How to make your team happy?

Uncover and Deal with Bottlenecks that Slow a Business DownI was working yesterday with Jo on managing her team and she shared with me that since implementing my daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly meeting structure her team has been so much happier!    She shared with me that this system has transformed the business and created a streamlined process uncovering and dealing with the bottlenecks that usually slow a business down – dramatically!!   To a standstill at times.  

Jo also said that the structure means that every week they are uncovering hiccups in systems and processes and are quickly able to deal with them.   

This is what has made her team so much happier.  They are able to do an even better job than before.  And people want to do a great job, they feel so much better then they know they are delivering to the team they work with.

So I’m sharing with you my meeting telescope.  I’ll give you the link to download shortly.  No opt-in required.  

I’ve also been having a lot of conversations recently about technology and noticing many people talking about listening.  So I thought I would say that you are not a "dinosaur" if you believe that mobile devices, social media and all other distractions must be turned off during meetings.  This is inappropriate use of technology.  And it is a real problem. Meetings are less effective when people try to multitask. Many groups are unconsciously changing their norms and culture by not noticing or addressing the increased use of digital diversions during meetings. What was once seen as a rare interruption is now more often the norm.

It has been proven that when we try to multitask EVERY TASK we are working on is done less efficiently and less quickly.

A survey was done recently by the Vital Smarts group in the US which found that 89% of respondents reported damaged relationships due to friends and family using technology whilst trying to talk to someone.

So how do you manage this situation when you see that it is getting in the way of your team operating at peak performance?  Perhaps there are occasions when someone should have his or her phone on and be available during a meeting. A staff meeting where a doctor needs to be reached in case of an emergency is an example; or a key manager that must be available during a team meeting for an important client or customer might also be appropriate. However, in most cases we should use the "movie rule"—make your calls, texts, or e-mails before or after the meeting, not during the meeting. If there is an urgent need to be available during the meeting, get the group's agreement up front; even then, step out of the meeting to respond.

Not addressing this problem sends a message that the behavior is acceptable – even condoned.  SO I suggest you bring the problem into the open.   Get your team members to share how it is for them if they want input from others and either have to repeat themselves because  key information was missed or people don’t have any input because their mind is elsewhere!   You can say, "In our meetings I've noticed that many of us check our phones for texts and e-mails during the meeting. Frequently, we are also sending messages."

Then explore the natural consequences. Share some of the consequences and problems you see resulting from this behavaior. Perhaps you could say something like, "I've noticed that while this is happening, those involved seem to check out of the meeting. Information is often missed and I think ideas are not being shared that could help the team. I've come to this conclusion because people are often unaware of information discussed or key points that were made during meetings that they attended.  I also observe that our meetings seem to go on longer because of this issue.  I think we are undermining our effectiveness and we are doing damage to our business."

Ask others to share their opinion. "Do you see this differently? Am I missing something?" Listen carefully to others' views. In most cases, the reason people feel the need to constantly check messages is so they can stay in touch or not miss something of importance. Help your teammates understand it's usually a trade-off between accomplishing the team's purposes and individual convenience.   But everyone’s time is wasted by ineffective meetings, not just one person.

Uncover and Deal with Bottlenecks that Slow a Business DownThe answer usually comes from being organized and disciplined.  Setting communication standards in the business is a really great place to start being disciplined.  Set an acceptable time frame for responding to email or text messages.  And be very clear about what technology is appropriate for what kind of message.  Is sending an email late at night and expecting someone to have acted on it by the time they arrive at work next morning, or even to have read it! Acceptable?  Is that even reasonable?

After everyone has shared their view you can suggest the team use the "movie rule" for two meetings and see if things improve. Create clear expectations so everyone understands what the new guidelines are.

Begin the next 2 weeks of meetings with a reminder. Review the team's agreement about not using digital communication and ask if anyone needs an exception to the rule. Discuss any requests and agree together how to proceed.

Review results. At the end of the meeting check to see how the attendees felt the meeting went. Did they notice any difference? Did they see these new guidelines as an improvement? Are they willing to do it again next time? Often, after two "digital-free" meetings, team members see the changes, recognize the improvements, and are willing to continue.

 

Here’s the link to download my Meeting Telescope.  If you’d like to know more about how to implement it email me.

 

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