When you are operating a business, it is important to have effective team meetings in order to meet the goals of the company. Brené Brown in her book, dare to lead, talks about how to have team meetings that are more effective and more fulfilling for the team in general. She shares personal stories from her business, about some of the frustrations that arise in their team meetings and what she has learned as a result. I hope that as I share my learning, you will be encouraged to try some of the ideas. For more in-depth reading, please follow the link to Brené Brown's book at the bottom of this webpage.
What I learned is that all team members must understand the ins and outs of the business so that one person is not the sole connective tissue to the business. If the leader of the team was to get sick or to be away on a business trip, the rest of the team needs to be fully aware of where the business is going and be able to work toward company goals. In order to do this, every member of the team needs to be actively involved and therefore when there is a meeting all members take notes so that the whole team is always kept up to speed. At the end of every meeting everyone's notes are synthesized into a set of well rounded minutes that better encapsulate what happened at the meeting. Whenever a planning email is to go out to any member of the team it goes to the whole team. In this way, everyone knows what is going on in all the different areas of work. It is actually allowing the team access inside your brain. It is a very vulnerable feeling and this is why it is very important to trust the people on your team.
Brené Brown noted three areas that need team collaboration - estimating timelines, setting realistic due dates, and correctly creating a project priorities list. Many people who start a business will have definite skill sets, but they will also have skill sets that they will be lacking. When putting a team together it is important that the business owner find people that have the skillsets that they are lacking and hire them as part of the team so that the business will grow and thrive.
To have effective team meetings the team needs to be able to create the projects to take the company to the next level, then prioritize which projects need to be done right away and which ones can be scheduled for further down the road. Each project needs a time estimation done on it so that there is a realistic timeline for project completion. You may need a lot of paper or sticky notes as each member of the team will work on these independently and then when everyone is finished the team will share their thoughts and ideas and everyone can amalgamate each others ideas into a well rounded company goal.
Steps to Create Project Priorities and Estimate Time Needed to Complete The Projects:
- Estimate timelines for each idea/ project being worked on
- Put the parts of the project being worked on in a priority sequence
- Use the Turn and Learn method of sharing to prevent the Halo Effect and Bandwagon Effect.
Turn and Learn - is the practice of everyone writing out their ideas on paper and then showing the group on the count of three -at the same time so all ideas can be explored.
Halo Effect - is when team members look to see what the person with the most influence is doing or saying and trying to follow suit.
Bandwagon Effect - following suit to what people have already said or done even though you disagree because it is hard to be the last to share an idea.
You may be feeling that the "Turn and Learn" method for more effective team meetings may slow the project down but the opposite is true. When everyone is able to share their thoughts and reasonings and how their thinking developed it creates better group communication. With better communication, project scheduling and completion is more realistic and everyone is able to "own" their part of the project. The following were the benefits that were found as a result of using the "Turn and Learn" method.
Benefits of Turn and Learn:
- Creates space for understanding different perspectives
- The team learns from everyone in the meeting
- Brings to light areas that are unclear - that need to be explained better so expectations are clear
- Hi-lights the different assumptions that people are working from
- Shows how people prioritize and manage time.
- Helps leverage the fullness of everyone's thinking and ideas and guards against binary thinking (only black or white thinking)
I could continue into what the dangers of binary thinking are, but I will save that for next month's blog post. I would love to hear from you the readers, on what you do in your company or what you see and experience where you work, in the area of effective teamwork. Let me know ideas and topics that you would like me to explore and investigate and report back on. As Brené Brown states on her book cover, daring to lead requires brave work, tough conversations and your whole hearts.