Employee meetings should boost morale and make team members excited about the direction the business is going. Instead, it is often seen as a time-waster that lowers efficiency and fails to connect employees to the company. In this article, let’s discuss how team meetings can be used to facilitate team building and realign employees to the vision of the company regularly.
Practically all of America watched the Super Bowl last month and witnessed the Los Angeles Rams take their second win in franchise history.
If you’ve ever been on a sports team or know anything about the sports world, you can guess that prior to the game, the team likely huddled around coach Sean McVay who laid out the plays for each quarter, giving each member their positions and plays. They likely ended with a team chant as a reminder that they are a team and, together, they can win the game as they have trained and prepared to do all season leading up to this point.
Now, whether you are a sports fan or not, you already know the importance of team members being on the same page in the vision that the team has. These team meetings and practices are then an important tool to facilitate that. This is why we do it in our businesses.
But despite our best intentions, studies show that meetings are actually hurting the company more than we might’ve realized. Take a look at these findings conducted by Harvard Business Review on a group of 182 senior managers.
Let’s also take a look at a study done by Udemy on a group of 1,000 office workers in full-time positions that shows that 60% of survey respondents said meetings are just another distraction from the work they need to complete.
Not ideal, right?
Well, there are a few ways that we can change our approach to meetings to change this trajectory.
First, we need to change the format of our meetings. To learn an extremely effective blueprint for successful meetings, watch this video.
Then we need to put rituals in place that foster team camaraderie. Here are a few that we do...
Not to be confused with the much-beloved breakfast food, waffle (though I’m sure many employees wouldn’t mind starting the meeting off with waffles), this is an acronym for the phrase, “What I Feel Like Expressing.”
A WIFLE is a free and unfettered time for a team member to express whatever is on their mind. It is a safe space that creates trust and openness.
During this time no one can talk or interrupt the speaker. Everyone must be open and attentive, meaning no crossed arms or legs, and the focus must be solely on the speaker.
This opening moment reinforces a culture of open and candid communication by allowing team members to voice concerns, frustrations, struggles, or hopes for the team. They are presented in a neutral and non-confrontational tone, which helps team members work through issues without escalating any conflicts.
The speaker ends their time with “That’s what I feel like expressing,” and then passes it on to the next team member. The next team member begins by thanking the previous member for expressing before expressing their feelings.
We have everyone in the room list their top “wins” from the week. These can be related to meeting their KPIs, significant progress in a project, important or productive conversations they’ve had with clients or just something in their personal life that made them smile that week.
Throughout the week, it’s easy to forget these things as we get caught up in the hustle and grind mindset and address the problems or failures of the week. But recognizing and celebrating each other’s wins brings us out of that mindset and into the success mindset. It also allows the team to see what activities are working and encourage them to change their approaches.
We close our meetings at ActionCOACH with a WHOOSH. This WHOOSH is a physical motion of putting our left hand out and swinging our right hand forward to meet the left. It symbolizes how each team member locks in information shared during the meeting and then they WHOOSH it out and let it go. So, even if the meeting is intense or stressful the team members can move forward and the details don’t weigh them down or distract them.
Develop a similar ritual for your team that is unique to your business. Make it significant and meaningful to your team by including them in creating it.
When team members feel free to express themselves without retribution, it adds connectivity and increases trust. “For as long as humans have formed tribes, they’ve used rituals to bond those tribes. This is why most high-performing teams regularly engage in shared rituals — they increase cooperation, build trust, and create a sense of belonging” (David Burkus, 2021). We perform these rituals both in person and virtually. They are habitual and comforting to all the team members.
Need other strategies to improve your team? This may even have to start with hiring. We discuss ways to create a winning team in our monthly, Build a Better Business MasterCLASS that we hold around the Indy area.Join us at our next meeting!
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