Formal Meetings- Have Less, Learn More

After reading an article about a good place to work (as described by a CEO), it seems another viewpoint should be raised. This tech CEO was big on training, and had a rule that every manager had to meet with his or her people 1:1 on a regular basis. Apparently, one day, he found that a manager hadn’t had any of these in 6 months.

The CEO has a come to Jesus meeting and explains why he wants this, and says if it doesn’t happen he’ll have no recourse but to fire the people. Now that, of course, is his prerogative as the CEO…having things run your way always is when you are top management.

I haven’t been a CEO of a large company…but I ran a small one on pure positive cash flow for 10 years, and tripled sales and doubled gross profits. I rarely ever had a meeting. As a customer who had been at a large company, had a Ph.D and taught business courses in his ‘retirement’ noted, I practiced management by walking around.

This was true. Every hour of every day, I made the rounds. It’s simple, and works better than meetings. Go out on to the showroom floor and chat with the sales people. Head to the shop and talk with the technicians. Ask them how it’s going, and if there’s anything they need that will make things work more smoothly. You can’t always promise they’ll get those changes, but you ALWAYS know what’s going on, and they know that you are concerned and will try your best to get them what they need. Sometimes, jump in and help and get your hands dirty! Yes, I ruined more than a few dress shirts, ties, and slacks doing this, but the boost to morale was well worth it.

It’s not always true, but as a general rule, you learn a lot more and get a lot more done from management by walking around than from formal meetings. BTW, Mr. Tech CEO I didn’t name…a close friend of mine is a CEO of a company that sells goods that is 1000 times larger than your company and has been in business since the 20’s…guess what? He practices management by walking around too.

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