A 10 Minute Meeting Worth Millions?

call center

It they’d been sipping brews or smoking cigarettes I probably wouldn’t have noticed.

Instead what caught my eye and ear was the crew at the open deli kitchen of Bi-Rite Market talking about what they needed to be aware of and do to make the day go smoothly.

I reminded me that sometimes the simplest way to get results is the hardest.

Why? Like my diet, it takes a little discipline (what, no glass of wine with dinner tonite?) and consistency.

Much of the world works in teams or crews – think call centers, trading floors,  retail store staff, and UPS package delivery folks – where minutes and seconds are treated like gold (e.g. not to be “wasted”) and the premium is put on productivity and accuracy.

The organizations that do well religiously start the day with a simple 10 to 15 minute team meeting to get the day started on the right foot. While the topics vary, the structure is same:

  1. What do we need to be mindful of today.
  2. What’s coming down the pike in the next week or next month.
  3. Who’s here and who is absent.
  4. Anything thing else (such as new hires, vacation, people leaving) that needs to be on the radar.

Guess what the vaunted Apple retail operation that’s the envy of every retailer does at the start of every shift? Starts with a team meeting. FedEx? Same thing.

Even in the era where big data is demonstrating that some common sense approaches – call center shifts having shared breaks to enhance community and communication and btw, increasing productivity and lowering turnover – are the simplest things and the most obvious.

It simply takes a little religion about discipline to make it regularly happen.

Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well). More about executive, career and team / leadership coaching services can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab. You can also read an online interview with me at WhoHub.


Call center. Photo credit: vlima.com