When I was at KPMG and again at Shell, I managed a team of over 20 people and it was sometimes difficult to get everyone to feel that they belonged to a team and, in some instances, the company, if they were on long-term projects at a client location. I always made a point of connecting with everyone on a weekly basis but quickly realised that more was needed to develop a cohesive team that supported each other and worked towards a common goal. Why? A sense of belonging causes people to work harder and closer, producing better ideas through sharing and collaboration. One of my ideas was to create a simple routine called “The Monday Morning Meeting”. Whether people attended in person or via the phone, everyone attended unless sick, on a plane, or on leave. In a structured way we spent 30 minutes in which everyone contributed on:-
1. What they did last week (including what the current status)
2. What they did over the weekend
3. What they were going to do this week
It not only built understanding and better relationships on a personal front but also identified opportunities to share, support and develop delivery. People used to grumble and yet, after I left, most of them came back to me to say how they missed the Monday meetings. I now encourage my clients to instigate something similar. Taking 30 minutes out of the week to create alignment, focus activity and build a participative team culture is a good investment.
And for the video
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My brother-in-law Phil is a keen mountain bike cyclist. Last time I visited my sister, he popped his head around the door to say “just going for a bike ride – be about 2 hours”. Now, I am managing 30 mins at a time so an early evening bike ride of 2 hours? I don’t think so. He was very kind in lending me some of his “basic” magazines. One was called “Cycling skills” and the other “Basic bike maintenance”. I got home, settled down on the sofa with a cup of tea and opened the magazines. Cycling skills consisted of how to corner on a steep downward forest path. If I were ever to be in any of the positions shown in the photographs, something would have gone seriously wrong – that is, I would be about to launch into space having been rudely divorced from my bike. I opened the Bike Maintenance looking for some guidance on “How to mend a puncture”. Well, there was “How to change the spokes in your wheel”, “How to insert a chain link”, and finally “How to mend a split wall”. Phil was somewhat surprised at the speed with which his magazines were returned. I will revert to my basic skills of “James, can you come and get me – somethings gone wrong with my bike”.