In defense of meetings Pete | January 29th, 2009

It is with sound mind and body that I willingly write this post.  I know full well this won’t be warmly received but I can’t be silenced.  My name is Pete, and I like meetings.

OK, let me clarify – I don’t like ALL meetings.  But I do like one.  So much so, that I feel off if we don’t have it every day.  It’s called huddle.  I know, I know – this sounds like new-age patchouli talk.  I swear, it’s not.  And it’s not one of these ridiculous corporate sports analogies either.  Gag me.  Just stay with me here…

Our entire team meets, every single day, for no more than 5 minutes.  And while that’s nothing special (plenty of companies have daily time sucks masquerading as meetings), what’s special is what we talk about.  We don’t talk about the status of the status meeting or the filing of TPS reports – we talk about how the company did yesterday, what we’re going to do today to improve and where we are against our goal.  Every day.  All week.

We don’t wait until the end of the week to see if we’re having a bad week.  We don’t wait until the end of the month or the end of the quarter.  Every single person (yes, even the development team), knows every single day where things stand.  And this way, it’s everyone’s job to spot the trend and do something about it.  It’s freeing for those supposedly “in charge” and it’s empowering for everyone else.  It’s not Accounting’s problem that the numbers don’t add up or Sales’ problem that we don’t have enough customers.  When you’re in a startup, it’s everyone’s problem if you want to have a job next year.

Seriously, can you tell me how many customers your company signed yesterday?  Was that above or below your goal?  Do you even know what the goal was?  If you were under, was it because you didn’t get enough leads (visits to the website, calls, etc.) or was it because you didn’t convert enough of those leads into customers?  If you did convert them into customers, did they spend what you thought they would or did they spend less?  I’ll bet you a dollar that 90% of people can’t answer these simple questions.  And I don’t care how complicated your business is, it can ALWAYS be boiled down to a few simple numbers (leads/calls/visits, customers, average spend, and total revenue).  Period.  End of story.

Sure, you’re a special, unique flower – your business is different.  You have some other metric that’s important.  Congratulations.  But if you can’t answer the basics, you’re either succeeding out of dumb luck or failing because you have no idea where the road is.  So, I don’t mean to preach but I will say this: try it.  Just try it for a week and let me know how it goes.  We have an entire script for our 5 minute meeting that I’m happy to send you to save you all the work – just ask.  Or, better yet, stop by and join us for one of ours.

Or you can just worry about it next month.  It’s probably Sales’ problem anyway…

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  • marckohlbrugge

    I would love to stop by but Chicago is over 4.000 miles away from here. :) That’s a long walk (and swim).

    But yeah, I think you’re right. It’s good to discuss these things. Also, I don’t think everybody hates meetings in general, but just the long ones. By having meetings daily you eliminate this as well. Everything is already discussed so there’s no need for long meetings anymore.

  • crowdSPRING

    Ahhhhh,,,,, HUDDLE!

  • Andrew Cronk

    Pete, I am inspired. Certain business (like ours) can really benefits from meetings like this. Bravo!

  • Andrew Cronk

    Pete, I am inspired. Certain business (like ours) can really benefits from meetings like this. Bravo!

  • Kamil Chmielewski

    Hey Pete,

    Hope all is well. Two things, 1) please send me the questions. 2) your tab order on this comment form is jacked, it went from my email input box to your math equation box (should have gone to the comment box instead)

    Kamil

  • Pete

    Hey, thanks Andy! Sometimes you post these things and wonder ‘is this thing on?!’. Anyway, I really do recommend it. Swing by any time to check ours out or just wing it!

  • Kamil Chmielewski

    Hey Pete,

    Hope all is well. Two things, 1) please send me the questions. 2) your tab order on this comment form is jacked, it went from my email input box to your math equation box (should have gone to the comment box instead)

    Kamil

  • Pete

    Kamil – I’ll definitely send the questions your way and thanks for the heads up on the form…

  • VictoriaAnnDesign

    When I worked for a massive organisation we had meetings with our team every month. They were great, I used it to let of steam which could get things going! Oh fun times…

  • Sonny Gill

    Right on, Pete. Though, you scared me for a second hearing you say you liked meetings.

    I’ve been in dynamics where we ultimately had meetings for meetings. Nothing was accomplished and we left the meetings feeling that way. We actually talked metrics but what was missing is the WHY. There were excuses made or canned responses given when certain metrics were below expectations/goals. Being honest and showing all your cards, along with knowing what you did the day or week before, is what will give everyone actionable items to tackle and a sense that something was accomplished at the meeting (all of which seems is what cS does).

  • Sonny Gill

    Right on, Pete. Though, you scared me for a second hearing you say you liked meetings.

    I’ve been in dynamics where we ultimately had meetings for meetings. Nothing was accomplished and we left the meetings feeling that way. We actually talked metrics but what was missing is the WHY. There were excuses made or canned responses given when certain metrics were below expectations/goals. Being honest and showing all your cards, along with knowing what you did the day or week before, is what will give everyone actionable items to tackle and a sense that something was accomplished at the meeting (all of which seems is what cS does).

  • http://www.crowdspring.com Ross

    My wife told me that while shopping for groceries today, an announcement was made to call all store employees to the vegetable section at 10 am for a huddle. :)

    Looking forward to the huddle on Monday, Pete.

  • http://www.crowdspring.com Ross

    My wife told me that while shopping for groceries today, an announcement was made to call all store employees to the vegetable section at 10 am for a huddle. :)

    Looking forward to the huddle on Monday, Pete.

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  • Ricardo

    Hi Pete,
    Thanks for your offer…I’d be glad to receive this 5 ‘ script.

  • Ricardo

    Hi Pete,
    Thanks for your offer…I’d be glad to receive this 5 ‘ script.

  • Pingback: Daily Short Meetings? | Business Idea of the Day

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