Tuesday, January 14, 2003

More on Daily Start-Up Meetings

A few further observations on successful start up meetings.

The purpose is not to meet...it is to improve. This often gets lost, particularly after running the meetings for several weeks. The team leader (whether or not he/she is the official leader) must regularly ask for proposals for improvement. I've seen a consistent tendency by group members to want to simply "attend" the meeting. Our culture reenforces this "entertainment" mode of meeting rather than the "involvement" mode. Some questions that seem to work include:

  • "So what can we do about this?"
  • "What can we do today about this?"
  • "What would be an improvement?"
  • "What caused that breakdown?"
  • "If we could do that over again, what would we do differently?"
  • "Can you document that idea?"
You get my point...be specific and ask for action!

Periodically ask yourselves "How can we make this meeting better?" Don't limit improvement to only the work you do...also improve the way you make improvements.

How can I "meet" if I work by myself?

This is a real issue for many professionals, particularly those in sales and other professions that are mobile or solo. The "meeting" still is effective, if done using the outlines I suggested last week.

Central to a solo performer is the visual display of results, about which we'll talk more in my next posting. A brief story will illustrate.

In my career before coming to FBi Buildings, I ran my own consulting company and worked from home. A friend suggested I make and pay attention to a simple display of the key items I needed to be successful. They were not unlike those needed in any firm. Who are my customers? Do I have enough of them? Are they paying their bills? Do I have cash? Will I be able to stay in business for the next six months?

I constructed a chart and updated it twice a week. Then, daily (mostly), I reviewed the chart and tried to do activities that would drive the figures positively. It was the most useful time of the day and the most useful piece of paper I had.

That's how a solo professional can make lean principles work. I strongly suggest folks who work alone adopt a similar practice.

I hope this is helpful.

Feel free to forward to a friend. Email me

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