Business is complex. Customers, staff members, vendors, and stakeholders all have wants and needs that need to be satisfied.
Often these wants and needs are in conflict. Decisions need to be made and implemented to keep the enterprise in balance and moving forward together.
Problems need to be solved quickly and efficiently. Schedules need to be made, adhered to and adjusted as conditions change. The hub of all this activity is having good communications within the company.
When I hear someone tell me about errors or inefficiencies in their business or how difficult it is to affect meaningful improvement or change, the first question I ask is how they communicate within the company.
The answers I get range from a blank look which translates into, “what do you mean?” to a formal communications structure of using emailed memos, regular meetings and executive briefings.
In small businesses, few have a formal method of dispersing information. Many never hold a meeting of any kind. It’s no wonder those are the companies that seem to have the most difficulty making improvements in error rates, customer satisfaction and sales growth.
I’ve found some of the highest-performing, most productive, fastest-growing companies have developed a communications structure that combines a formal informational or decision-making meeting structure (example – the monthly or weekly meeting) augmented by many mini-meetings. It is in the mini-meeting where the decisions made in the formal meetings get implemented.
A mini-meeting can be a five-minute huddle every day or a couple times a week among those who are working on a given project to get together to discuss their progress (or lack thereof).
It can also be an unscheduled “lets get together and hammer this out” meeting with those involved with a particular project.
While a conference table (or lunch room table) works for more formal meetings, “stand-up huddles” work for those quick, “lets get together” mini-meetings so people don’t get comfortable, tell a couple jokes and waste precious time.
If you are dealing with a maxi-challenge, try a few mini-meetings to “get together and hammer it out” and see if you can attain maxi-performance.