Monday, July 18, 2011

Staff Meeting 24/7...It's the ONLY WAY


Have you ever been in a staff meeting and wondered how much time was actually quantifiable as productive time in the meeting?  How many of the people sitting in the staff meeting were just sitting there listening to people give updates that did not impact their day-to-day work assignments?    How much productivity and labor dollars are wasted in associations spending 2 to 4 hours going over projects, meetings, and committee work, to make sure everyone is, “in the know?”   ...And how do we keep everyone “in the know”, on the developments of the projects, meetings, and committees as a staff, to ensure we don’t miss any details?

No matter what size the association, keeping the information flow throughout your office efficient, so that the right pieces of information get into the right minds, at the right time, and it be documented in a central area, is always a challenge.

WELL NO MORE!

Recently, I was asking these questions as I sipped a cup of coffee, listening to the waves crash onto the shore.  This is usually where most of my innovation happens by the way J.  As I pondered the question, I then started asking myself, do we have the means already in-house, technology wise, to engage an inter-office structure that could equate to a 24/7 staff meeting, where when we sat down, everyone “already” knew the updates, thereby making staff meetings shorter and more targeted at more effective brainstorming, due to everyone already being “in the know”?

As I started panning through the various technology we have put in place the last 24-months, it struck me:   Our social technology system has subgroups, within main groups, that can be made private.   That instantly led me into creating a private group called, “Staff Meeting 24/7”, that is not accessible to our members.  Only staff personnel can view it.  I then created a subgroup for every project, meeting, committee, and benchmarking survey we currently have open, making the appropriate staff a member of the subgroup.  I then created one discussion forum called, “Status Updates”, for everyone in the group to post any type of change or update on that particular meeting, project, survey, or committee.

This was revolutionary in my mind, because my staff would always tell me, there is so much information in my brain as CEO that needs to be released to them on the projects we are working on, and it doesn’t get released because of my busy schedule.  Now all I have to do is post my latest set of information/questions in each subgroup, and the appropriate staff receives it.  ...And when they reply, the staff and I get that...no more claiming, “I didn’t know I was suppose to do that.”  ...No more waiting until next staff meeting, 3 weeks from now, to know another persons activity’s are going to have an impact on your department.  Now, inter-office communications, and all association activities related to staff are centralized, fully listed with up to date information, and instantaneous.

This has streamlined our operations tremendously, and put focus with our staff, because if something is not listed in our subgroups as a meeting, committee, survey, study, or project, we aren’t working on it as a staff.  It has made our staff meetings more focused and shorter, because our agenda is the list of subgroups in the Staff 24/7 group on our social media site, and everyone is already informed through the status updates posted.  Now important information is not in someone’s head, it’s posted centrally, so we can all focus on the most important aspect that drives member value…driving creative ideas that solve member problems.  Now that’s innovation...and it was right at our fingertips.  We just had to ask the right questions, and start exploring our technology.

For those of you wondering who the Metal Treating Institute uses for social technology, we use the MemberFuse platform by Avectra.  I would highly recommend no matter what vendor you use, seek to use it to its fullest.  Live in discovery zone as you ponder how to help your staff be more efficient.  The technology you need may be right under your fingers.



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