Welcome to our week of Reinvention for Business! The Ho‘ohana Online Community has graciously agreed to some hale-sitting in Talking Story this week for me, and they are sharing their thoughts with you on our March Ho‘ohana, a challenge for us all to reinvent ourselves in business.
Today’s Guest Author is Lisa Haneberg of Management Craft. Lisa is also author of High Impact Middle Management, which was reviewed here on Talking Story last month. Spend some time with Lisa on Management Craft, and you will be thoroughly impressed with the table she sets for us there: take a look at these recent headlines for but a small sampling:
Can Trust Be Taught?
The “Quantum Lazyist” Manager
I know Lisa’s candidate for an area of possible reinvention will strike a chord with many of you. Chances are you can immediately apply her suggestion.
A Visit to the Dentist
What do all of these things have in common? Most people consider them unpleasant.
People move homes and change jobs to avoid traffic jams. Some will bypass people or processes to avoid the paperwork. Many of us procrastinate going to the dentist, then take drugs to dull the pain.
And yet we sit, week after week, through mind-numbing staff meetings that suck the life right out of us.
The Staff Meeting Haiku
So bored, my heart’s stopped beating
Wake me when we’re done
What if we:
1. Stopped holding the traditional staff meetings, and
2. Started having staff collaboration meetings?
What are Collaboration Meetings?
Imagine a typical team of 7 peers. They each have too much to do and are faced with multiple daily challenges. They have neither the time nor the energy to be creative or proactive. That’s where the collaboration meeting comes in. Once per week (instead of the staff meeting), the group gets together for the purpose of providing or seeking input, ideas, and support. Each week 3 of the 7 team members brings a challenge, problem, or opportunity to the meeting for discussion. For 15 minutes per topic, team members will offer ideas, concerns, thoughts, and feedback. That’s not a lot of time, so the team members need to be succinct. Team members rotate bringing topics to the meeting for collaboration, but any member can request to bring a topic to the team if needed. The topic to be discussed is totally up to the team member – the department manager should not assign topics.
And that’s it – peers getting together to collaboration and contribute to each other’s success.
Which meeting would you rather attend?
You might be reluctant to get rid of staff meetings…
How would we keep each other informed?
When would we talk about the routine stuff?
It’s all about priorities and time management. Find another, less time consuming way to stay informed. Your time will be much better spent helping each other move the business FORWARD. You may miss your update meeting at first, but you will find that the dialogue within the team is significantly better – at meetings and during informal conversations.
If you decide to give collaboration meetings a try, here are a few tips:
1. Use a facilitator for the first few meetings until everyone is trained on the most effective collaboration techniques.
2. Establish a set of ground rules. The list found in the Skilled Facilitator is a good starting point.
3. Focus on solving the problems on the fore or creating ideas for a current challenge. The point of the collaboration is to help each team member improve their ability to get things done, not add NEW projects every other week.
4. Team members should prepare to receive input from their peers by teeing up their topic well. State the problem/challenge/opportunity, what you know and have done thus far, and your questions for the team. Other than letting folks clarify and build upon ideas, the suggestions should not be defended or shot down. Always thank your peers for their input.
5. Commit to trying the collaboration meeting instead of the regular staff meeting for at least two months, because it will take a couple meetings to get everyone into the groove of how the meetings work. You will find that the topics being brought into the collaboration meeting get better along with the quality of the dialogue.
Facilitating great dialogue is a fundamental catalyst to reinvention and forward success.
The Collaboration Meeting Haiku
A lively meeting
Our minds work for each other
Here’s to time well spent!
Give it a try this week!
Mahalo nui Lisa!
Do you have questions for Lisa? Would you like to add your voice to hers? The comment lines are open, and ready for your thoughts.