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Tom Duma: Get into a Rhythm

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Tom Duma: Get into a Rhythm

Regular meetings help you stay on course.

BY TOM DUMA

Published in the October 2012 issue

Wall know meetings are necessary to grow our business. But few have mastered the techniques to become successful in plotting the course, setting goals and measuring the success of reaching the goals.

In our company, we have found success developing what I like to think of as a rhythm of meetings.

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Quarterly and annual meetings are givens in most companies. However, I have come to find that without a weekly and daily rhythm, by the time the first quarter ends, you can be so far off course that you find yourself always recalculating and setting new targets.

Here is what my rhythm looks like: At the first of the year we have an off-site strategic planning session, and then we repeat in a quarterly rhythm.

During these meetings, we are looking at every aspect of our business. I meet with my financial manager, inventory manager and sales manager. We brainstorm items that need to be addressed, writing the items down. At the end of the session, we have a wall full of items that need to be accomplished. We each pick what we feel are the most important issues that need to be accomplished in the next 90 days. From those, we agree on the top five. We then set time-lines and assign a task list to that top five. We plot the course, set the direction and identify who is responsible for the goal.

On a weekly rhythm, I keep Wednesday mornings clear so I can meet with my leadership team to go over the progress of the top five items. We will look at the prior month’s P&L and balance sheet, keeping the leadership up to speed in our goal to become profitable each month. This weekly rhythm allows us to stay focused as a team.

But it is our daily rhythm that allows communication to flow from management team to the rest of the team. For five to 30 minutes every day, we huddle. These daily rhythms allow us to communicate policy and procedure, selling techniques, product information sales goal tracking. Why so many meetings?

I’m sold on the value of collective intelligence that gets harnessed in daily and weekly meetings.

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