Last week I dragged the team along to meet with Alan (business coach extrodinare) for a team strategy meeting. The others are used to my weird ideas and I believe they were a tad hesitant to believe that spending an afternoon away from Photoshop would be, in any way helpful.
I think Alan converted them.
Outside of all remarks as to how wonderful and nice he was in response to our (well probably ‘my’) stupid questions, the process of sitting down around a big table and figuring out what we are all about was hugely eye opening and really beneficial.
Out of the 2 hour meetup, we came away with some stuff that we have blatantly been just plain stupid about, some stuff that we realised about each other, and some easy, quick ways to restructure the whole business to sort them out:
- Have daily team meetings. Yup we are a small business, we thought we were too small to need them. But there is a difference between yelling at each other across the room (or skyping each other) and moving away from our keyboards, facing each other and plotting our day’s plan for world domination. The latter is much more effective for resolving issues, staying on track and knowing where each other is at.
- Setting daily goals. Why think big, when you can think small? I think we’ve probably knocked out 25% more work today than any other day in the past few months. Knowing what’s on your plate and setting aside time to fully explain it to each other prior to kickoff is saving us huge amounts of valuable time.
- Time tracking. It’s not the time tracking that really matters (although it’s a helpful tool to aid in understanding pricing levels and profitability). It’s the way you automatically re-structure your day into more productive blocks when you manage you time. Gone is my 5 second attention plan. Now I focus on one thing for at least 15 minutes and set aside TIME TO DO SMALL TASKS in a block. Which means NO MORE DISTRACTIONS.
- Work with people you like. I rave about my co-workers daily. I enjoy going to the office because I KNOW I get to catch up with some interesting people and work on cool projects with talented designers. I also like how we share the same philosophies on sleep, money and ethics. It means we are on the same page and we have a clear idea of who will and will not be working with us in the future. We may even get together a list of interview questions for the next hire!
Every time I go to meet with Alan, I convince myself I have 900 more important things on my plate at that exact second. Every time I leave, I’m convinced that there was nothing more important.