There was a time when I would have said, “No, absolutely not” to that question. I used to hate meetings. If you’re nodding in agreement right now, you’re not alone. And for the most part, you’re not wrong to hate them.
Most meetings are — at best — boring and a waste of time. For most shops, meetings aren’t a positive experience. That’s because many team meetings fall into one of two categories: either the boss pulls everyone together to scold and lecture about problems, or the team uses the meeting as an opportunity to complain, whine and make excuses.
If this sounds familiar, it’s no wonder you hate meetings. It’s why I hated them, too. During these “meetings,” problems are never resolved, decisions are never made, and there is never any follow-up or follow-through. But, getting rid of meetings isn’t the answer.
If you don’t have any collaboration or accountability, every individual backs into their own corner. They keep their heads down and do their own thing. Work gets done, but the bays are quiet — each technician is in a silo. They aren’t communicating. They aren’t reporting or fixing problems. There is no overall goal tying the team together. Essentially, your shop becomes a group of individual technicians instead of one company.
Which is why the answer to your shop’s communication problem isn’t to stop meeting and collaborating — it’s to hold the right type of meeting. Here’s how to hold the most important meeting of your life every day.
The main reason most meetings are unsuccessful is simple: There’s a lack of focus on a specific purpose.
Focus is a powerful thing. With just a magnifying lens and sunlight, you can start a fire, but not if that light isn’t focused.
The same is true for your meetings. If your focus is too wide, too long or too general, you won’t get any results. Successful meetings are highly focused, short and to the point. As the leader, you need to know the goal of the meeting before you call it.
So, what’s the right focus for your daily meeting?
Set and Report Goals
It’s much better to have workers report their own performance than for you, as their boss, to tell them. By asking them to self-report, you’re building performance accountability and ensuring that they pay attention to their own numbers.
I already know where each technician and service advisor stands. I pay attention to the numbers every day. But, by asking them to report their own numbers, I can gauge their engagement. If they’re not committed to their goals, I’ll know right away.
When there is a problem, the employee has a chance to address the problem, acknowledge it and tell you what they’ve already done to fix it.
Early on, you’ll need to train the service advisor or manager to read their own numbers and recognize if they are on target for each area.
This means tracking progress in each specific area, learning what you need to do to fix a problem, and not waiting for someone else to tell you when it needs to be fixed.
Bring It In The Light
In order to create that positive atmosphere of collaboration, productivity, improvement and goal achievement, every employee has to want to succeed.
Without input or interaction from the attendees, a meeting turns into a lecture. Instead, it should inspire collaboration and bring out the best in each employee.
It’s tempting to hold these meetings in private, especially when there are issues. Many owners don’t want to be the drill sergeant who yells at one man in front of the troops because it can feel like you’re being demeaning, counterproductive and not offering the proper motivation. But, you need to have these meetings in front of the whole team for accountability.
When each person sets their goal independently, out loud, and in front of the entire team every day, it gives them real incentive and motivation to achieve that goal.
Instead of operating in a silo, everyone on the team has the chance to see what everyone else is doing. They see how they stack up to others, and have a chance to compete and strive to improve their own performance compared to the team.
Another incentive is external and directly in your control: praise.
When you praise a tech for good performance — honestly, in a straightforward manner and in front of others — then everyone else on your team wants to be that person. They want to earn that praise. Even the shy, quiet ones who would blush at the attention want it deep down. It gives them one more incentive to perform to their highest potential.
After your employees have reported their numbers and committed to fixes comes the part where so many shops fail — and that’s with the follow-up. You can hold a great meeting where the whole team is inspired and excited, but what’s the use if the moment the meeting ends it’s back to isolated work without any real change for the better. Your goals can’t stop once the meeting ends.
Good intentions aren’t good enough. You also need good direction and good accountability. Not only do you set the goal during the meeting, but you know you’ll have to report back the next day. At our shop, we call this procedure “Return and Report.”
As the owner and leader, it’s your job to empower your employees and give them the tools they need to take full responsibility to achieve their goals. Ask what you need to do to help them reach their goal, give them the chance to ask for support, and listen.
By doing this, you also eliminate excuses. They have no reason to complain or blame someone else when they miss a target if each person has the tools, knowledge and support to reach the goals they have set. With the right follow-up, your shop will start to grow. Each time a person can consistently meet or beat their goal, raise the bar, then set and commit to new targets.
Your team is smart. That’s why you hired them. They have what it takes to blow your business through the roof. But, it takes synchronicity, collaboration and a combined effort to achieve a unified goal.
The Most Important Meeting of My Life
The most important meeting of my life is so important, I have it every day. It leads to targets being set, goals being reported, and problems bring addressed and fixed. It converts individuals into a team.
Best of all, it’s not a fluke in my shop. This daily meeting works in every shop that implements it — I’ve seen it hundreds of times in my clients’ shops. It inspires collaboration, turns employees into a team and takes productivity through the roof.
Not bad for something that only takes 10 minutes.