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Business Operations / Sonny's-Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

Team Meetings Yield Effective Communications

CarWash College™ Tip of the Month

March 29, 2012
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One of the keys to a well-run car wash is communication. One of the best ways to increase effective communication is through meetings. The outline below will help you prepare to get your team into the habit of holding effective meetings.

One person records the decisions and action plan of the team. That responsibility is usually rotated to each team member, so that everyone shares in this responsibility, as well as becoming proficient in noting the important points of the meeting. One person facilitates the meeting. That responsibility can be shared several different ways, depending upon how self-directed and self-sufficient you want a team to become. The three principal methods are:

  1. The manager runs the meeting.
  2. A team leader is designated who is not a manager.
  3. The role of team facilitator rotates to each member of the group from meeting to meeting.

If you are just beginning the team process, and you do not have any outside assistance, it is reasonable that the manager begin running the meetings and eventually get team members involved in the running of the meetings over a period of time.

Terminology is helpful. The team concept has been developed to help organizations run more effectively and to motivate employees to act like members of the team instead of employees. Therefore, it is:

  1. Team Members vs. Employees
  2. Team Leaders vs. Supervisors
  3. Meetings are Facilitated vs. Meetings are Run by One Person

Walt Disney World™ has a tremendous example of how important terminology is. People are not "employees", they are "cast members". Work is not "work", it is the "show" that has to be performed. Customers are "guests", etc. It is paying attention to details like this that has helped Disney World become so successful.

Meeting times – The meeting times are consistent, have time limits, and start and end on time. Weekly 1-hour meetings are what are most often used with organizations utilizing this team process. If the team wants to go longer in a special circumstance, they stop after 1 hour, make a conscious choice to extend the time, and set another time limit on that extension. Generally, 1 hour is ideal. Every meeting has an agenda. Ideally, participants are involved in contributing ideas for the agenda, or they are working on a specific problem, on an on-going basis. A flipchart and markers are invaluable tools for a team meeting. On that flipchart you can communicate a common agenda, brainstorm problems, and, capture solutions. When an agenda is created, it is then prioritized, and, if it is not finished at the end of the hour, the items carry over to the next weekly meeting.

If you are just beginning this team meeting process, and you are going to facilitate the meeting, you can put your agenda up first and ask for other contributions. Ideally, you let team members go first and put their agenda items up and you add yours in. Practical considerations will sometimes not make this feasible and you will need to get your items covered first.

Successful teams have a high level of involvement from all the team members. The more involved everyone becomes, the better the product that you are likely to turn out. If someone in the group is not participating, help get them involved by asking them for their opinion. Remember, the meeting is a team effort with a goal of 100% participation.

Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College™. Robert can be reached at Randre@CarWashCollege.com. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit www.CarWashCollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.