Meetings over 15 minutes are therapy sessions—don’t do it

Communications are vital in any business. Employees often complain about communications without really even knowing what they mean. There are numerous ways that a company communicates with its people—written memos, meetings, e-mails, informal meetings, phone calls and messages—but what is important first is what is communicated, not how.

An employee needs to have information sufficient for them to do their job. In order to do their job they must have a basic understanding of the company’s direction, the company’s structure, what is expected of them and whether or not their performance is producing what is expected. Ideally they will also know what they can do to increase their compensation and the measures of those results.

Meetings can be lengthy and costly. The hourly cost of a meeting of key personnel can run into the thousands of dollars and therefore the methods of communicating must be examined. Meetings are still required, but effective meetings that communicate in a minimum amount of time are essential. People have to meet face-to-face on some sort of a regular basis. An owner who holds “informal meetings” with each of his people individually each day runs the risk of people suspecting that he is saying one thing to some people and another thing to them. Such a policy breeds distrust.

A football team will have a game plan, practice the game plan all week but during the game before every play they still have a huddle. Companies are the same. There needs to be a communication of the vision or game plan. There needs to be weekly focus in management meetings regarding the current part of the game plan and every day there needs to be a huddle. Five-minute huddles should take place in management and in each department. They are mandatory with no tolerance for non-attendance and no tolerance for them lasting more than five-minutes.