April '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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1 2 P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 9 Your Personal Business Trainer BUSINESS MANAGEMENT 1. CONDUCT TEAM MEETINGS ONLY WHEN THERE IS A REA- SON TO MEET. Most team meetings will be information-sharing sessions rather than workshops. Most of the actual work on the project occurs outside of team meetings. Thus, meetings become opportunities to update the entire group, reach consensus on drawn conclusions, and make timely decisions. Don't conduct a meeting just because "we always meet on the second Tues- day of the month." Publish an objective or purpose for the meeting. Arrange for an appropriate location and seating layout that would accommodate healthy interaction. 2. DURING THE FIRST FEW MEETINGS, ADOPT A CODE OF CONDUCT AND COURTESIES AMONG TEAM MEMBERS. The team should be able to compile and publish a list of common-sense guide- lines for how team business will be conducted. This sounds mundane, but you'd be surprised how soon progress is made when all members know what to expect and how to perform their individual duties. Consider assigning a team member the role of 'sergeant-at-arms.' Rotate the responsibility of being 'the heavy' among members. She doesn't have to be as militaristic as the title implies. When Sarge reminds a late-arriving member that he owes some small monetary fine to the team 'petty cash pool,' watch tardiness cease to exist. The Code may include: • A commitment to start and end all meetings on time • What to do if there is not a quorum of members present • What the consequences are for action assignments that are not completed on time due to oversight or laziness • How differences of opinion will be resolved with consensus-seeking methods • How to avoid having spirited discussions turn into free-for-alls 3. INSIST ON FOLLOWING A PRE-PLANNED AGENDA. The most productive meetings I've ever participated in kept to an agenda that was distributed to all attendees beforehand. One good habit to get into is drafting the agenda for the next meeting at the end of the current meeting. All that's left for the team coordinator to do is to update the agenda with the team leader and email or post the agenda for members to review a day or two before the meeting. The agenda should describe the main topics and who will be presenting or leading each discussion. Equally important to the agenda are the action assignments and team member name(s) who accepted the responsibility for completing them. Begin each meeting with a review of the team's mission statement. Each time the team is reminded of its goal, discussion during the meeting remains focused. CARDINAL RULES FOR CONDUCTING MEETINGS In team-based organizations, it is not unusual for employees to spend as much as 70 percent of their time in meetings. For that reason alone, teams must utilize their meeting time wisely. Here are five vital rules for con- ducting meetings that you, as business owner and likely team sponsor, should insist your team leader adopt. 4. PUBLISH AND DISTRIBUTE THE MINUTES SOON AFTER THE MEETING. Nothing is more demoralizing than rehashing the same topics and discussions meeting after meeting because there was no written record of what had already been decided. Have the team coordinator read the conclusions the team reached or the next steps that were agreed upon for each topic. Have each team member recount and voice their commit- ment to the action assignments they will complete. Minutes of each meeting are particularly important to the team sponsor and team members that were absent. The minutes should not be a transcript of what was said at the meeting. Instead, they should be written in a brief but meaningful manner. Hit the highlights of the main points discussed. The meeting recorder should ask himself, "Three months from now, will anyone need or use these details again?" If the answer is 'maybe,' include the specifics in the minutes. Attach to the minutes handouts that present- ers bring to the meeting instead of rewriting them. 5. CONCLUDE EACH MEETING WITH AN OBJECTIVE EVALUATION OF THE PROCEEDINGS. What happened during the meeting that contributed to its success? Who asked the question or shed a productive light on the task at hand? The team leader or facilitator should publicly reward and recognize members for their positive performance. People tend to behave in a manner that will get them positive recognition from their leader and peers. If the team got bogged down or went off on a tangent, discuss openly what could have been done differently to avoid it next time. Be sure not to blame or embarrass any team members. If today was the first time in five months that the meeting convened and adjourned on time, be sure to make mention of that fact in the meeting review. PW

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