10 Minutes a Day For Better Staff Productivity

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on October 11, 2010 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Time Management Strategies, Tips in 10

I’m all about “getting more done”. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to you and I spend a lot of time thinking about it. For some of my readers, the lessons in these Tips In Ten issues are applicable to their one-person operations. But what about the businesses that are multi-staff situations?

You’re in charge of your

But there ARE ways you can improve staff productivity in just ten minutes a day and in this issue we’re going to talk about one of those ways. (In future articles I’ll show you some other ways that you can improve staff productivity, too.)

One of the best ways to get the most out of your staff is with a ten minute staff meeting every day.

Now, if I can read the minds of most of my readers who are in multi-staff situations, I’m sure that you’re thinking “oh no, not MORE meetings!!!”. Well, stick with me and I promise that this will be good.

Your daily ten minute staff meeting should have 3 functions: First, it should refocus everyone on the most important things. Second, it should get everyone working on the same page. Third, it should motivate everyone to do a great job. That’s all you need to do. And if you use that as your agenda for 10 minutes every day, you and your staff will get more done… AND you will have fewer meetings.

Your meeting’s agenda should be as follows:

1. Focus: Two to three minutes of you talking about the important issues of the day. For example, “Remember that we have a sale on blue widgets today and don’t forget to incorporate the sales techniques you learned from Friday’s sales training”.

2. Overview: Three to five minutes where everyone gives a 1-2 sentence description of what they are doing that day. A sales person might say: “We’re going after XYZ Inc. today and hoping to win them over as a client by the end of the week” and the accounting department might say “we’re finishing up last month’s expense reimbursements so everyone should make sure their expense reports are handed in by noon today.”

3. Motivate: One to two minutes where you “pump up” your troops. This is where you add a little motivation to their day. You might say something like: “We’re so close to breaking a revenue record this month; let’s push to achieve it!” or “I’m really proud of the work you’ve done” or you might introduce a contest or read something short from a motivational book.

That’s it. Ten minutes. And here’s why it’s so powerful:

During the Focus section: When you focus everyone on the most important things and on the big picture, you’ll help them to avoid doing work that doesn’t matter and you’ll keep at the top of their minds the things you want to achieve in your business. If you remind them that blue widgets are on sale, they will sell more blue widgets. If you remind them to incorporate the stuff they learned from Friday’s sales training, they will be more likely to do so.

During the Overview section: When everyone talks about what they are doing, you’ll help the team feel like a team, and that’s good for morale. You’ll reduce the number of emails floating around… and you’ll reduce the number of important emails floating around that aren’t read anyway! And, when people know what everyone is doing, they’ll tend not to work at cross purposes and they will often require fewer meetings. And, when they do have other meetings, they will often be more productive because everyone is up-to-speed on what everyone else is doing.

During the Motivation section: You’ll improve morale yet again by getting people excited about working. You don’t have to say anything profound; you don’t have to be the next Tony Robbins. However, if you have a passion for what you do and you talk about it with others, you’ll infect them with it.
And the great thing is it only takes 10 minutes a day.

A few tips to make the time even more productive:

  • Make it mandatory that everyone is there. If you have salespeople on your staff, they might want to get out and start the day (and you DO want them selling) but everyone in your business will benefit by their presence. And don’t forget that you can use telephone or video conferencing to dial in offsite staff.
  • The morning is a good time to do it because that kicks off the day really well. But we live in the twenty first century and you might have people on staff who are in different time zones. If possible, hold your meeting first thing in the morning but if that’s not possible, hold your meeting in the middle of the morning or right after lunch. Don’t do it at the end of the day.
  • Plan what you are going to say the night before. Or, if possible, plan the entire week’s worth of Focus-section and Motivation-section thoughts on Friday afternoon.
  • If you have “talkers” on staff who tend to give more than one or two sentences during the Overview section, just cut them off with a good natured “okay, time’s up!” and move on to the next person. They’ll learn quickly to keep it short. If it’s a common problem in the office, then rephrase your Overview section by saying: “Give me one goal you’d like to accomplish by the end of the day today.”
  • Pay attention during the Overview time. This is a time for you to listen and make sure everyone is on track. Also, listen for duplicated effort, gaps in workflow, and mistaken priorities. Obviously, no one is going to account for their entire workday in a one or two sentence blurb, but they will probably talk about a bigger, important project. If their highlight is: “I’m sorting my paperclips by size” then you need to investigate what else they do in the day.
  • At the end of the day, pick two or three people and give them a quick call or IM  and ask them about their work. Did they accomplish the work they wanted? Can you help them in some way? At first they’ll wonder why you’re asking them but over time they’ll realize that you’re just following up. They’ll appreciate the support and you’ll be totally in the loop. (They’ll also work a bit harder to get the work done on the off chance that you are going to call them and ask). Make sure you do this everyday and rotate who you call so that you call everybody at least once before you start your list again.
  • Find a selection of motivational books or thoughts and keep them handy when you’re preparing. You might have something more appropriate for your situation but I like work by Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Napolean Hill, and even sales-specific work like Jeffrey Gitomer and Tom Hopkins.

Bonus tip:

If you don’t have time to do a daily staff meeting, think of having your manager host the staff meeting, or pick a less frequent schedule, such as weekly.

Heather Recommends:

Running a business can be busy, challenging work. I can help you become more productive and successful. Find out how.