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We've recently re-organized around product lines where we used to be matrix organization. I did another job for the last 9 months but am back to managing with a team of 17. I've noticed none of the other managers do staff meetings - many don't do 03's either. They have project meetings run by the project manager but those are project related with people there who are not on the manager's staff like the Product Manager, technical support, etc.

I'm starting 03's. I'm thinking about a bi-weekly or monthly staff meeting. A lot of the work is around projects. But it seems that without a staff meeting there is no way to talk about other things in the company, get group feedback, strategic ideas, etc.

I mentioned this to another manager and got a look like I had 2 heads! Technical people don't like meetings but I think we're missing something without doing this. Thoughts?

tcomeau's picture

http://www.manager-tools.com/2007/05/how-to-run-your-staff-meeting-part-...
is a good place to start. M&M suggest that this is a key meeting, and one where their effective meeting protocol is most important. Staff meetings are key to building an effective team, and keeping people aware of what the team is doing.

I don't do them for my branch, but I do them with and for my development teams. I can't remember if I'm doing them correctly for a matrix environment.

tc>

jhack's picture

Staff meetings are not project meetings. While you provide high level status and info regarding projects in the staff meeting, it's not a forum for focusing on or resolving project issues.

Staff meetings create relationships and communication channels within your team. They allow dependencies and opportunities to be highlighted for everyone.

Well run staff meetings add value, and you'll find your team looks forward to them.

John

Mark's picture

(Sigh.)

If you're in a project environment, you have 3 key meetings:

O3
Staff
Project

Each is different.

If you are not in a project world, lucky you you only have 2 crucial meetings.

Mark

juliakmiller's picture

Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. But I'm going to fix that hopefully with some of the ideas from here!

I thought I was right to have them. But all 17 of my new direct reports had never had one (just project meetings). Most never had 03's either. And the other managers looked at me like I was smoking something to suggest it. So, I thought I'd check!

Thanks....

tcomeau's picture

[quote="juliakmiller"]...Most never had 03's either. And the other managers looked at me like I was smoking something to suggest it. So, I thought I'd check!
[/quote]

When my new boss saw my O3s on my schedule, he came looking for me to find out if there was a problem. He still thinks O3s are crazy. I still do them, because I find them very valuable.

I think M&M occasionally mention that at times other people will look at you like you're crazy, but "trust me, this works."

tc>

AManagerTool's picture

Nobody in my org does O3's including my boss. They barely do staff meetings or project meetings. I recommended that they do these meetings, showed them my results, introduced them to Manager-tools and have always been rebuffed. Indeed, I have even been insulted over it at times. My conscience is therefore clear in the matter.

I think that they are actually doing me a favor. The contrast between my teams performance and theirs makes me look good!

tomjedrz's picture

Some observations ...

1- I listen to Dave Ramsey ([url]www.daveramsey.com[/url]) about money, and he frequently rails on about the stupidity of taking financial advice from broke people. Our esteemed hosts have commented more than a few times on the mediocrity of management in Corporate America. Given that, it would seem silly to rely on management advice from managers unless you have reason to think they are good.

2- It seems to me that O3s and the Weekly Staff Meeting [b]GROW[/b] in importance as the size of the team grows. Managing 2 or 3 directs less formally can work, because there is lots of informal exposure. Not so with 17 directs; if you don't force communication you will only end up dealing with the top and bottom performers and ignoring the middle.

3- The very same technical people who hate meetings will complain incessantly (or just leave) when they are ignored or feel out of the loop.

Good luck!

Tom Jedrzejewicz

Mark's picture

AManagerTool-

Every time I see your avatar, I want to start my posts with, "Okay, we're going to need you to go ahead and..."

Key point: STOP trying to influence your boss.

PERIOD.

Mark

juliakmiller's picture

My boss is actually okay with me trying things. She's actually doing 03's based on my sending her a link to the pod casts. She thought they were a little chatty but got the points which is what I care about. I've passed on things to my VP with good discussions as well. I'm just pretty careful to make sure that it has real value.

For me, the key has always been trying to see it from their perspective and making sure it has a benefit. Sometime I just have to keep trying. Or I step back and evaluate how effectively I'm communicating with them. (Lots of high C's in software development to manage. Then there are lots of D's and I's on the sales/product management side that I have learned to work with.) I try question whether I'm not seeing it clearly either and they are right to question it. Maybe I've been lucky or just very persistent but I find that one of those three has always worked...and it's equally distributed between them.

ccleveland's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]Key point: STOP trying to influence your boss.[/quote]

The day I finally understood this point, my relationship with my boss started improving significantly. My boss is moving on to a new role next week, and I'm both happy and sad. I'm very happy that my boss is moving into a new career expanding position. I am sad that I will no longer be working for her because her organization was really making good progress. Hopefully we can continue the momentum she started.

Our O3s are at best 2 weeks a part, occasionally a month or more. That doesn't stop me from being as effective as I can with my project teams or providing updates to her in a format she prefers. This has made her performance better, which is good for the whole organization. ...all this without spinning my wheels on how to change my boss's behavior.

CC

P.S. I already have a good relationship with my new boss. We were having weekly O3s earlier last year as he was the sponsor of one of my projects.