Get more out of your team meetings
“Like a human being, a company has to have an internal communication mechanism, a ‘nervous system,’ to coordinate its actions.”
— Bill Gates
OK, do you really need to run your company like Bill Gates does? After all, you’re just a pizzeria. But a company of any type and size is a living, breathing thing that requires nurturing. So, why not take a few pointers from one of the best businessmen of all time?
We’ve talked a lot about communication in this column, so you might recall my favorite way to communicate is through meetings. It may sound simple to hold and plan a managers’ meeting, but there are a few key components to making them successful.
Step 1: Scheduling
Since I was GM of a single unit with 15 employees, I’ve been a big fan of meeting at the same time weekly or monthly. For example, every Monday at 8 p.m., we hold a GM phone meeting to go over the previous week. The first Tuesday of every month is our all-manager meeting, and every Wednesday at noon I meet with my regional team. These dates and times are set in stone. That way we’re proactively addressing situations that arise as opposed to reacting and holding a separate meeting to consider the issue.
It is important to communicate ahead of time when you set the meeting times and dates, along with an advanced notice of when it will be. You also set an expectation of how long the meeting will be. Then, hold your staff accountable for attending.
Step 2: Structure
Once a set day and time is settled, consider the meeting’s organization. It is important to take some time before the meeting to write out an agenda. Make a sheet or packet to hand out to everyone that has the outline of the meeting on it. You won’t get off track, and you won’t miss anything important. Just don’t do this a few minutes before the meeting — when it’s planned out ahead of time, it’ll be much more effective.
I like to start each meeting with a quick recap of our mission statements, visions and, of course, some good old-fashioned praise. I like to recognize great performances. I like to go over any issues that are occurring, break down upcoming promotions, let everyone know about special events or plans in place, and leave room for open discussion. Make the meetings collaborative. Everyone should have a chance to share their opinions and thoughts.
Step 3: Learn Something
Most importantly, I love using meetings to have teachable moments. Whatever the biggest issue of the month may be, do not just talk about it and brainstorm the solution, but really discuss and explain why you’re resolving the issue the way you are. We’ve had full-blown lessons on everything, from filling out employee paperwork to labor and food costs, as well as seemingly simple things, such as how to sweep the floor most efficiently at night.
Not a natural teacher? We’ll get into how to teach your employees — note: this is not training — in our next installment.
NICK BOGACZ is the founder and president of Caliente Pizza & Draft House in Pittsburgh. Instagram: @caliente_pizza