“Leadership is the art of communication.”
If you think it can be challenging to successfully achieve a personal goal, imagine how much more complex it can be to lead a team to success. Once the rigorous tasks of goal setting and strategic planning are complete, the real work begins. From the leadership to the most entry level employee, aligning your team to your business objectives is critical for success. Without alignment, there can be no results.
The key to alignment lies in effective communication. Over the course of my corporate career, I’ve sat in my fair share of meetings that left me feeling inconvenienced and uninspired. Once I became a small business owner, I designed my own communication strategy with efficiency and impact in mind. These meeting formats have helped me build a strong company culture and develop a dynamic team that’s delivered results year after year.
1) Annual Leadership Alignment Meeting: What are the business’s strengths and weaknesses? Which weakness(s) will you prioritize this year? What are the goals for improvement and how can they be measured? How will the business achieve these goals- what is each person’s role and responsibility within the strategic plan? An Annual Leadership Alignment Meeting is by far the most critical, as this dialogue will clearly define the course and set the tone for the entire year.
2) Weekly Leadership Meeting: This meeting serves several functions- reflection, celebration, accountability, and support. While it’s important to review business results and general housekeeping, it’s more important to slow down enough to celebrate progress and/or learn from mistakes. Breaking away from the heard once a week for open discussion with like-minded colleagues can be extremely motivating and promote the professional development of the leadership team. An elite group setting often breeds healthy competition and collaboration.
3) Daily Staff Huddle: In today’s workforce, the leader has evolved from a “boss” to a “coach”, charged with the task of motivating and inspiring the behavior of her team. A Daily Huddle does exactly that. In this 5-10 minute morning staff meeting, you can make company goals and objectives tangible by sharing a5 star client review, recognizing a staff member for a job well done, or highlighting a tip of the day for improving performance. The daily staff huddle is designed to kick-starting the day with company objectives front of mind. It should be positive and energizing- a part of the day that your staff really looks forward to. (Donuts help 😉)
4) Monthly All-Staff Meeting: While company objectives, business results, training, and recognition are all key components of an effective Monthly All-Staff Meeting, it serves a much greater purpose. Once per month, all facets of the business come together to reunite under a common goal. This meeting serves to reinforce a strong team dynamic, emphasizing the importance of each cog and its effect on business results.
When it comes to communication strategies, it’s important to implement a variety of clear and consistent formats designed to inform, align, motivate, and unify. Communication comes in many forms and not all communication is created equal. The strength of your communication strategy can be measured by the quality of your performance results. As the saying goes, “communication is the response you get.”
We're all so multifaceted, juggling work, family, romance, etc. We do our best to keep all the balls in the air and prevent a challenge in one area from affecting the others. But what if the key to success is not in compartmentalizing, but rather in embracing all the facets that make us a whole human, and sharing that person with the people in our lives?
I spent my corporate career bouncing around between locations. Change was part of the job, and it wasn’t long before I developed my own checklist for winning over a new team. I eventually applied this approach when I took over my family’s 30-year-old business. No matter the industry, this strategy has overcome generational, racial, gender, and tenure gaps.