8 Must Meetings To Make Your Business Work!

by George Hedley

Why do most people feel meetings are a waste of time? Because they often are! Too often managers call too many meetings to report on what's happening and don't involve the attendees, ask for input, have meaningful discussions, or adjourn with an action plan. In some meetings the leader rambles along and doesn't keep the group focused on tasks or priorities at hand. In other meetings there's no agenda or structure and they become 'free for alls' without direction or conclusion.

 

Effective meetings occur on a regular basis and follow a regular agenda. They are action focused, dynamic, encourage open discussion, and achieve consensus. A good meeting leader boils down the issues to a few top urgent priorities that will make a difference and keep everyone focused on solving problems. Good meeting leaders present every issue as a question to open up discussions and encourage fresh ideas to resolve issues. For example, rather than starting a topic with: "Next item, the financials. Controller Joe, tell us about the revenue and expenses for last month and where things are looking bad."

 

A better way to introduce this item would be to present it as an item for discussion as follows: "Everyone has reviewed last month's financials Joe sent out a few days ago. It's obvious we have to do something different in order to achieve our overall goals. Let's get everyone's input and ideas what we should do differently in the next three months. Let's start with you Dave." Now you've got everyone involved. You are identifying what everyone thinks about the problem and their suggested solutions. This will lead to some real decisions and action instead of just negative talk and finger pointing.

 

Consider using these eight must meetings to get everyone on the same page and achieve your company goals. Be careful. Don't start tomorrow by implementing all of them unless you are really committed to holding them on a regular basis. There is nothing worse than starting something and then deciding it wasn't really that important after all.

 

8 Must Meetings

 

1. Daily Team Huddle-Up Meeting

Can you imagine a football team winning games without calling plays before every down? Before every play in football, the team huddles up to discuss what they're going to do next, make sure everyone clearly knows their role and what they're expected to do. In your company and in your field crews, a similar huddle is a must if you want your teams to be winners. This activity will improve your bottom-line as daily activities become better coordinated and focused on what end results are expected by team captains or foremen. Like a football huddle, this is a short meeting where everyone stands in a circle and talks about the upcoming daily activities, targets, goals, conflicts, confusions, schedule coordination, material requirements, equipment needed, availability of tools, and deadlines.

 

     Who:           Project crew, team, staff or department

     When:         First thing every morning

     Where:        Office or jobsite standing in circle 

     Duration:     Maximum 5 to 10 minutes

     Agenda:       Everyone discuss their:

                          1. Activities & needs

                          2. Goal & target progress

                          3. Production priorities

                          4. Deadlines & milestones

 

                       

2. Monday Morning Quarterback Meeting

Again, just like on every winning football team, every week the coaches review their team's accomplishments, progress, needs, challenges, areas for improvement, and then decide what they need to do the next week to achieve their goals. Then on Monday morning, they meet with their entire team, review the game plan for the next week, and discuss what needs to be done to make it happen. Every field crew, management team, division or department needs a similar program to get everyone focused on their game plan for the upcoming week. Meet on Monday morning in a convenient place where everyone can get involved and contribute. Use visual charts to explain the goals and plays like football coaches. Discuss key success factors such as production targets, finances, customer satisfaction, quality requirements, schedule milestones, revenue, or expenses. Use this meeting for weekly training of upcoming activities taking place in the upcoming week and safety issues to be aware of.

 

    Who:            Project crew or team, management team, office staff or department

    When:          Every Monday morning

    Where:         Jobsite or office 

    Duration:      Maximum 15 to 30 Minutes

    Agenda:        Review game plan and team tactics for upcoming week:

                          1. Review past week's team achievements & challenges

                          2. Praise & recognize individual accomplishments

                          3. Set current week goals & targets

                          4. Discuss this week's production plan  

                          5. Each team member discuss their role

                          6. Provide training on upcoming activities

                          7. Discuss safety concerns for upcoming week

 

3. Project Start-Up Meeting

Before football teams start every game, the coaches have spent many hours together mapping out their game plan to win the upcoming game. They have discussed every possibility for success and failure. Then they decide the best way to execute their plan. In order to build successful projects, the same amount of advanced planning is required by the project management team. The culmination of this project pre-planning is the presentation of the game plan to the project subcontractors and suppliers. This meeting will force your project manager, superintendent and foreman to get together in advance and create a project plan to present to the team. Get everyone together on the jobsite to discuss your project plan for success. Make this a mandatory meeting.

 

    Who:            Project manager, superintendent & foremen

                        Representative of all subcontractors & major suppliers

    When:          Before project starts

    Where:         Jobsite 

    Duration:      45 to 60 Minutes

    Agenda:      Meeting led by project superintendent or foreman 

                          1.  Review Project Goals & Objectives

                          2.  Issue ALL Subcontracts For Execution

                          3.  Issue Plans & Specifications

                          4.  Issue & Review Project Schedule:

                                    - Discuss Anticipated Problems

                                    - Discuss Coordination Issues

                                    - Discuss Long Lead Items

                          5.  Quality Requirements

                          6.  Customer Satisfaction Requirements

                          7.  Job Rules

                          8.  Safety Requirements & Rules

                          9.  Permits, Licenses & Special Inspections

                         10. Contract Requirements & Procedures:

                                    - Required Notices & Approvals

                                    - Shop Drawings & Submittal Deadlines

                                    - Payment Procedures

                                    - Insurance Requirements

                                    - Authorized Personnel

                                    - Change Orders

                                    - Claims & Disputes

 

4. Weekly Project Field Coordination Meeting

This one meeting can improve your overall construction project schedule and completion record by 25% or more. By getting every subcontractor and major supplier to attend field coordination meetings held at the jobsite 4 weeks before they are required to start their work, they become aware of the urgency of the situation. You have heard the statement: 'Out of sight, out of mind." This is reality. Subcontractors who get phone calls from project managers or superintendents to discuss upcoming crew needs only hear the pleas. But, once they see the project moving forward, they become aware of the schedule and then make it their priority as well. This is a mandatory meeting, no exceptions. Your superintendent won't want to hold this meeting because they don't want to push their subcontractors too hard or stand up in front of a crowd and take charge. But force them to hold these meetings and the results will be incredible.  

 

    Who:            Project manager, superintendent & foremen

                        All subcontractors & suppliers required on job in next 4 weeks

    When:          Weekly (or bi-weekly on small projects)

    Where:         Jobsite 

    Duration:      30 to 45 Minutes

    Agenda:      Meeting led by project superintendent or foreman 

                          1. Schedule, progress, milestones & priorities 

                          2. Manpower & crew requirements

                          3. Field coordination issues, problems & needs

                          4. Approvals required, shop drawings & finishes

                          5. Permits & inspections required

                          6. Jobsite management & cleanup

                          7. Project safety & quality

                          8. Customer relationships

 

5. Monthly Project Management Meeting

I call this the 'accountability" meeting where each project, division, or department team meets monthly and shows their boss how well they're doing on their jobs or areas of responsibility. In these one hour meetings review every project's accomplishments, budgets, goals, schedules, financials, and progress. This meeting will hold people accountable to follow the company systems, manage their projects properly, do their job as expected, and hit their targets.   

 

    Who:            Company President or division manager

                        Project manager, superintendent & foreman

                        Project accountant & project administrator

    When:          Monthly

    Where:         Office (or jobsite for out of town jobs)  

    Duration:      Maximum 45 to 60 Minutes

    Agenda:        Meeting to review project or division progress:

                          1. Jobsite photos & correspondence

                          2. Updated schedule & completion dates

                          3. Proposed versus executed change orders

                          4. Executed versus non-executed subcontracts

                          5. Accounts receivable and payables aging

                          6. Approved versus not approved shop drawings

                          7. Project cost reports - budget versus actual

                          8. Customer issues

                          9. Safety or quality issues

                        10. Labor, equipment, subcontractors, or supplier issues

                        11. Manpower or management issues

 

6. Company Monthly Management Meeting

This is an overall company strategy session to discuss the direction of your company, what's working and what needs improvement. The agenda can include any major decision, new program, finances, sales, customers, service, personnel, or any other subject requiring discussion or consensus. Part of the discussions should include open debate and review of all options available to solve your company's future choices.

 

   Who:             President & management team

    When:          Monthly

    Where:         Office conference room 

    Duration:      Maximum 1 to 2 hours

    Agenda:        Review overall company strategy:

                          1. Review progress on company goals

                          2. Create list of all old & new topics to discuss

                          3. Prioritize topics in order of importance

                          4. Discuss topics in order of priority

                          5. Create action plan for each topic

                          6. Assign responsible manager for each topic

 

7. Company Town Hall Meeting 

One of the most important things employees need in order to stay motivated is information about the direction and future of their company. On a regular basis each person needs to know the 'big picture' and where their company is going. By holding regular all company town hall meetings, you can inform everyone what's happening at your company. In this meeting, tell everyone the truth about the company's future, direction, decisions, new policies, targets, finances, backlog, equipment, systems, customers, and issues. Review the past accomplishments and failures. Explain where or what needs to improve. Discuss the future goals and how your company will hope to hit them. And then ask for suggestions, questions, input, and ideas. As part of this meeting, provide some training on new systems or procedures from the office and field operations. Also use this opportunity to recognize people who have done a great job and present awards for special accomplishments.

 

    Who:            Entire company

    When:          Quarterly or semi-annually

    Where:         Office, warehouse or large room 

    Duration:      Maximum 1 - 2 hours

    Agenda:        Meeting to review overall company direction

                          1. Welcome & Introductions

                          2. Review overall company progress:

                                    - Projects

                                    - People

                                    - Financials

                                    - Sales

                                    - Estimating

                                    - Operations

                                    - Production

                                    - Service

                                    - Safety

                          3. The future, new goals & targets

                          4. New or changed policies, systems & standards

                          5. Suggestions, input, new ideas or questions

                          6. Recognition, praise & rewards

                          7. Training

           

8. Management Planning Retreat

At the end of every football season, the coaches and management team gets together for a few days to look at how well they did, their current situation, and what it will take to improve the next year. In your company, an annual meeting is an important time for company management to decide on the overall direction, strategic issues, changes, adjustments, people, customers, priorities, and approaches to achieve expected results. Hold this meeting at an off-site location so that each attendee will stay focused on the agenda. Start with a review of the company's past performance. Then look at where the company is today. And then decide where you want to go and what actions will be required to achieve your goals. A realistic discussion of the economy and opportunities available is required to determine what challenges face your company. A comprehensive review of your people and management team should be discussed including decisions about future needs and changes. A thorough discussion of all company goals and targets for the upcoming years should be agreed upon.

 

   Who:             President & management team

    When:          Annually

    Where:         Off-site meeting room or hotel

    Duration:      Maximum 1 to 2 days

    Agenda:        Review overall company direction & strategy:

                          1. Review past performance of company

                          2. Discuss current company situation

                          3. Decide future direction of company

                          4. Develop company goals

                          5. Create action plan to achieve goals

                          6. Assign manager accountable to implement goals

 

Each of these eight meetings work! But they may not all be right for your company. Run your company like a winning football team. Hold regular meetings. Start with one or two of these meetings to see how effective they are for your company. Then try another one in an area where you need the most work. But, remember when you never hold meetings, you are carrying the entire company on your shoulders and not getting the full support of your team.

 

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George Hedley owns Hedley Construction and Hardhat Presentations. He is the author of the "The Business Success Blueprint Series" now available in 8-workbook & audio CD sets. He is available to speak at your organization on his proven system to build profits, people, customers and wealth. Construction company owners are invited to attend his 2-day 'Profit-Builder Circle' boot camps held regularly. E-mail him to receive a free copy of his book entitled "Everything Contractors Know About Making A Profit", signup for his free management e-newsletter, visit his online bookstore, or receive more information. Call 800-851-8553, visit his website at www.hardhatpresentations.com or e-mail George at gh@hardhatpresentations.com.

 

 

George Hedley  HARDHAT Presentations

3300 Irvine Avenue #135
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Phone (949) 852-2005
   Fax (949) 852-3002

Email: gh@hardhatpresentations.com     website: www.hardhatpresentations.com

 

 

 


George Hedley owns a $75 million construction and development company and Hardhat Presentations.  He speaks to companies on building profitable businesses, leadership, and loyal customers.  He holds 3-day in-depth "Profit-Builder Circles" open to construction company owners in an interactive roundtable format every 3 months.  His "Profit-Builder System" includes proven tools to always make a profit, build equity, create wealth, win profitable jobs, motivate your people, and enjoy the benefits of owning a profitable company.