Meetings?

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I know a small business owner that has monthly meetings with his employees, which is a good thing. Usually such meetings involve policy changes, corrections of mistakes made, that sort of thing. I suggested he turn that around.

Here’s the thing. If you’re not meeting with your employees on a regular basis, you need to start. Tomorrow morning would be a good time to begin. The meetings don’t have to go on and on and they don’t have to take away from productive time. You just need to meet. How in the world are you going to let your team know what’s going on if you don’t meet with them? How are they going to share ideas and concerns with you if you don’t meet with them? I interviewed one potential client that told me he met with his crew once a year. When I asked why they only met once, he said they were so busy that’s all the time they had. When I asked him what his business goals were, he said he wanted to be busier. I guess when that happened, they cut out the one meeting.

Sometimes it’s necessary to schedule meetings the same day of the week or same day of the month due to business needs, but if you can make it more random, I think that works better. The benefit of random is that the meetings aren’t as likely to become dull. When you have a topic or two, schedule a meeting. The other way around you need to find topics to fill your scheduled meeting.

Let’s get back to my friend and my advice about his monthly meetings. Employees need to be engaged and one way of doing that is showing public appreciation for what they do and privately correcting someone who has made a mistake. By making meetings positive and fun, employees will look forward to them, and so will you. Celebrate years (or months) of service. Acknowledge positive comments from Customers or employee actions that went above and beyond the expected. When I was in corporate America, I kept my own file on my employees where I could put notes about their performance that I could refer back to when I wrote their semi-annual review. What I found was that without the notes, I forgot many of the positive things they had done and it was difficult to balance the review. Keep a file that you can refer back to remember positive things for your meetings.

What about those pesky policy issues or corrections that need to be shared? Here are a couple of thoughts. First think about how important that mistake that one or two employees made and see if maybe it’s not even worth mentioning. If it needs to be discussed, take responsibility for the issue. Something like, “We should have done a better job of communicating what our expectations were. A couple of people didn’t completely understand what we were looking for, so we’ll go over it again in more detail tonight to be sure everyone is on board.” That’s much better than “How many times do we have to tell you people?”

Try it. See if it doesn’t better the environment of your business. What have you got to lose?

Bill Packard
Your Customer Service Coach, Bill Packard was born in Camden, ME. and has lived in mid-coast Maine all his life, so far. Bill has combined starting four businesses from scratch, almost ten years as a manager in corporate America, and over fifty years as a Customer into a business to assist microbusinesses to retain a strong Customer base and add new Customers in affordable ways. BPackard.com offers down to earth, common sense strategies to help entrepreneurs get a handle on their business and gain the freedom they deserve and work so hard for.

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