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Management

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Meeting Minutes

Trevor one comments

No, I’m not talking about the duration of a meeting. Meeting minutes are post-meeting briefs that bring everyone to the same page. These are not verbatim transcripts of the entire meeting, but rather highlight the relevant information. Here’s how it works:

1. Write down the basic information

– Date, time, place of meeting and the names of the people participating in the meeting. This is particularly important if you’re having a meeting with a second party such as a client or a service provider.

2. Record the ‘important’ points during the meeting

– This is why the meeting was held. Are you there to discuss future plans, current issues, or past performance? Use this space to write down questions or discussion topics.

3. Assign follow-up dates and responsibilities

– By talking about the ‘important’ points mentioned above, it will only be natural that more issues branch off from each point. In this portion, make sure that a follow-up plan is put in place that will allow for each issue to be addressed. Each follow-up should have a person assigned to the role; or, if the person is absent, assign a ‘supervisor’ to ensure that the issue is followed-up accordingly. Use this space to record the decisions that have been made.

4. Share the ‘Meeting Minutes’ with all the relevant parties

– Keep in mind that this document is also a task list, so make sure you share it with the relevant people! Email it or share it on a cloud platform like Dropbox or Google Drive.

 

The most important part in meeting minutes is point #3. This will avoid misunderstandings, clear up questions, and most importantly, record the decisions that were made jointly.

Here’s a sample template of a meeting minute:

Meeting Minutes template

Meeting Minutes template

man shaking hand

Making Monday Meetings Less Painful

Trevor 3 comments

Monday Meetings are important to align the team members with the weekly objectives and status checks. Although these are important things, as a manager, supervisor or coordinator one has to assess the real cost-benefit of meetings.

When you have a meeting, you might think that the cost is just 1-hour from the work day. The reality of the matter is that the real cost is 1-hour times the number of participants in the meeting. So for a meeting with 8 people total, you are using 8 hours of company time instead of the perceived hour.

How do you make meetings more efficient?

1. Only have meetings with the relevant people. If a person proves to be non-essential for a particular meeting, then there is no reason to include them.

2. A 1-hour meeting is not required. Although all our appointment tools are segmented into 15-30-45-60 minute blocks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that meetings have to fit within that time frame. It’s ok to have a 10 minute if the objective is achieved.

3. Have a clear agenda defined. Don’t call a meeting without knowing what the meeting is going to be about. Have the issues ready to be discussed.

4. Avoid tangents. Although, important matters might arise during the meeting; it might be completely unrelated to the stipulated agenda and the ‘right’ people might not even be in the room. In this case, just acknowledge the issue, define a date and the people that will be in charge of addressing it and move on.

5. Finish off with recapping objectives and responsibilities.

Check out this TedxMidwest where the speaker, Jason Fried, lays down a whole different idea about work. If you want a recap on the video, you might want to go to the “Where does work really happen?” article.

quote Jason Fried

Where Does Work Really Happen?

Trevor 3 comments

Where does work really happen? Jason Fried has asked himself that question and discovered something quite radical. Despite the strong investment in office space and office amenities, work doesn’t happen at work at all.

The myth of multitasking has long been debunked, and the notion of working at one thing at a time is gaining importance. Fried compares working to sleeping; an action that needs to follow a process in order to be deemed satisfactorily completed. In order to achieve a full night’s rest, one has to complete the cycle, and all interruptions cause the cycle to restart itself. Work works the same way, especially for the “thinking jobs”. In order to work, one needs to let the thought processes take over in order to really ‘think’.

“[Facebook and Twitter] aren’t the real problems in the office. The real problems are what I like to call the M&Ms, the Managers and the Meetings.”

According to Fried, the main problems for office distractions are M&M’s (Managers and Meetings). Although it’s the manager’s job to check up on the employee’s performance, doing too much of it renders everyone’s productivity inefficient. Meetings is the other culprit. Meetings usually call for too many people and run for longer than they should.

The solutions Fried offers:

1. Cancel the next meeting, if you are in a position to do so.

2. Have less meetings or quick ones with only the relevant people.

3. Encourage the use of instant messaging and emailing because the person can choose when he is interrupted.

4. Choose one afternoon and make it a ‘no talking block’.

 

[iframe src=”https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/jason_fried_why_work_doesn_t_happen_at_work.html” width=”640″ height=”360″]

graphic designer head

How to Talk to a Graphic Designer?

Trevor 2 comments

It’s all about communicating effectively. Avoid poor outcomes that arise from poor communication skills. Save time & unnecessary headaches.

When talking about designs, it is particularly hard due to the creative process involved. So to prevent misunderstanding, conflicts and overall frustration realize that as the client, you are just as responsible as the designer for the final product, so stick to useful feedback.

Early and Often Feedback

Nothing is more frustrating for designers (and most people) than asking for a completely different concept when the project is nearing its end. Make sure you make all your corrections frequently and as early as possible, enabling the designer to go back to the drawing table with a clear direction. Also make sure you go over all the corrections in order to eliminate implicit approvals. Although possibly tedious at first, in the end, it will save time.

Avoid Vagueness

Don’t say you don’t like something and leave it at that. Either explain why you don’t like it, or make a suggestion on how you think it would be better. “It looks a little off…” means absolutely nothing because the criticism isn’t clear, and neither is the direction.

Improvements vs. Mistakes

Although designers are expected to have thick skin to withstand criticism, using tact to communicate is still more efficient than being harsh. Instead of saying “This font is ugly”, try “I would like to use a different font here”. A good relationship will always elicit a better result.

Let the Designer be the Designer

It’s only natural to have suggestions; however, there is also a possibility that the designer has already considered it. Ask your designer the reasoning behind their choices and it will allow you to see what your designer is thinking, as well as the limitations of your project. Next time you receive a proposal that is not aligned with your original vision, don’t discard it immediately, take the time to evaluate the designed fully before making corrections.

 

Sources: Entrepreneur.com 

Motivate Smart person holding business globe

Are You Motivating Smart?

Trevor No Comments

We are a long way from a Fordism form of management, and we’ve surpassed Taylorism Principles of scientific management. Times have definitely changed and Employee Management Practices have become increasingly important, especially when you consider the following data:

 

95% correlation between balance sheet and business value (1978)

vs.

28% correlation between balance sheet and business value (2005)

 

There’s a significance difference so, what has changed? Business Value is no longer driven solely from financial indicators or what your current assets are. Business value is now driven by Intangible Assets such as:

– Intellectual property

– Strategy

– Brand

– Systems

– Processes

– Access to capital

– Off balance sheet items

– Customer reputation

– Executive Team

 

Are you Motivating Smart?

In order to determine whether or not your Intangible Assets are where they should be, take this survey by assigning a 1-5 value to each statement; 5 being the highest.

 

Take the Survey

1. Employees’ values, motivations, and talents are understood and measured.

2. Employees consider their jobs rewarding and interesting.

3. Employees are committed to jointly owned, shared goals, values, and beliefs.

4. Employees hold each other accountable against agreed upon plans and standards.

5. We have open and honest communication that empowers employees.

 

Survey Results

Now add up the scores and divide by 5 your score.

– 4-5: means that you are motivating smart.

– 3-3.8 : means that you are in the caution zone and need improvements to your motivating program. You can benefit from better alignment, making you much more productive and profitable.

– Below 3: you are in the danger zone and are probably out of alignment, may have poor motivational programs, and are much less productive and less profitable than you could be.

 

motivate smart 2

 

Why Motivating Smart is Important?

(from David Norton, Balanced Scorecard Report Vol. 3, No.5 Oct 2011).

– Only 5% of workforce understand their company’s strategy

– Only 15% of senior management spends more than 1 hour a month defining strategy and aligning operations to it

– Only 25% have their operations aligned to the strategy

– Only 40% align company from budget to strategy

How can companies motivate smarter?

1. Develop a long term strategy. Having a clear direction makes it easier for all areas of a business; much like being at sea, a long-term strategy is the final destination, and every company ship will align their compass to reach the same goal.

2. Develop a comprehensive orientation program for all new employees. Having employees that understand the culture and environment they work in facilitates cooperation and motivation.

3. Hold company-wide meetings in order to share information about the company on a regular basis (quarterly) and openly share information with them so that you can establish a regular and recurring dialogue with your employees.

4. Sponsor company social events outside of a work setting to cement relationships that are developed inside the organization.

5. Create a culture of caring and motivating.

6. Offer profit or gainsharing pay.

 

Doing the Right Things Right

Every company is different, so every motivational strategy will be different. Here are three different strategies to consider:

1. Family –like community: employees are motivated primarily out of sense of responsibility to one another and the company

2. Interesting and Rewarding Jobs – employees are provided with challenging work opportunities and chances to learn and grow

3. Fair compensation – companies use compensation to motivate people and pay higher wages than their competitors. They also use incentives to attract, reward and retain their people.

 

Sources: The Executive SuiteTweak Your Biz

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