Chris LoCurto: Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life, and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.
G’day mate! We’ve just returned back from our first international Stratplan that we did down in Australia with some great mates of ours and it was fantastic. It was a great event. Shout out to everybody at Cavanaugh Medical. I do want to also shout out to a mate of mine in Sydney, Murray. Got to spend some time with Murray Smith. Been a long time since we got to see each other so it was great just hanging out and to everybody else that we got to spend some time with, it was great being with you guys and we look forward to hopefully someday getting back down there and doing this again. Today we’re talking about why your meeting suck, which at that Stratplan just like so many other Stratplans we actually talk about that.
Have you ever left a meeting and thought to yourself, why in the world did we just have that meeting?
That was an absolute waste of time. Have you ever been to a meeting where the topic changed every five minutes and there were so many rabbit holes that you left more confused than you when you went in? Have you ever been in a meeting where one person dominates the conversation and people don’t speak up at all? Have you ever led a meeting and later found out that no one took action on items discussed? We have an ebook called Why Your Meetings Suck, that’s an easy read packed with information on how to have productive meetings and to get results. So it’s seven chapters on what to avoid when it comes to meetings and how to make your meetings come alive. It’s a great resource and it’s a digital download, so it’s easy. I’ll tell you guys how to get ahold of that at the end of the episode and the crazy thing is it’s free.
So today we’re going to talk about just the last two chapters. There’s a whole bunch of great stuff in there that you need to know. So if you’re go through this podcast and going, well, you didn’t give me everything Chris. That’s right. Get the ebook. It’s super simple. Today we’re just going to talk about the last two chapters, how to stop having sucky meetings.
How Sucky Meetings Cost Us…
And the first thing we focus on is how bad meetings cost us. I think so many folks don’t realize now you know, we all have meetings and some people actually refuse to have meetings because they’ve had such crappy meetings that they don’t meet. They don’t get together, they don’t discuss and they don’t realize how much that’s affecting them. The other side is we don’t realize how much bad meetings cost us. So before we get to the two chapters, it’s important to talk about why great meetings matter.
Sucky meetings are a morale buster for everybody involved. When morale is low, your team is only half as productive. If you go into meetings, you’re pulling all of this payroll, so I want you to think about this. Look around the room and calculate payroll of who’s in the room. Think of how much money you’re spending for that 30 minutes that hour, that two hours, whatever it is that you’re doing, think about how much money you’re spending at that time.
If it is not productive, what in the world was the point? Not only that, but the meeting sucks and the people that are in their feel like it wasn’t productive. Then they lose morale. They feel like we’re being called into meetings and nothing’s coming out of it and it’s not productive for me and it doesn’t impact me, and so when they go back to their desk, they’re actually less motivated.
They’re actually less productive. You continue to tank morale then I can promise you this. Your team will get to half productivity. It happens all the time. Now that is not to say that somebody in your meeting is not a slacker and they’re not seeing it the way that it should be, which means that you may need to lead that better, but every now and then you’ll have somebody who just has their head set against meetings and so you can have a phenomenal meeting, but their expectation is already set and so they walk in the room and you know they already screwed themselves. That is not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about people who go in with a decent expectation of having a great meeting or even a good meeting and walk out feeling like it was just really not productive at all, so that is a big piece.
A big cost is the morale on your team, the morale of the people that are sitting in that room, the productivity afterwards. So if I leave a meeting that I feel like I just wasted a ton of time and I go back and I choose not to be as productive because my morale is down, so the cost is beyond just the salary inside the room, the meeting, the cost is now transferred to what I’m doing for the rest of my day or however long.
For those of you focused on the bottom line, calculate the time your team spends each week on meetings and then the payroll you spend. So you’ve taken a look inside one meeting of how much payroll you’re spending. Now take a look at how much time your whole team spends throughout the week. Now here, Mondays are big for us. For me, those are the times that I lead the team, I lead the leadership, I’m able to help them to get problems solved, get direction, get culture out there.
A lot of times Heather will be teaching on culture. A lot of times Joel will be teaching on core values. You know, this is the stuff that we do. We spend time in these meetings to lead the team. The rest of the week they go back and do their work. Now, it doesn’t mean that the the leaders below me don’t have meeting times with their team, but Monday is my time to meet. First thing, Monday morning meeting with the whole team.
Then we break it down to our marketing team and just depends on where we go from there, whether it’s the live events, whether it’s the strat plan, and then for my leadership team, we do lunch on Mondays for a couple of hours where we go out and we spend time of me leading my leadership team. So if you think about the payroll, the first hour is the whole company.
All of the payroll is locked up in that first hour. If that is not a productive meeting, that was a waste of a lot of money. So even if it’s just three of you, I mean think of how much payroll that is your revenue compared to the amount of people that are in there. It’s still probably a good amount, right? A lot of businesses, payroll is anywhere from 25 to 40 percent. I like to keep it in that range. That is not a scientific thing, but a lot of people, their payroll is 25 to 40 percent, maybe more. All of that is being spent during that time or at least for that hour, right? Where they could be focused on producing other stuff. So if you’re not leading a productive meeting, and again, like I said, calculated on all the meetings that happen in a weeks time and you will start to see how much money you’re spending.
So financially it has a big cost. Obviously morale wise it has a big cost. So you have to ask yourself, why do I, I’m pointing at my own self while I’m doing this… Why do I put up with sucky meetings? Why do you put up with sucky meetings? If you’re not having great quality, productive meetings, why are you putting up with them? Why are you allowing them? Why aren’t you doing something about it? Well, Chris, if I knew the answer, I’d probably do something… Great, you’re listening to the right podcast. So we all know that our work lives will never be meaning free, but we can eliminate the bad ones while making the ones that we do have more effective. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. So today’s episode is brought to you by Next Level Life. So much of what we do in business is linked directly to our personal lives.
We don’t check our personal lives at the door. Our Root System comes with us everywhere. Next-Level Life is our two day personal discovery experience. It’s a one on one personalized event where we guide you through a process to help you discover your root system, to get unstuck in life, and discover what’s holding you back from freedom and peace. What if you could wake up every morning with a clear purpose? What would it look like to have healthier relationships with less conflict? Where would you be in five years if you had clarity, purpose, and peace? Probably a big difference from where you stand today.
I know it’s possible because I’ve been where you are asking myself, is there more? Well, there is a better way and it starts with next level life. You can go to chrislocurto.com/discover to take the next step. If you’re struggling with discontentment, regret or not feeling good enough, which most people feel that way, right? If you’re filled with anxiety or your relationships are lacking, don’t keep going through the motions everyday. Learn how to move past the things robbing you of peace. Go to chrislocurto.com/discover and take the next step.
Now, action steps on your meetings. First action step.
One of the biggest failures of meetings
One of the biggest failures of the meeting is leaving without knowing what they’re supposed to do. Guys, I cannot explain how many times this happens in a regular business. There are so many meetings. I think a lot of folks who are leading the meeting are just glad to get done with the meeting or they get good information out and they don’t want to hold people accountable or they don’t want to give responsibility. But what happens is, so many times people leave and they don’t know their responsibility. Like three months later the leader asks, Hey, where are you on that project?
And the person says, “Uh, that wasn’t my responsibility. Uh, wasn’t so and so taking care of that.” And the leader says, no, that was your job. “Well, I didn’t understand that. So I haven’t done any work on it.” I know so many of you listening to this right now have experienced that same exact situation. Or the answer is, “I didn’t realize I was supposed to do something with that.”
So many times we leave a meeting and we don’t know what in the world we’re supposed to do. Or we have this expectation somebody else is going to do it. Or we have, and these are just some examples, we have somebody who doesn’t want to take the responsibility and since it wasn’t given to them, they don’t. They wait for somebody to come along and go, “Hey, where are you on that?” To go, “Well, nobody said anything” …and they don’t jump at it and say, you know what?
I’m supposed to do this. I’m supposed to take the responsibility. So that’s no Bueno guys.
How To Make Sure “Balls Aren’t Dropped” After Meetings
Every single person needs to know exactly what their part is from the meeting. They need to know what they’re leaving with, they need to know what responsibility to have. Everyone should receive a recap with the following information. What did we discuss? What do we need to cover during the next meeting? What needs action right now? Who is responsible for getting those things done? When do they need to be completed by? So those are basic things. Now, let me kind of back up a little bit. I don’t think everybody needs to receive a recap immediately. So for those of you that have a great team, let’s just assume we’re in a great environment. Those are things you need to hit during the meeting, right?
Let’s go ahead and give them the ability to treat them with dignity, to at least walk away with it this first time to see if you know, if we can assign responsibility to everybody. If everybody knows what they’re supposed to do, if everybody knows what action steps they have, what they are responsible for, then let’s give them the opportunity. However you need to have that recap. You need to have that listed down who’s responsible for what? All of that information, so that you can hold people accountable the next time around. Now, in a perfect world with a great team and responsible team members, if you go through all of those pieces, they will leave knowing exactly what their responsibility is, so it’s not difficult for you to hold them accountable, you know, a week down the road, a couple days, whatever that timeframe is that you need to do to go to them and say, where are we on this?
What have we done? How have you completed this work? You know, all that fun stuff. If they’re a great responsible person, they will have great information to give you, right? We’re looking at a really solid team that does a great job and so it’s not an issue. If that is how your team works, and I can tell you my team operates that way, I rarely have to do what I’m going to tell you next, which is to send them a recap. Now, let me give a caveat in there, we’re huge on Asana. We use a ton of Asana, so let me. I’ll get to both of those here in a second. In a great team, if you have dished out the responsibilities, you’ve given deadlines, you’ve discussed what we’ve discussed, you’ve talked about when things have to be completed by, you’ve gone through all of this information and you have solid team members, then they will go and do their job.
The Final “Action Step”
Treat them with dignity, allow them to go do so. Do not hold their hands. Do not treat them like they’re little kids. Allow them to go and do their work, but you have a recap so that you can hold them accountable in the process. Whoever’s leading the meeting needs to have this right. If they aren’t that solid. In other words, perhaps they dropped the ball on some stuff, perhaps they, “forget responsibilities.” Sometimes they just don’t take responsibility. Perhaps they forget deadlines. Then I highly suggest that you start sending a recap of the meeting to everybody involved with the responsibilities. Whew Chris, that sounds like a lot of extra work for me. Really does it really? How much extra work is it when you go out there and they didn’t do it and you’ve got to then you know, get the ox out of the ditch, right?
So it may be a little bit of work in the meeting and it doesn’t have to be you who’s doing this. You could have somebody in the meeting who’s actually doing the administrative side of this and then send an email recap to everybody involved. Guys, here’s what we discussed. Here’s what we’re going to need for the next meeting. Here’s the action steps that we need to do right now. Here’s who’s responsible for what, here’s the dates that they need to be done by you. Put that stuff in an email, it makes it really difficult for somebody to say, well, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Because you can just pull up the email. Right? You discussed it in the meeting. Then you sent a recap. Guys, this will solve a ton of the issues that you’re having with meetings and this is only the last two things that were discussed in Why Your Meetings Suck.
So if you don’t have a team that you can trust enough, if they’ve not shown that they can be competent enough to leave the meeting when you’ve given them clear guidelines on, you know, responsibilities and dates and all that stuff, then send the recap out. So that they have it so that you can hold them accountable that way. Now, let me jump to what I was saying about Asana. We use a tool called Asana. We are huge on this when anybody comes through Stratplan. So all of our Next Level Mastermind clients use it. We do all of the meetings and everything through that. All of the 90 day initiatives, all of the yearly goals, all the stuff that we do that we work on, through Asana, when somebody comes through Stratplan, our day four is a whole day of us taking the three days that we went through this amazing tough event discovering all this stuff and we literally list out all of the tasks that needed to be done.
It takes a whole day to do this, it’s amazing. It gives them the direction. So for us, if we’re in meetings, we use this tool. It’s something that for us while we’re sitting in a meeting, somebody is loading up in Asana who’s going to do what, you know, assigning tasks to the people, assigning dates, all that kind of fun stuff. So for us it goes beyond just pen and paper. That is what we use for accountability. So it’s not a, we’re not treating you with dignity. We go ahead and load it up in there anyways because it gives them the tasks, it gives them the structure, it gives them the deadlines. It’s loaded up in the system. We can comment on the system, so now it doesn’t matter if you have a solid team or an unsolid team, you’re giving them a greater tool to be able to be successful.
So depending upon your personality style, but also depending upon your role, try and have somebody who isn’t directly involved in the discussion taking notes. So you may have somebody administratively be a part of the discussion that’s taking the notes or at least assigning things or getting the big pieces down. Many times for me, everybody who’s involved in the meeting is involved in the meeting. So I’ll still probably have somebody inside who is more administrative than me because I am not that guy. My C on my DISC is pretty darn low. I’m not great at the detail side and so I don’t set myself up for failure. I have somebody else do that. So there’s many times high d’s And i’s listened to me on this…there’s many times I have to pause in a meeting to allow the person who is taking the notes, or at least loading things up into Asana to finish because their brain is focused on that, right?
My brain is not in that C mode and so I want to keep going, but if I do that, then I caused them to fail. So think about that as you’re having somebody taking notes or loading up into Asana, whatever it is or whatever program you use, I don’t care. Give them time to get the right information loaded up. We do that and that saves us a ton of time. We don’t have to go back over stuff because it’s been done correctly the first time. But I have to know to pause. So there’s many times in a meeting where I’m just running, running, running, and I’m watching somebody load stuff up that I go, “hey, let me know as soon as you’re done with that” because I need to give them the ability to finish that task.
Once they’re done with that, I can continue. If I don’t, then guess what they’re going to miss? The thing I’m talking about while they’re putting the task in right? So be smart about this. Now, the number one goal is that every person is crystal clear on what needs to be done and who’s going to do that. As a last step in each meeting. Go around the group and have them tell you what they understand to be their responsibilities. Then clear up any misunderstandings and if you know any tasks are leftover, assign them before you leave. Now you have the high d’s are going to feel like you just disrespected them, right? Well, I know what I’m supposed to do. Don’t worry about that. You know, let people know, “Hey, so I understand whether or not I communicated well…Everybody tell me what it is that you know you’re supposed to do. ”
Now again, treat your team with dignity. If you’ve got that solid team that’s already got it, they’ve already mentioned it. You don’t have to go around and do this, but for accountability purposes, you may have to. You know that d’s and i’s are going to not be great on details, so you want to make sure that they got the right details, the s’s and c’s, their processing is not as fast as the d’s and i’s so they may not have processed through everything yet, so you want to make sure that they have got the right information. They’re going to be much more heavily detailed, but you want to make sure that they’ve actually gotten to that place, by the time that you’re ending the meeting, if you have that solid team that you don’t have to worry about this on, then don’t do it.
If accountability is an issue at all, put this in place to make sure that people understand before they walk out the door exactly what their responsibilities are. You might have a C or S that hasn’t processed through every thing yet that has a question. Make sure you’re able to answer that. You may have an I or D who’s missing a couple of details. They may have an overall picture, but they may be missing some details, so make sure that before you leave the meeting that you go through and discover all that. Speaking of DISC, let’s talk about DISC for a second. The number one issue when it comes to business and family when it comes to friendships is having a lack of high quality communication. Now, the best way to have high levels of quality communication is to understand your personality style and to understand the personality style of the folks that you’re spending the most time with at work or at home.
The best way to do that is to get your personality profiles done for you, for your team today. Get it done today. You’ve been hearing me talk about this forever. Get it done, Chrislocurto/store. Get it for your family members today. As you go through that profile, you will begin to see the greatest ways to communicate. Get your profile. Go do it. Make it happen. Get it done. All right. Moving on to number two. The second thing that we’re talking about today on why your meetings suck is the one on one meeting. Now, as I go through this, some of you are going to struggle. I struggled with this myself when I put this in place. Now I started my leadership career when I was 21 years old. Now early on, my focus was on growing me and making me successful.
The thing that I did when I started my leadership career is at the moment, I got promoted into a leadership role, I started telling people what to do. It lasted for a couple of months before I realized, started to see the light in my team members’ eyes dim and I realized, well, this sucks. This doesn’t work. This is not the way to lead people. And it’s the way I had been led, you know, for seven years up until that point. And it’s the way I saw people lead and I realized that is not the way to lead people. And so I started changing that. I started focusing more on the team. You know, one of the things I say here is, as a leader, it’s your job to make your team successful, not the other way around. And so from 21 years old, roll that forward to when I implemented this meeting, I sat down and I was looking at my leadership and I was saying, okay, what am I not doing well as a leader?
The “One-on-One” Meeting
And so I decided to put this next meeting in place. I think you all should do this, but understand it may suck and it may be painful at least in the beginning. So I set up a one on one meeting with each team member on my team and brought them in. The first one was my sales team leader back in the day. This was 20 some years ago, 19 years ago, Theresa Duke. And I brought her in and I sat down. I said, “Theresa, this meeting is not about you. This is about me. So we’re not going to discuss anything about you. We’re not going to discuss anything that you need to change about anything. This has nothing to do with you and your work. I want to know about me, how am I doing as a leader? How am I failing, what am I doing wrong?”
And without skipping a beat, she looked at me and she said, your communication stinks. And I kind of was taken aback. And by the way, keep thinking about this for a second. I’m asking a team member, I’m being incredibly vulnerable in this moment. Asking a team member, what am I doing wrong with my leadership? She could say anything, right? So I was protecting myself in the moment waiting for this fiery dart to come at me and it was actually not that horrible. And I said, What do you mean? And she goes, “you know the thing over here, that we’re doing.” I said, yeah. And she goes, “we know nothing about it.” And I said, Theresa, I just assumed that you did. And she goes, Chris, that’s your problem. You always assume we know what’s inside of your head.
Wow. That was a big, big piece for my leadership and so I took that information and I went around and I had every single team member come in over time. I didn’t do this in one day. I spaced this out to find out what I was doing wrong in my leadership and that was the thing that came out was that I wasn’t sharing enough information and so I realized I was not setting up my team members for success. The thing that she brought up, I went back out and I said, okay, let me explain this…I gave all the information…Had my yellow pad with me. I said, okay guys, what questions do you have? Every question that they came up with, I wrote it down. What about this? What about this? What is, what are we doing here?
What’s going on over here? And I wrote down the questions. I answered all of it, but then I took those questions back and I used them for my next meeting. I walked through what I would normally explain. Then I answered all of that information and then said what questions wrote those down, and I did this for probably three, four meetings where I started to see how they think and what they need for information and that changed the way I communicated. I start giving a ton more information to set them up for success, so it turned out to be one of the best things in my leadership because what do I focus heavily on in this business? Helping you guys to communicate better. It’s something that I’ve become a big proponent for the disc profile. It wasn’t long after that meeting, probably a year after that meeting that I really went heavy on DISC to the point that I started teaching it, so communication became a huge part of what I do from one tiny meeting.
Now there’s other elements in there. You know, there’s other things that came along the way, but that was a big part of that process. I would not have known that had I not put that meeting in place. Now some of you are going to probably hear some crappy stuff. Some of you are going to hear that you’re not doing as well. Some of you have been hiding things that you think your team doesn’t know and they’re going to bring it up. Some of you are not leading your team well, and so this is one of those really difficult areas where you’re going to be incredibly vulnerable. If you don’t do this, how are you going to grow? How are we going to learn? How are you going to know? So understand that in this meeting it is not about you defending you. It is not about you talking about things they’ve got to work on.
It’s about you hearing them out, gaining as much perspective as possible, and then prayerfully making a decision on what you’re going to do with it. For me, when she said, “Chris, you always assume” it made total sense. I do assume that people know what’s going on inside of my head, and so because I assumed that I could see that I wasn’t setting them up for success. You may find out that you’re controlling. You may find out that, you’re mean, you’re rude. You may find out that you don’t communicate well. You may find out that, you have people who rescue the crap out of you and they don’t tell you anything bad. It’s possible, right? But you have to understand that if you want to make meetings better, if you want to grow you and your leadership, if you want to grow your meeting style, then that’s one of those meetings you can do to grow and enhance you.
If you do that, then you will grow you, which will help you to lead your team better, especially when it comes to meetings. Now, weekly action items, get the Why Your Meetings Suck book. In this book, there are several stories from my leadership career as well as specific chapters on how to transform your meetings. I teach on evaluate and schedule. You know, is this meeting necessary? If so, make sure the right people are there.Keeping people on track and topic, creating an agenda and stick to it. No more wasted hours of wandering conversation, which is just painful. Know your team, understanding the personality styles of the people in the meeting. Speak up, but simmer down. Don’t just sit there, but don’t lob a grenade either. Team meetings, large team meetings can be the worst or best meetings. One on one meetings, the importance of meeting with team members one on one and action steps. Everything you do right in a meeting is wasted if there’s not a plan of action, so it is super easy to get this. Go to chrislocurto.com/296 and download that today. Folks, hopefully this has helped you today. As always, take this information, change your leadership, Change Your Business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.