In defense of meetings

It is with sound mind and body that I willingly write this post.  I know full well this won’t be warmly received but I can’t be silenced.  My name is Pete, and I like meetings.

OK, let me clarify – I don’t like ALL meetings.  But I do like one.  So much so, that I feel off if we don’t have it every day.  It’s called huddle.  I know, I know – this sounds like new-age patchouli talk.  I swear, it’s not.  And it’s not one of these ridiculous corporate sports analogies either.  Gag me.  Just stay with me here…

Our entire team meets, every single day, for no more than 5 minutes.  And while that’s nothing special (plenty of companies have daily time sucks masquerading as meetings), what’s special is what we talk about.  We don’t talk about the status of the status meeting or the filing of TPS reports – we talk about how the company did yesterday, what we’re going to do today to improve and where we are against our goal.  Every day.  All week.

We don’t wait until the end of the week to see if we’re having a bad week.  We don’t wait until the end of the month or the end of the quarter.  Every single person (yes, even the development team), knows every single day where things stand.  And this way, it’s everyone’s job to spot the trend and do something about it.  It’s freeing for those supposedly “in charge” and it’s empowering for everyone else.  It’s not Accounting’s problem that the numbers don’t add up or Sales’ problem that we don’t have enough customers.  When you’re in a startup, it’s everyone’s problem if you want to have a job next year.

Seriously, can you tell me how many customers your company signed yesterday?  Was that above or below your goal?  Do you even know what the goal was?  If you were under, was it because you didn’t get enough leads (visits to the website, calls, etc.) or was it because you didn’t convert enough of those leads into customers?  If you did convert them into customers, did they spend what you thought they would or did they spend less?  I’ll bet you a dollar that 90% of people can’t answer these simple questions.  And I don’t care how complicated your business is, it can ALWAYS be boiled down to a few simple numbers (leads/calls/visits, customers, average spend, and total revenue).  Period.  End of story.

Sure, you’re a special, unique flower – your business is different.  You have some other metric that’s important.  Congratulations.  But if you can’t answer the basics, you’re either succeeding out of dumb luck or failing because you have no idea where the road is.  So, I don’t mean to preach but I will say this: try it.  Just try it for a week and let me know how it goes.  We have an entire script for our 5 minute meeting that I’m happy to send you to save you all the work – just ask.  Or, better yet, stop by and join us for one of ours.

Or you can just worry about it next month.  It’s probably Sales’ problem anyway…