sense of belonging and purpose that inspires a higher level of effort and participation. A team creates commitment to common goals and personal pride in their roles in achieving them.

The most effective setting for building and maintaining a team is team meetings. They allow members to share goals, coordinate roles and responsibilities, communicate progress, find opportunities for cooperation, participate in decisions, plan and adjust strategies, celebrate achievements, and more.

But meetings are time-consuming and expensive. Adding up the hourly costs of the attendees is often startling—the value of the work they might do in that time is presumably higher than that. As a result, team meetings need to be well planned, concise, and focused, and contain only information that is pertinent to everyone who attends. Topics and projects that don’t involve the whole group should be discussed in smaller groups.

Attendees get the most from meetings when each has a responsibility and is encouraged to participate, collaborate, and share opinions.

Here’s one of Mike’s meetings:

Team Meeting

Tuesday morning, 8:30

M:  Good morning. We’re all here and on time. Thank you.

Starting on time shows Respect for the attendees and their time. Meetings that start haphazardly set an unfocused tone and indicate to team members it’s OK to wander in—and sometimes out.

M:  Lisa distributed our team results. Lisa, can you summarize them?

L:  Our QC score this week was 99.2%, beating our goal by .2%. We had one return-for-quality—a problem with.... No safety incidents—3rd week running. We met our production schedule of.... And we....

M:  Results to be proud of. Congratulations!

Putting results first on the agenda confirms the team’s Objectives and focus. The results tracked (preferably selected with input from the team) are the Score and send a strong message about the team’s purpose and goals.

Delegating data collection and reporting to a team member creates Participation in the meeting and signifies that the results are a team effort and accomplishment.

M:  MVP award. Gina?

G:  Nominations? Who did something extraordinary this week?

A:        I’ll nominate Frank. Our dealer in Des Moines needed a... 

Great Managers Are Always Nice