January usually mark a special time in everyone’s life. For some its the start of a new beginning. For others it could be a chance at change.
I’ve spent countless January’s wanting to take on the year by losing wait, gaining new clients and moving towards full-time entrepreneurship.
Keep a department informed on upcoming changes is an essential task in management. However, I don’t think I’m alone when I express that you shouldn’t waste your team’s time when updating them. This is why Updates should be capped at ten minutes.
I can think of a perfect example of poor use of time is when my colleagues and I was sitting in our conference room waiting for an update meeting to start. Of course when you’re sitting in a room full of people waiting for the department head to come in you’re number one question to anyone within earshot is “Why are we here?” since no one knew, we all had to wait.
NOTE (to leadership): If you’re calling a meeting and leading it, be the first person in the room. Nothing is worse than a leader who commands time management from his team but fails to manage to be on time for their meeting.
Once we got started, we wasted the first 15-minutes on each attendee giving their weekend plans and how their week went. Afterwards, we got into the agenda and found out the meeting was about updating staff on a list of people who are no longer with the company (a.k.a fired). Obviously, the bad news took everyone by surprised and when the meeting was over we ended up wasting almost 45-minutes on an agenda that should have taken 5-minutes to work through.
What should you do if you have an update to give but don’t want to waste anyone’s time? If it’s not important enough for a meeting, send an email. Emails are quick and should be easy to consume by every department member. If you must have the meeting, keep the meeting just as short as the email. Don’t extend the meeting with ice breakers because whether the news is good or bad the team will still react the same regardless of how you kick the meeting off.
If you’re unfamiliar with stand-up meetings then let me explain. Stand-up meetings are used to set the expectations for the team in attendance. For example, if you’re team has a large goal they have to achieve by the end of the year than a stand-up meeting can help break down the goal into smaller tasks, let’s say weekly, for your team to work towards.
Now that you have an idea of what a stand-up meeting is, I can tell you that most of the stand-up meetings I’ve been in aren’t run in the way described above. In reality, most stand-up meetings turn into a platform for people to justify their jobs which sucks up time from your day to actually work on the goals of your team.
To avoid conducting a terrible stand-up meeting you must have three things in place (every time):
- Clear idea of what the big picture is
- Ten minutes to hear from the team on accomplished expectations from previous stand-up meeting
- A list of expectations with deadlines
Brainstorm meetings can be very helpful when your team is looking direction. I’m a big fan of brainstorm meetings when my team is looking to complete special projects. So why don’t brainstorm meetings rarely happen? Because common thought is that a brainstorm meetings take too long and everyone who would be involved is too busy.
Before making the switch to web development I was working as a graphic designer. During this time, our team was putting out amazing working without the use of a project management system. As years went by, the team got increasingly busy and at times overworked. I think you would agree anytime anyone is overworked two things tend to happen:
- Your growth becomes stagnant because you’re too busy
- Your attitude and moral isn’t the greatest
It didn’t take long for the turnover rate to increase as my moral plummeted and team members found better opportunities for growth. In my opinion, what could have saved the team was a brainstorm meeting. I don’t believe a simple solution would have came from it but it would’ve given every team member the platform to discuss how to make the environment better for each member.
The truth is, brainstorm meeting are long and you may not receive the answer you’re looking for in the first meeting. If you’re team is too busy to have a hour long meeting then ask yourself why are your updates and stand-up meetings taking close to an hour?