Every company I have ever worked with has had problems of some sort. Problems are caused by a variety of factors ranging from incompetence, weak management to growing pains. How companies react and deal with those problems determines how successful they will be. You can ignore them and hope they will work themselves out or you can take a systematic approach to eliminate them and take steps to ensure they don’t return. As the CEO or Owner, you should already know what these problems are but if you don’t, just ask your staff. Trust me, they know!
One of the most effective tools you have available to identify and correct problems is the Workshop.
An effective workshop will have you and your staff solving problems, owning the solutions, and implementing them enthusiastically.
This process is to be used anytime you have problems or issues to be resolved or improvements you need to make in your company. It gets the staff involved in the creation of the solutions and results in higher morale, enthusiasm and better and faster implementation.
1. Put up on the board the topic to be solved, i.e. “Things that are stopping our company from Growing”
2. Now ask everyone in attendance (if necessary, split into groups of 3-5 people) to write down the things they feel are stopping the company from growing. This process will get the participants owning the ideas and allows everyone to benefit from your top performers and best thinkers.
3. Write down everyone’s idea on the whiteboard or flip chart. (You may end up with 10 to 15 after eliminating the duplicates). Discuss the items as you put them up. Clarify anything that’s not clear by asking questions. (What exactly did you mean by that? How specifically would that be done? So, what you are saying is … and so on.)
4. Get everyone to write down their top three ideas, from the list on the board, in the order of importance from 1 to 3.
5. Go around the room and ask each person (or group) for their top three choices and rating. Your goal is to find the three solutions that everyone agrees are the best.
6. Each person should now think of an assignment/task to integrate the top three ideas into the next week’s activities. Write these down. The assignment is designed to get everyone to implement the idea that week. (NEVER proceed to new tasks without first implementing.)
7. Ask for the ideas on implementation and write them on the board. Ask the group to now take the top three ideas and rank them as before. (See #4 and #5 above). Select the top three assignments and implementation strategies and give them to the group to implement.
8. Write a memo. Include the top three problems, solutions and implementation strategies (include the person responsible for any action relating to implementation). Circulate this amongst all staff and file the memo in a 3-ring binder divided by tabs for workshops in each key area.
9. Next week’s meeting: review the action and results. Discuss the newly created material: What worked, what has not and how can the various policies and procedures be improved.
10. File the memo and the notes from your review.
Lou Andruzzi, President
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