(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE NASHVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL)
It’s not uncommon for companies to reject traditional staff meetings these days. Many CEOs and business leaders – particularly Gen Xers and millennials – have denounced the once-sacred staff meeting as unproductive, inefficient and easily replaced with a quick group email or a well-run Slack channel
But I am finding myself bombarded with requests for one-on-one meetings with my team to talk about their professional growth, issues and client accomplishments.
On the one hand, I love that they feel invested enough to learn how they can improve their work and grow with the agency.
On the other hand, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to meet with everyone individually, maintain our company’s growth trajectory and spend time with my family.
So what’s the solution? To run. Not necessarily away from meetings, but during them. Or walk or hike. In 2017, I started giving employees these three options if they wanted to meet with me, and here’s why you should consider doing the same in 2018:
Office meetings are a drag.
This is an obvious one. I’m on the bandwagon to ban pointless meetings as much as anyone, but some meetings are still necessary to move projects and people forward. Taking a typical meeting outdoors can lead to more honest and productive exchanges by eliminating the intimidation of an office boardroom or possibility of eavesdropping colleagues.
Fewer distractions from your phone and email, a change of scenery and the introduction of endorphins into your workday puts both parties in a better mindset to receive and process information. Better yet, studies show that working out with others can help build stronger relationships between people.
Multitasking is essential.
As mentioned, there aren’t enough hours in the day – and not just for me.
Our employees have packed schedules with client meetings, projects and events in addition to carving out time for their personal lives and wellbeing.
Researchers have found that employees with a better work-life balance work 21 percent harder while in the office and are 33 percent more likely to plan to stick around at a company long-term. If I can help my team get in a workout while also checking something off their to-do list, I’m all for it.
It develops grit.
I decided to run every single day in 2017 as a practice in discipline and grit.
I was hesitant to take meetings during my runs at first. If running is my happy place, did I really want to bring work into it? But ultimately, I realized a couple of miles on the trails – whether hiked, walked or run – can do more than clear your mind and give you an energy boost: It challenges you to dig deep, go a little further than you thought you could and see something through to the end. It’s important to me that our team has this sense of dedication, and I’ve seen it translated into our client work time and time again since implementing these active meetings.
When trying to run a company, meet with prospective clients, keep existing clients happy and squeeze in a few hours of sleep occasionally, it can be tempting to push off employee requests for one-on-one feedback. However, these frontline employees are the lifeblood of my company. They hold valuable information that helps me make critical decisions to propel the agency forward.
Taking an active approach breaks up the monotony, ensures they feel heard by leadership and helps me continue my daily running streak. It’s a win-win all around.