Archive for September, 2009

Running a Successful Company Meeting (Part 5)

Posted in General Management, Running a Successful Company Meeting with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Company meetingWe’ve cover all the basics of running a successful company meeting and I thought it best to do a quick summary so that nothing is left to chance. Implement these simple steps, and you’re team will be looking forward to the next one. Each subject links back to the original blog.

Part 1. Preparation – Invite attendees well in advance. Have the room ready (chair, mic, podium, etc.).
Part 1. Refreshments – Snacks, drinks, maybe lunch.
Part 2. Breaking the ice – Start with an appropriate story or joke.
Part 2. Starting the Presentation – Keep everyone engaged. Ask questions. Add Audio visuals to keep it interesting.
Part 3. Guest Speaker – Invite a motivator, vendor, client or customer to speaker.
Part 3. Questions – Invite questions before and during the meeting. Repeat them, so there’s no misunderstanding.
Part 4. Goals and Agenda – Have clear realistic objectives and goals for the outcome. Stick to the agenda and timeline.

Great meetingRunning a successful company meeting is fairly easy. If you’re not comfortable speaking in front of a group, it may take a little more practice. But I can assure you, if you’re prepared and follow the simple steps in this series of blogs, you’ll do a great job.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Recommended Reading – Updated

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Recommended Reading with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

OutliersEvery Saturday, I update my Recommended Reading list. I think you’ll find my suggestions thought-provoking, inspiring and educational.

To see the Recommended Reading list, please click on the link. “Recommended Reading

*For your convenience, if you want to purchase any of the books, I’ve linked all the covers directly to Amazon.*

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Running a Successful Company Meeting (Part 4)

Posted in General Management, Running a Successful Company Meeting with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Company meetingIf you can conduct a meeting that keeps everyone interested and engaged, you shouldn’t have any trouble when it’s time to call the next one. If you allow the meeting to become painfully boring and a waste of time, no one will be responsive to the next invitation. And if that’s the case, you really need to read these blogs.

Goals and Agenda
Meeting goalsI assume you have a well thought out agenda for the meeting. Do your best to stick to it, what needs to be covered and the timeline. If it’s an hour, stick to it. Attendees will plan their day around it, so stay punctual.

You’ve already broken the ice, but now lead into the business with good news. Start it off on a positive note. Think the agenda through carefully so that the meeting flows nicely. That being the case, you should also have clear objectives and goals for the outcome. Of course, not everything has to be crammed into the meeting. Take that into consideration. Who’s attending? What meeting goals should be met with those people in mind? If an individual or smaller meetings would be a better use of time for some, then keep those goals for another time and place.

Manage the content and time well.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Running a Successful Company Meeting (Part 3)

Posted in General Management, Running a Successful Company Meeting with tags , , , , , , on September 24, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Company meetingKeeping it moving along is key when you’re running a company meeting. If you’re prepared and follow my suggestions, you’ll have nothing to worry about. But remember, it doesn’t take much to derail a runaway freight train. Keep it on the tracks, a steady pace and your passengers will be glad they traveled with you.

Guest speaker
Guest speakerFor a change of pace, you could invite a guest speaker. Lots of options here. This could be a vendor or client. Someone who can teach something pertinent to the team. Perhaps someone to motivate them. You probably can’t do this if you’re meeting weekly, but maybe once a month. Give it a try, they might like it.

Questions
QuestionsEncourage questions. They can be written down or emailed to you in advance and then addressed during the meeting. If you don’t go that route, leave time for questions at the end. Make sure the speaker or whomever is conducting the meeting, repeats the questions. That way there’s no confusion what was asked. If someone walks away feeling that their questions went unanswered, it will overshadow all the hard work you put into making the meeting interesting and productive. If you really do run out of time, then answer the question privately with the employee. If it pertains to the whole team, you can email them all the answer.

More suggestions in the next blog.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Running a Successful Company Meeting (Part 2)

Posted in General Management, Running a Successful Company Meeting with tags , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Company meetingYou scheduled the meeting and they showed up. You can’t ask for a better start. You fed them. They can’t ask for a better start. But now it’s time to dig in…to the work.

Breaking the ice
Breaking the iceSo how do you get started? I would recommend an ice breaker. Maybe an appropriate joke or story, something amusing that happened recently at work. If it can be tied in to the subject of the meeting, all the better. Or ask a question that gets everyone engaged, where they have to give answers or raise their hand. You want their attention. Encourage participation, but keep control. You don’t want everyone speaking at once…which leads to wasted time…which doesn’t lead to a successful meeting.

Starting the presentation
Starting the presentationOne of the challenges faced by the person conducting the meeting is keeping it interesting. You don’t want anyone nodding off, and if you’re only planning to lecture, that might just happen. Like I mentioned before, keep them engaged by asking questions that require a response. If it’s possible, consider mixing up the presentation with handouts, some audio/visuals (overhead projector, PowerPoint, video, etc.). The more involved the participants are, the more they’ll enjoy the meeting.

More great ideas to come.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Running a Successful Company Meeting (Part 1)

Posted in General Management, Running a Successful Company Meeting with tags , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Company meeting“Great, another meeting. Like I have time to waste an hour.” Have you heard that before…or said it yourself? At some point, we probably all have. That’s because most people don’t know how to prepare and run a successful meeting. Over the next of series of blogs, we’re going make sure you’re not one of them.

Preparation
Meeting preparationSo let’s get this meeting started. Email out the time, date and place well in advance, so there will be no good excuses for those who can’t attend. If it’s a weekly meeting, you can still send confirmation requested emails. And if you’re able, set the meeting schedule for the next few months. If you require any prep work by the attendees, make sure you provide the information well in advance, so that if there are questions, they’re not raised at the meeting.

Refreshments
RefreshmentsNothing says “Welcome to the meeting,” like food. There’s no question that people love to eat at a meeting. Have drinks and snacks. Lunch, if appropriate. Make sure you’ve allotted time for eating, as it will take time to get everyone settled and ready to work. They will appreciate the effort.

Okay, now you’re ready to get started…tomorrow.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Recommended Reading – Updated

Posted in General Management, Recommended Reading with tags , , , , , , , on September 19, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

FreakonomicsEvery Saturday, I update my Recommended Reading list. I think you’ll find my suggestions thought-provoking, inspiring and educational.

To see the Recommended Reading list, please click on the link. “Recommended Reading

*For your convenience, if you want to purchase any of the books, I’ve linked all the covers directly to Amazon.*

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone (Part 7)

Posted in General Management, How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Pink slipAs we finish out this blog series, let’s do a quick review and then a few closing thoughts.
Part 1. Feedback – Keep it real. Keep it honest. Don’t make a termination a surprise.
Part 1. Written Warning – Document everything. Issue warnings with deadlines.
Part 2. Be Specific – Make sure there nothing left to interpretation. Be very clear.
Part 2. Not on Fridays – Best to not fire on Fridays. It may clear your conscience, but leave them stewing for two days. Do it early in the week.
Part 3. Cut to the Chase – We know this isn’t easy, but don’t stall. Make the dreaded meeting brief and to the point. Let the employee know “it’s for cause.” And have a witness.
Part 4. You’re Out – Have everything planned in advance so that once you’ve the let the employee go…they go. Take their personal property and call it an experience. Careful allow anyone continued access to company files (on and offline). And collect company stuff (keys, phones, laptops, etc.)
Part 5. Get it in Writing – Have them sign a release of liability.
Part 6. Who’s Doing What – Reassign Responsibilities – Figure it out a head of time. Who’s going to take on the now unassigned responsibilities?
Part 6. Staff Meeting – Call the team together. Give them an update and reassurance that all is well. Prevent rumors from getting started.

A good teamThe two most important things to remember are, (1) “Hire slow, fire fast, and (2) Do the what’s right for you and your company. When you take your time, let a poor performer stay on staff, it sends a terrible message to your team. Set the bar high, lead by example, give clear expectations, be honest and you’ll put together a great team. Might take some time, a few changes here and there, but it’ll happen. And when you have to let someone go…reread my blog.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone (Part 6)

Posted in General Management, How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone with tags , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Pink slipTake a breath and let it out slowly. The fired employee has now left the building. But your work isn’t done.

Who’s Doing What – Reassign Responsibilities
Reassign responsibilitiesIf you haven’t already given this some thought, you better get on it. Personally, I would recommend making the decision as to who will be handling the responsibilities of the person you just fired, before you fire them. Sometimes it’s an easy one, but when it comes to high level management responsibilities, it might require more thought. First of all, will that person be replaced at all? If not, and others will be asked to pick up the slack, will you be compensating them for that? What’s your plan? The termination of a manager can raise eyebrows and concerns within the team. More work without pay or incentives can create challenges for an owner. If it’s a short term fix, it shouldn’t be a problem. If it’s a long term one, you need to think it through. As I’ve written in the past, it’s so important to take care of your staff, especially those you want to keep.

Staff Meeting
Staff meetingRight after the termination, call everyone together. Without going into details, let them know what’s happened. It’s always best to cut off the rumors before they start…or before the ex-employee calls everyone. This is a good time to reassign the responsibilities, answer questions and ease any concerns.

One final blog on this tomorrow – we’ll call it a summary and a some words of wisdom. And now, back to work.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone (Part 5)

Posted in General Management, How to Ready, Aim, Fire Someone with tags , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Pink slipWe’ve covered quite a few details along our uncomfortable path that leads to the termination of an employee. As long as your reasons are valid, you can’t beat yourself up too much. As we’ve mentioned previously, provide honest feedback and written warnings that are very specific. Don’t make it a painful surprise, if you can avoid it. That brief-and-to-the-point meeting is coming to an end, but unfortunately, the employee hasn’t left the building just yet. One more important task to complete.

Get it in writing
Signing a releaseBefore your soon-to-be former employee leaves their exit interview, I recommend you have them sign a release of liability. If you have an attorney, I’d get one drafted up. It’s fairly boilerplate. You can probably find one on the Internet, if you have to. Some employees may be reluctant to sign it, not because they’re planning to sue you (hopefully that’s not the case), but because they don’t understand it. Do your best to explain the document. If necessary, encourage them to have it read by their attorney. You can also offer an incentive to sign it – perhaps an extra week of severance pay. Again, check with your lawyer to see what you can and can’t do. As I’ve mentioned before, better safe than sorry.

Protect your businessBottom line here – Cover your…you know what. When an employee is fired, there are so many things that can go wrong. Document everything, have a witness during the meeting and get the release signed. Protect yourself and your company.

If you have any comments, please write them below. If you’re interested in a
consultation or have questions, please email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.