“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 you’re past the rigorous stages of goal setting and strategic planning, the real work begins. Aligning your team to your business objectives is critical for success- without it, there can be no results. The secret lies in effective communication.
Over the course of my corporate career, I’ve sat through my fair share of meetings that left me feeling uninspired and inconvenienced.Once I became a small business owner, I designed my own communication strategy with efficiency and impact in mind. These meeting formats continue to help me build a strong company culture and develop a dynamic team that delivers 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 manager’s role and responsibility within the strategic plan? An Annual Leadership Alignment Meeting will clearly define the course of the business 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 management team. An elite group setting often breeds healthy competition and collaboration.
3) Morning All-Staff Rally: In today’s workforce, the leader has evolved from a “boss” to a “coach”, charged with the task of motivating and inspiring her team. The Morning Rally does exactly that. In this 5-10 minute all-staff meeting, you can make company goals and objectives tangible by sharing a 5 star client review, recognizing a staff member for a job well done, or highlighting a tip of the day for improving performance. The rally 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, recognition,and training 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. As the leader of your team, use this as an opportunity emphasize the importance of each cog in the wheel. This will connect positive results to teamwork and reinforce a strong team dynamic.
In my communication strategy, I combined a variety of clear and consistent formats designed to inform, align, motivate,and unify. It's important to remember that communication comes in many forms and not all communication is created equal. The strength of your communication strategy can be measured by your team’s performance. As the saying goes,“communication is the response you get.” If you aren't happy with the response, it's time to re-evaluate the message.
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.