Category : Management Tips

Taking The Bored Out Of Board Meetings

Keeping everyone engaged is a key challenge of chairing a board meeting.

It’s easy to fall into the habit of using the same tired format for your meeting when there are numerous ways you could be making the situation more engaging for your staff, and this is key to boosting morale and inspiring your workforce.

In this post, Trevor McClintock, growth coach and change agent, discusses how to take the ‘bored’ out of your ‘board meeting’.

You want your staff to feel motivated after a meeting – so why aren’t you using your board meetings to the best advantage?

Worthwhile board meetings can improve staff engagement, create a sense of team spirit and ensure that the channels of communication are flowing.

What are the key points you need to remember to prevent your board meeting from turning into a snooze zone?

1) Ensure that everyone understands why you are doing what you are doing

If staff feel you are simply going through the motions, they will lose interest very quickly.

Contextualise everything in order to maximise engagement and make sure that everyone is working towards the same goals.

2) Encourage everyone to actively participate in the meeting

To ensure the optimum level of engagement, it’s good to have other people taking part in the meeting, rather than just letting one person drone on and work their way through a series of slides.

Make sure everyone contributes at least one thing in every meeting.

3) Focus the agenda on results to provide a collective sense of purpose

The worst meetings are those where people feel disengaged and do not see the point in being there.

Have a set of clear aims in mind so everyone knows and understands fully why you are doing what you are doing.

Use the time constructively to map out how you will achieve your targets.

4) Change the format of the meeting agenda each time

An element of surprise can mix things up a bit for your attendees and keep them on their toes.

If they come to expect the same format week after week then it is highly likely they will get bored and dread attending the meetings.

5) Don’t be afraid to give praise publicly

Is there a member of your team that has been over-achieving this month? Why not praise them in front of the team?

This will both encourage the team member to continue their good work but also motivate other staff members to achieve the same level of results.

6) Eliminate pointless items from the agenda

Make sure everything in your agenda is necessary and is relevant to everyone attending the meeting.

Get rid of anything which will be time consuming or waste time unnecessarily.

Streamline the meeting to achieve the most within the allocated time frame.

7) Make sure everything is fully prepared for the meeting before you begin

There is nothing worse than someone floundering around at the start of a meeting because they are not fully prepared.

This can really get the meeting off to a weak beginning and may set the tone for the meeting as other people lose confidence in the leader.

Begin the meeting with an energetic tone to inspire others and carry forward a positive feeling for the duration of the meeting.

Use these tips wisely to ensure maximum engagement and excitement for each board meeting.

Use the time well and as an opportunity to get everyone together celebrating the work you are doing and forging plans collectively for the upcoming month.

This is an opportunity for everyone’s voice to be heard; an inspiring meeting can lift the morale of staff and ensure everyone is on the same page.

If you need further tips on how to ensure your board meetings are kept fresh and exciting, or want to share your own, why not leave a comment below, tweet me or contact me on Facebook.

Three Employee Schemes To Make Your Workforce Happier

Employees are the beating heart of your business, without them your company would shrink and ultimately fail.

Happy employees will not only stay at your company, but a recent study also showed that there is a direct correlation between employee happiness and productivity levels.

By investing in your workforce’s happiness, it not only allows you to instil your company ideals throughout the workforce, but it also demonstrates that you (as a company) are invested in your workforce and on an individual level.

With over 20 years in business, starting and growing multiple companies from the ground up, Trevor McClintock talks us through his top five employee schemes to increase happiness within the workplace.

Flexitime

Flexitime isn’t a new idea, it’s been around the business community for a good 15 years and it continues to be a great perk and a brilliant inventive for attracting new talent and retaining existing people.

Flexitime can be implemented in multiple forms depending on the industry you are in.

In its most simple form you can say to your employees that they can do their required time per day any time in a given time period, for example, your employees can work their 7.5 hour day any time between 6am and 8pm, giving them a chance for an early finish or a lie in.

The more extreme cases of flexitime are being adopted by some of silicon valley’s most progressive workplaces, where the employer sets an amount of work, and if the employee does it, they can then leave for the day/week.

Some companies, such as GitHub, have a policy stating that if you don’t feel happy you shouldn’t come into work.

Flexitime works because it shows that your company is invested in your employee’s time out of the office as well as what they spend there.

It also implies that you have a level of trust in your employees, making them feel an integral part of the company.

Points Reward Scheme

The points rewards scheme is essentially an incentive scheme; but instead of restricting people to a certain path of rewards, the points scheme gives employees a chance to choose what they would like their reward to be.

By implanting the points scheme, you can afford to be agile in your rewards, for instance, if you have a particularly busy month, you can offer a better set off rewards and award points for specific tasks to help motivate employees towards the shared goal.

It also demonstrates that you’re invested to rewarding team members for their hard work, building the company ethos that hard work will always reap rewards.

Internal Training Programs

Internal training is vital to letting your employees know that they have got your support to develop their skills and ultimately be a better worker.

The biggest hurdle to jump over when thinking about an employee training program is the old business adage of, “what if we train them and they leave?”

This has recently been revitalised by Richard Branson, who says, “Train people well enough so that they can leave; treat them well enough that they don’t want to.”

By building a solid company culture and implementing some of the above incentives you’ll be able to run a training program without worrying about people leaving.

If you’re interested to hear more from Trevor about the best employee schemes to implement you can reach him on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or visit the Trevor McClintock Business Consultant website.

employee-feedback

Why Employee Feedback Is Absolutely Essential

Employee engagement is critical to productivity and performance.

A truly engaged employee works not just harder but smarter, and contributes substantially more to the success of your organisation.

But how can you keep them engaged?

One of the best ways is through providing proper employee feedback.

I don’t mean by that the formal, annual performance reviews.

These are important, but they are not what you need to keep workers engaged on a day to day basis.

Employee feedback is powerful, inexpensive, and massively underutilised.

It serves both to improve morale, make individuals really feel like part of a team, and of course to help get employees back on track when their performance falters.

It’s most powerful aspect, though, might be its ability to help individual employees see how others perceive their job performance and social impact.

Feedback, if it has a positive aspect, can be incredibly motivating.

It can help your employees to really identify with your organisation, and with their place within it.

Proper ongoing feedback should constantly reinforce the following points:

  • The importance of the employee’s role, and how it helps the organisation run
  • What they need to achieve to succeed in their role
  • How their performance had improved or declined recently, as well as long-term
  • What uses of their time contribute most to the organisation
  • The impacts they are having on others around them
  • The state of their relationships with co-workers and supervisors

Attempting to do a proper job without fairly frequent feedback is a bit like driving in an unfamiliar countryside when the sat-nav won’t connect.

You can be making really good time for a few hours, only to suddenly discover that you’ve been on the wrong road the whole time.

Nothing is as demoralising as discovering that the last few weeks (or months) they you’ve been pouring into an important project has essentially been wasted because you were on the wrong track.

However, with regular, frequent informal feedback sessions, your sat-nav is working the whole time.

You know exactly where you rely are on the project and within the organisation, and if you do make a wrong turn is can be discovered and corrected straight away rather than after weeks of wasted effort.

You need to have regular, informal chats with each member of your team about their work.

This might include a discussion about whether they are achieving both their own goals as well as those you have set for them.

It should involve underscoring what makes their role important to the organisation as a whole, and how they might contribute more.

You should definitely touch upon those areas in which they are doing well.

You should make certain to address the impact the individual in question is having on the workplace generally, both in positive and negative ways.

If you can keep your employees in touch with their performance, their role in the organisation, and their relationships with their co-workers, they will not only be more productive, but more positive about their status within the company and better able to use their strengths to overcome their weaknesses.

This is what you need to try to achieve with employee feedback.

Trevor McClintock tips - Improving communication at work

5 Ways On How To Improve Communication In The Workplace

There are a thousand factors that go into making a business thrive, but one of the most important is also one of the most ignored: effective communication.

Ideally, everyone on a team should feel that they are both heard and understood.

If you can achieve that, you should see a much more positive work culture emerge, as well as all the benefits that brings.

Here are a few methods you can use to try to achieve better communication in your workplace.

1) Your time is important (and expensive)

Nonetheless, you need to spend some of it listening!

It is a leader’s prerogative to monopolise the conversation, whether in a group meeting or a one-on-one.

Nonetheless, even dedicated staff members will lose focus if you do.

Be sure to convey your points succinctly – cut the fluff and filler – and pause for questions after your main points.

Everyone present needs to feel like they are actively a part of a conversation, not attending a lecture.

2) When you do listen, focus only on the person who is speaking

This means no multitasking!

When someone is speaking, whether to you individually or addressing a room full of people, focus closely on what they are saying.

Reading your notes or fiddling with your phone shows that you don’t value what is being said.

In addition to lowering morale for the speaker, it can cause others to tune out as well.

This is one of those times when you have to lead by example.

3) Remember your communication includes more than just your words

Your tone of voice and body language communicate volumes, and even if your verbal message is clouded, they come through clear as a bell.

Practice appearing calm and open when speaking, even when there is an emotional content.

On a practical level, avoid crossing your arms.

Smile as appropriate.

Nod to show that you are following their points.

Maintain eye contact.

What may seem like irrelevancies can have a huge impact on how you are perceived.

4) Have an official note-taker at meetings

No one can remember everything that was said at even a short meeting with any accuracy.

Taking your own notes causes you to lose focus on what is actually being said.

Having an official note or minute-taker who sent copies around after meetings was once standard practice, and one that should be resumed.

If a meeting is not important enough to take notes, is it really necessary to have at all?

5) Don’t just inform; seek to inspire

Communicating your ideas is only half of your job as a leader.

You must also inspire your team.

Make them understand the importance of what you are asking them to do, and how their individual successes can affect the whole.

Close up portrait of working process at business meeting

How To Run An Efficient & Effective Meeting

Why is it sometimes meetings can feel counterproductive to what they are trying to achieve?

Meeting are supposed to be a collaborative time where everyone involved can bring ideas to the table to achieve a shared goal.

So why do people often leave meeting feeling that they have wasted their time?

The issues vary and they can occur quite naturally without any blame attributed to anyone, but there are ways to avoid your meetings becoming unproductive.

With his 20 plus years in business and as an entrepreneur, Trevor McClintock has chaired his fair share of meetings, in this blog he talks us through his top techniques for getting the most out of your meetings.

Obtain a written agenda (and stick to it!)

One of the most vital things to run an efficient and effective meeting is having a written agenda available to everyone in advance, this allows people to properly prepare for the meeting.

The next step for the agenda is being able to stick to it.

As easy as this sounds it’s one of the most difficult things to achieve.

Although a written agenda is key to allowing participants to prepare for the meeting, it also allows them to think about points that they want to raise.

This is a good and a bad thing – it allows people to voice their opinions, but it also can sprout tangents that can take up valuable meeting time.

A proven method for sticking to the agenda is having a timeline and a moderator or host.

If you have a set amount of time and a moderator to enforce the timings, you will avoid going off topic.

Review your attendee list

Although you may think that the more people in a meeting the more contributors you have and the faster you can reach a goal, it’s often not the case.

To run a lean, efficient meeting some serious thought needs to be given to exactly who needs to be there.

If you invite people who aren’t directly affected by the desired outcome of the meeting you’re only achieving two things:

  • You’re taking people away from tasks for a meeting that isn’t directly relevant to them.
  • You’re inviting people to a meeting that doesn’t involve them, meaning they are less engaged.

Try to keep your attendees to those that are absolutely necessary.

Employ the parking method

Despite your best efforts, sometimes meetings can take an unexpected turn and get on to subjects that aren’t on the agenda.

When this happens, there are things you can do to rectify the situation and get things back on track.

The parking method is a way of categorising valid points that are raised but are off topic.

When someone mentions something that is valid but off topic the meeting leader should announce that it is parked until another meeting agenda.

This method is best utilised with a meeting follow up, reassuring attendees that their valid, but off topic points have been noted and will be addressed separately.

The shorter the better

When holding a meeting, the shorter they are the better – stand up meetings for instance, where you don’t allow people to get comfy forces participation and engagement.

Obviously, all meetings cannot be held standing up, some meetings are just too long. If this is the case, try to keep up a steady rhythm and avoid dwelling on a point for too long.

Over to you

Whether you’d like help and tips chairing your meetings or find out how Trevor McClintock can help you achieve your business goals feel free to drop him a line on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or email.

business-growth

Five Innovative Ways To Build A High-Growth Business Culture

One of the vital things about running a successful business is growth, without it you stagnate or contract.

Obviously, this is the opposite of what you want your business to achieve, but it can also have a negative impact on the company culture as well as bottom line figures.

One of the best ways to increase productivity and get your company excited from the ground up is to build a high growth business culture.

By doing so, you can empower your workforce to be energized and take ownership of the high growth business strategy that you’re trying to instill.

In this blog post, Trevor McClintock talks through five innovative techniques to nurture a high growth business culture within your business.

1) Clear, concise messaging

Any good company culture starts from the top; you have to lead by example.

To do this a good starting point is to sit down with your board and senior management team and decide the founding ideals behind your company.

Once you have a good idea about your principles, create a list of mantras and filter them to every asset the company has.

2) Transparency

To develop a high growth business culture within your company you cannot afford to sacrifice transparency for hierarchy.

Hierarchy is a necessity within a business, but that doesn’t mean that your entry level employee should be reticent about approaching the CEO, or should be unclear about any of the company values.

It stifles creativity, productivity and creates a barrier between you and your employees.

3) Create a safe environment to take risks

There is no growth without risk.

As a manger or company owner, it needs to be your job to create an environment where your employees feel safe enough to take a certain amount of risk.

You should not be concerned about minimizing risk taking, you should be focused on making sure everyone understands the importance of taking risks.

Once you have communicated this, it’s your job to define what is an acceptable level of risks for your employees to take.

To do this, you need to have first encouraged a transparent sense of hierarchy, ensuring any employee can approach you with a risky idea.

4) Create a culture of continuous learning

Much of personal and professional growth can be attributed to continually learning, without it we wouldn’t have many of the businesses that we have today.

There are various ways to incorporate this into company culture, start small with incentives and work your way to a fully fledges personal development program with promotions and rewards as part of the scheme.

By building a thirst for knowledge and advancement as an intrinsic company value is vital to the development of your team and your company.

Many people ask, “What if we train our employees and they leave?”

The better question is, “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”

5. Consider Physical Space

Contrary to the vast majority of current office design, there is ongoing research that suggests that open plan offices are detrimental to productivity and work output.

When looking at your office, you should consider creating safe spaces that can house single people that would like to work alone.

According to the TED Talk by Susan Clark, up to half of the population are categorised as introverts, and therefore require this space to ensure that you’re getting the most out of them.

This may seem contradictory to some of the above points, but it should not impact on the transparency and continual learning, it’s more about creating an environment so that all types of employees can thrive.

Over to you

I’d love to hear your methods about creating a high growth culture within your business, so please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me on Twitter, Facebook or by email.

Trevor McClintock Business Advice Blog

Understanding Human Capital

Many business leaders underestimate the value of human capital.

Trevor McClintock, change agent and entrepreneur, explains.

Human capital is the collective skills, knowledge and other assets of people that can be used to create economic value for the company or community.

Human capital management is the view that people are your biggest asset.

The whole is no greater than the sum of the parts.

So people should be the priority in your workplace as they make your business what it is today.

Invest in your people for greater returns throughout the business in terms of productivity and business growth.

Choosing the right people

It’s difficult to get your workforce exactly right.

Choose people who are aligned with your company values and you shouldn’t go far wrong.

At interview stage test people in different ways to ensure they tick all the boxes for your company’s needs.

It is also important to ensure your team work well together and get along.

Hold regular team building exercises to strengthen bonds within the team and maximise cohesion.

If problems do occur it’s vital to face them head on to nip in the bud any negative behaviour early on.

Make sure your door is always open to your team, this builds a comradely atmosphere and helps to boosts morale.

Tips to make the most of your human capital

  • Ensure you strategically plan everyone’s time using core values, objectives and strategies.
  • Ensure all departments input in to your company’s strategy and have regular catch up meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page. The leaders of each department should act as the eyes and ears of the company director to identify how individual employees are progressing in line with personal goals and company targets.
  • Empower your employees and improve accountability throughout the workforce by fostering an environment of trust throughout all levels of the company.
  • Be visible. Leading from the front is vital in inspiring the people you work with and creating a happy workplace where people thrive.

Education, education, education

To invest in your human capital, it is essential to equip your team with the ability to educate themselves further in their respective fields.

Continued Professional Development or day release university level courses can be a good way to further their personal development thus benefiting both themselves and the company.

It may seem like a big financial investment for a company to make but it pays dividends in broadening the perspectives of your workforce and the sharing of new ideas.

Education will ensure your employees are well-equipped to deal with new challenges and it will also ensure they stay ahead of the curve.

Educating your workforce is also a way to motivate your staff.

Staff need regular check ins with their management to stay motivated and dedicated to the growth of the company.

By offering a clear progression plan for staff to move up to the next role, you will improve staff retention rates and foster a more focused atmosphere.

Have a realistic vision

Not only must your vision be realistic it’s paramount that your employees understand, buy in to, and work towards the company’s aims.

The first step is to write down your vision or mission statement. Being clear from the get-go about what you want to achieve and how you will harness the human capital of your organisation will ensure you’re all working towards the same end.

It may even help you get there quicker!

Employing realistic tactics is key to achieving your vision, understanding that sometimes you will have to take baby steps.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and nurturing your team to unlock their talents and enthusiasm will serve you well in the long run.

Finally, set achievable goals and review your progress.

Being honest about advancement towards your vision and being able to modify goals and approaches to achieving them will boost morale amongst your team and cultivate a can-do attitude.

And you?

Do you have any questions on anything I’ve addressed above?

If so, be sure to fire me a tweetget in touch or comment below to share your thoughts with me.

Trevor McClintock - Empowering Leadership Tips

Innovative Ways To Empower Your Employees

Empowering employees takes a skilled and astute leader.

Trevor McClintock, change agent and entrepreneur, shares his secrets on how to inspire and empower your team.

The ability to empower your employees can mean the difference between the success and the failure of a business.

The business is no greater than the sum of its parts, and empowered employees create a strong foundation for the future of the company.

Empowered employees are enthusiastic, keen to contribute and dedicated to the needs of the business.

They are strong ambassadors for the brand and often spread good words about the company.

Remember to delegate

First and foremost, it is important to know when to give up power in favour of employee autonomy.

Getting this right is a fine balance which many leaders fail at.

Employees like to be given responsibilities for their area of expertise.

If too much is held back by management they may feel undervalued and demotivated.

Managers often make the mistake of allocating themselves more important tasks, creating excessive workload for themselves and not delegating enough to other capable members of the team.

Utilise your workforce to maximum potential and don’t be afraid to delegate.

Lead by example

Be a role model – your colleagues need someone they know they can look to for help and advice. #

Advocate an open door policy and encourage colleagues to ask questions and get involved in all aspects of business life.

Having a strong leader with clarity of vision and a desire to get everyone involved will ensure your strategy is followed through all areas of the business.

Communicate

Tell your colleagues when they are doing a great job, be transparent about what you think their strengths and weaknesses are.

Allow them to have a say in what they would like to get more involved in and take on board their feedback.

Check in regularly to monitor progress while still allowing them to retain that autonomy for their tasks.

Sit down with the team to have catch ups and air any concerns they have regularly.

Opening the communication channels really helps people to feel part of the bigger picture.

Get the semantics right

Refer to your team as colleagues rather than ‘employees’.

It’s all about investing confidence into people and treating everyone from the most junior to the most senior with equal respect.

Choosing your words carefully can help you to instill confidence in your colleagues.

Incentives

A team needs incentives to perform at its best.

This is a great way to ensure employees feel valued and that they are spending their time well.

Incentives are a vote of confidence for the team.

To provide incentives, it’s important to be clear about what they will receive and set a time scale for achieving the goals and getting the reward.

Setting clear goals empowers all members of the team to collectively work towards the same aim and make their own suggestions on how to approach matters.

Have the time to talk

Visible leaders are the best for guiding a team of dedicated employees.

Inspiration comes from above so as the managing director it rests on your shoulders to ensure all employees feel valued, trusted and committed.

Making time for everyone to sit down with their boss will create positive energy throughout the team.

Be respectful

Trust your team and they will repay your trust with trust.

A mutual respect is essential to instill confidence within the team and empower all team members.

If the manager demonstrates a lack of trust colleagues will feel under appreciated.

Give your team the respect they deserve!

Repay your colleagues with authority and they will repay you with enthusiasm and hard work.

Share your thoughts with me below or tweet me.

 

 

Death To PowerPoint – How To Keep Your Meetings Engaging

After a great meeting, how do you feel?

Inspired, motivated, passionate?

These are feelings you should be wanting to evoke in your workforce in order to keep a happy, productive team around you.

In this post, successful entrepreneur and change agent Trevor McClintock shares his top tips to ensure everyone leaves a meeting feeling it was engaging and worthwhile.

Meetings should be a regular, worthwhile point of contact for members of a team or group – an opportunity for people to air their views, share information and keep up-to-date with the bigger picture.

Gone are the days when someone would drone through a series of slides while colleagues fell asleep at the back.

This is about inspiring leadership, defining clear aims and getting things done.

If it’s an external meeting, you may want to close a deal, motivate investors to get behind your concept or empower your providers.

Internally, the meeting is an integral part of company life, in order to improve cohesion between different areas of the business, improve workflows and communication and ensure everyone is invested in the company vision.

For starters it is essential to get everything prepared beforehand so there is no delay to the start of the meeting.

Busy schedules mean that it may be difficult to get a time where everyone can get together in one place so it’s imperative to be able to get straight on with the business at hand once everyone has arrived.

We’ve all been to one of those meetings where technology has failed, there wasn’t enough agendas, the leader seems flustered and ill prepared.

Be ready!

The second mistake that people often make is to hold unnecessary meetings.

Think, could the point of this meeting be conveyed in a succinct email?

Is everyone ready for the meeting to take place?

Use time effectively

Don’t waste time – make sure everyone understands the reason behind the meeting and send round an agenda before it begins listing all the topics that need to be covered.

Use the time effectively while everyone is in the room to map out clear plans for further actions.

This ensures people know they have clear objectives in line with the team masterplan and prevents people from switching off while they listen to someone talk about something which has no relevance to their project.

Who needs to be there?

What can they bring to the table?

If there is no reason for someone to be present, then don’t invite them.

Make sure everyone is there for a reason to ensure maximum participation.

Ideas sharing

What’s the best meeting you have ever been to?

It’s likely that everyone was interested in the subject matter, it dealt with each point effectively and everyone had something to contribute.

Sharing of ideas works best in an environment where everyone has a say.

The meeting should be a platform for all to collaborate, it should be energetic, it should be stimulating.

Don’t let the meeting be dominated by one person or whoever shouts the loudest.

As the leader of the meeting, encourage all team members to share their thoughts.

If dealing with one item takes too long, don’t be afraid to cut in and move the meeting forward to the next.

As leader of the meeting you should be ensuring the meeting flows smoothly and efficiently deals with each item.

Praise where its due

Motivating a team is one of the challenges of leadership.

Don’t be afraid to praise a team member in front of their peers to boost the morale.

This encourages an element of competition and helps colleagues feel valued.

And finally, have a time limit to the meeting.

Get to the point and don’t go off on too many irrelevant tangents.

Follow these tips and you will be holding better, more energised, engaging and productive meetings.

Do you have any advice of your own?

Please share your own thoughts below on contact me on Twitter or Facebook.