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Hi all,

This may become a long, detailed post, for which I apologize in advance. If anyone can offer any insight, however small, it would be much appreciated. In any event, perhaps just typing out the issues will help me think it through.

I'd like to implement Weekly Staffs, but I'm a little unsure as to the content that the directs' reports will contain.

I'll give a little background:

I'm GM of operations for a P&C insurance company. We have two divisions, Broker and Customer Service (CS).

My direct reports are, in the Broker Division: Chief Underwriter; Underwriting Dept. Manager; Claims Manager.

In the Customer Service Division, I have one direct, CS Manager. She has a Supervisor in each of their Underwriting and Claims units, I'm thinking of including them in my WS. If I do, can I leave it to her to decide whether & when they report to the WS?

I have 2 other directs, the IT Manager and my Admin.

My current meeting schedule consists of:
Weekly O3s
Fortnightly IT Review - all IT staff, waterfall & project updates (this used to be weekly)
Monthly (all of these are with the Broker Division):
Underwriting Preview - underwriting & marketing staff, look at upcoming large accounts
Underwriting Review - UW Dept Mgr & Supervisor, look at production #s for previous month
Claims Review - Claims Dept, look at large losses for previous month

I don't have a meeting schedule for the CS Division, because I've just taken responsibility for them.

A big part of the Review meetings is briefing me ahead of a meeting that I have with the Exec. team to review the month's financials.

If I do the WS, I would hand over those other meetings to their various managers. I will add quarterly Skips so I don't lose contact with those >1 level down.

I'm all for cross-department communication, in fact we always have a rep. from Underwriting in Claims meetings, and vice versa.

But the problem I have is that we are really organized to look at things on a monthly basis. I'm going to have to give my directs guidance on what their 10-minute segment should contain. I reckon I can leave Collaboration and Radar to them, but the Accomplishments section is where I am struggling. The resolution just seems a little too high to me at once a week.

Any thoughts for me guys?

jhack's picture

Kudos for having such strong systems already in place.

The weekly accomplishments could focus on non-financial targets, such as personnel development or process improvement. Your folks could identify how the coaching programs they've put in place for their people are progressing, for example.

IT projects should definitely have weekly accomplishments (all projects should have weekly milestones - you should never have to wait two weeks to find out that the project has slipped).

Finally, consider pushing the question back onto your directs. Do they have no accomplishments on a weekly basis? Perhaps they should start thinking about how they can accomplish something each week. Doesn't have to be momentous. And it doesn't have to be defined by you.

John

LouFlorence's picture

Peter-

Sounds like you're well-organized. Congratulations!

A few suggestions:

1. Include only your DRs. No skips, even if DRs-only means a small (5-6?) group.
2. Do your waterfall weekly at the staff meeting, not at the functional ones.
3. Ensure your staff meetings have updates from all DRs on all of their goals (as warranted), not just projects.

The meeting does not have to be long, but holding weekly ensures the exchange of information is fresh.

The weekly staff complements the O3s, keeps everybody informed in a way that functional meetings do not, and provides a social function. It's a gathering of your team; spending time together talking about the business strengthens your relationships as a team.

Regards,
Lou

peterlevy's picture

John & Lou, thanks for the kind words, and for taking the time to respond.

I like the idea of focussing on non-financial aspects.

The reasons that I considered adding the supervisors to the WS are:
1. I want the Skip Levels not to include them. I want the front line staff to talk to me without anyone there to whom they report.
2. If I don't put them in my WS, I therefore lose contact with them. They are the company's future managers and I want to have regular communication with them.

I could have a skip level with just the supervisors - it's only 4 people but that would at least satisfy those two points.

I was thinking about the entire issue some more over the weekend and I think part of my problem is that I am expecting to get a bit of push-back from my directs about adding another weekly meeting on top of O3s.

Mark's picture

Peter-

I like the way you're thinking.

I don't think you're going to get push back on the weekly staffs. Things tend to happen in weekly intervals. I've found that monthly meetings end up being reporting dog and pony shows....and if that's the only staff meeting you have with everyone there, nothing else happens at work the day and a half before it, because they encompass almost 10% of the year.

Cross functional projects are great fodder.

Mark

peterlevy's picture

Mark,

Thanks.

The first meeting will be this week, and I expect will be dominated by discussion of the agendas for future meetings. I guess that makes this one a meta-meeting :)

I'm thinking John was right when he suggested putting to the directs the question of what should be reported on, and I think it would really serve the overall purpose if people weighed in on what they would find helpful from their peers.

I'll also brief them on my plans for the skip levels.

I'll let you guys know how it goes.