Every team meeting I run has a beginning and an end
. Every single one. It's like bookends to a big row of books. There's one at the start, and one at the finish. It's real important. Without the bookends, the books would flop around all over the place falling off the shelf like a sloppy mess. And no one likes a sloppy mess, whether it's books, your bedroom, your friend on a Friday night, or a meeting. Thank god for bookends.
I've written before about what I think is a great way to open a meeting. Now, let's talk about closing meetings.
Well! Here's what I like to do. Both are real simple, but really cool. I call them:
1. "Props" and 2. "Who needs help!?!?!"
Props is the point in time in the meeting where I ask the team: "Does anyone have props for anyone else on the team?!" To which, my fellow employees are able to call out specific employees within the company to say "Hey, John! I wanted to give you props for doing a great job on X." Or, "Hey Rebecca! I wanted to give you props for doing an unbelievable job on Y." Props is a time for employees to publically recognize people for doing things that were awesome.
Typically, these nice things are about projects people are working on cross-department. Sometimes, props may be about someone who really stepped up and hit an important deadline for the company. Other times it's for a coordinated effort around launching a new campaign, or bringing in a new client, or throwing an awesome team party, or cleaning up the awesome team party, or bringing in a new hire, or pushing a really sick update that benefits users, or fixing something that's been broken for a long time. Sometimes, it's about an employee's sweet moustache (sorry Teddie... I know I said I wouldn't). Props is a great way to show someone you've worked with that you think they did a great job on something, enough to want to recognize them publically. I think it can be a really meaningful way to end a meeting. Appreciation. It's one of the most important words I've ever known. Give it a try!
Who Needs Help?!?!
"Who needs help" comes directly after "Props." It is the point in time in the meeting where I ask the team: "K! Who needs help!?! Anyone?" To which, my fellow employees are able to vocalize publically to the team that they need help with XYZ. "Who needs help" is great for providing public accountability with regards to specific projects and specific departments. It is used to help rally the team around specific projects that need to be completed on tight deadlines.
For example, it is very common in our line of work at Dailybreak to want to launch a national paid sponsor's challenge quickly so that we can begin recognizing revenue and providing services to our clients and users. "Who needs help" would allow our sales team to publically remind the team that we have a campaign ready to go live on the site and that in order to go live two things need to happen: 1. The development team needs to fix XYZ bug, and 2. The marketing team needs to prepare the email campaign to our existing customer base. "Who needs help" rallies the team around specific missions that are time critical, and it provides accountability due to it's public nature. It's really effective. Give it a try!
That's all peoples! Let me know how it goes! Give me your suggestions, too! I'm all ears.
On Saturday, Greenhorn Connect held a really awesome event in Boston for young people looking to learn about startups. I gave a talk at the event, and I told people I would post my deck online. So, here it is! If you weren't there, it may not make the most sense, but that's ok!
Entrepreneur asks: "Hey Durkin, I'd like to start holding a team meeting each week with my entire team. You know, like an all-hands-on-deck type meeting. Everyone in one room. Talking about the company. Where we're going. What we're doing. Goals. Success metrics. Etc. What do you recommend?"
First off. I think team meetings are really important. I'm not "anti-meeting" like a lot of people I've met / read about / etc. I actually think productive meetings are a great way to accomplish a ton of shit in a short period of time. Are their opportunity costs? Sure. Switching costs? Sure. I get it. Poorly run meetings can be death. But, successful meetings can provide necessary structure, kills multiple birds with one stone, provide motivation, or even reinvigorate an entire company!
I encourage people to switch up the way they conduct team meetings every six months or so. This seems like a long enough time for people to get into a routine of what to expect in team meetings, and also long enough where after six months people desire a change in pace. Change is good!
Here are two of my favorite ways to conduct team meetings:
Type A Meeting: (20 minute meeting)
1. CEO talks for 3 - 5 minutes about the business.
2. Exec team members talk for 60 seconds each about important projects in their respective departments (VP Sales talks sales, VP Marketing talks marketing, VP Engineering talks tech, etc).
3. Team members are invited to speak about interesting projects they are working on for five minutes.
4. Props: people on the team are invited to give praise to other individuals on the team who have helped them.
5. Who Needs Help?: this question is asked to the team, and team members are invited to say a project that they need help on from other people on the team publicly, providing accountability cross departments.
Type B Meeting: (20 minute meeting)
1. Moderator opens up team meeting with the "Theme of the Week."
2. One team member from each department is asked to submit a three-bullet-point update to the team.
4. Who Needs Help?
I have attached a number of examples below of a Type B meeting
. I prefer it because it allows more people on the team to talk, and is less "top-down" (CEO --> Exec Team --> Team). I also like it because it allows the entire team to rally behind a theme each week. Sometimes the theme of the week is focused around sales. Sometimes the theme of the week is focused around product. Sometimes it can be a word like "Execution," other times will be something motivational, and other times will be totally wacky and fun. The point is to send a message to the team that "This week we need to focus on our Q3 sales goal HARD." Orrrr "This week we should celebrate our successes from last week." Orrr "This week we need to pay attention to testing our platform." Etc. You get the idea.
Check out the team agendas provided below (I deleted sensitive information and all numbers are fictitious).
Each one of these is typed up the night before the meeting and is printed out and handed to team members at each team meeting. Hope this helps!
2012.09.17 - Agenda for Tuesday Morning Meetings test
2012.09.05 - Agenda for Tuesday Morning Meetings test
2012.08.21 - Agenda for Tuesday Morning Meetings test
I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming presidential election. It does seem like this election has significantly more weight behind it than any election in my lifetime, although I'm sure people could argue that either way. I do think this election is a real important one. That's why I encourage everyone in my office to vote! One site that allows you to do it is: http://www.rockthevote.org/
. If you haven't registered yet, do it so you can vote on election day. I hope all entrepreneurs in town encourage their team members to vote.
When I think about what's important to me in a candidate, a whole long list comes to mind. I want that person to be smart, aggressive, a great negotiator, respected and respectful. I care about making sure my life is the best it can possibly be. I care about my family and my friends and their lives. I care about causes I care about. I'm like 99% of people in that I have my own strong views on certain things, and other things I don't seem to give a shit about. There are a solid 10-20 core issues I've found people are taking into consideration for their decision on this upcoming election.
It turns out, most people I talk to are pretty well decided on who they are going to vote for for President. Out of the 30 people I asked "Who are you going to vote for in the next presidential election?" each one of them had a definite answer on one candidate or the other. I then asked whether or not they would entertain the idea of switching their vote to the other candidate. 29 out of the 30 said flat out "no."
Which got me to thinking...
I'm not on the inside of President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney's campaigns, but I imagine they are likely no longer focused on SWITCHING votes but are instead focused on inspiring their followers to do two things:
1. Show up, and
2. Bring their friends, neighbors, and family to the election booth with them.
This election is going to be about showing up. Not switching votes.
If you are to expand any energy at all, it should be to drive/walk/run/bike to the election booth. If you have any interest in expanding any MORE energy at all, it should be to drive/walk/run/bike your friends, neighbors, and family to the election booth.
Romney will have to inspire this intense passion and feeling in people to do this if he wants to win the WhiteHouse. And Obama will have to do the same to keep it.
"If you cannot measure, you cannot repeat. If you cannot repeat, you cannot scale."
I love this quote. I believe the first time I heard it was from Seth Lieberman from Pangea Media. He may have created the statement. I have no idea. But, I do love it. And I feel like it is the simplest way I can relate to the idea of "scaling a business." In order to scale a business, you must be able to repeat a process over and over again. Ideally, it is a process that has some sort of repeatable monetizable event on the sales side of the business, and some sort of repeatable viral loop on the user gen side of the business.
But how do you allow certain processes to repeat?!?! You must be able to make choices, spending your most valuable resources of time on things important to the business. Things that affect scale and growth. And in order to that, you must be able to set up hypotheses and test those hypotheses. You must decide what you're going to measure, and focus on, and what not to.
If you cannot measure, you cannot repeat because you will not know what to continuously repeat to get to scale. And if you never repeat, you'll never get the growth needed to scale beyond your initial hypotheses. If you cannot measure, you cannot repeat. If you cannot repeat, you cannot scale.