Facing uncertainty can be challenging – being a business owner facing uncertainty is tougher.
Red Direction helps you [fast track and] grow your business – authentically, pragmatically, and resiliently.
Starting the conversation:
One key to designing a business that thrives while growing is to put attention on the people within your company. Once you hire the right people, the imperative becomes understanding how their goals change over time, what they seek, and where they can grow to support the changes in your business. Tina Ramey, Partner at VolkBell HR Services, shares how intentional communication connects you with employees as your business grows.
Every business has inefficiencies and deficiencies, and having this reality clearly in mind is necessary to determine how to grow your business from the inside. There is a time commitment to invest energy and resources into who you already have on your team. Knowing how someone interprets stated company expectations and priorities will usually differ from what you intended to communicate. Choosing deliberately to ask more questions that request reflection, confirm understanding, and uncover the goals of your team will provide insight to the business growth decisions you make.
In this program, you will learn the importance of taking time to really connect with the people in your company; which questions to ask to start being more intentional in communication exactly where you are; and why it is important to know what your team thinks is happening versus what is actually happening. Jess Dewell talks with Tina Ramey, Partner at VolkBell HR Services, about why intentional communication is BOLD to embrace for business growth.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guest: Tina Ramey
What You Will Hear:
Create time by communicating intentionally.
Specific skills and processes are needed to grow the team.
It is easy to lean too much into a process because you are caught in the day-to-day.
The biggest reflection: Where are we checking boxes? Where are we really connecting?
Know where each person on your team is at — in work and life — and where they want to go.
How does each person on your team see the company vision?
The process you have (or don’t have) is building culture — make it intentional, not accidental.
Common sense in your business is likely internal lingo, communication unique to your company.
People form their own expectations from what’s said … are you asking for questions and reflections to confirm understanding?
What do you want it to be like to work in your business?
Your decisions are intentional, and they set culture (the feeling about what it is like to work for your company).
Decide a cadence for how, when and who will talk to your teams.
You decide what success looks like and must intentionally communicate it with purpose and clarity.
Additionally, for the Fast Track Your Business Today Uncut conversation:
Know what your business growth goals are and what you need to get there.
Thoughtfully prepare communication to share with everyone (PBJ video linked in resources is a good lesson here).
Compare: what we think our company looks like versus what is actually happening.
Documents for roles and processes are dynamic! Make sure this is true for goals too.
Ask more questions. Stay in communication.
An imperative for CEOs, directors, and managers is to set time to really connect (beyond “water cooler talk”).
To create time to intentionally communicate, prioritize tasks, shift responsibilities, and invite your teams to step up.
Revisit meeting structure:
- What can you do to be more productive with meetings?
- How many can you remove from the calendar because they can be handled in an email?
Give people opportunity to grow. This will influence how your business will grow.
Design and grow by asking more questions, and demonstrate not everyone knows/remembers everything.
Leverage the way you work by knowing how people learn.
It is BOLD to have the right people for your business right now as you grow.
Tina Ramey 00:00
And then all of a sudden we have people. And oh my gosh, these people come with ideas and experiences and thoughts. And are we listening? Or are we not?
Welcome. This is the Bold Business Podcast. Your business has many directions it can travel. The one true direction of your company creates the journey for you to move toward a new, exciting level. We call this the Red Direction. In today’s program, we delve into one idea. The idea will support you as you work on ever-present situations, including how to stay competitive in a changing market, how to break through the business plateau, and how to anticipate the changing expectations of your stakeholders. Jess Dewell is your guide. Jess brings you a 20-year track record of business excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from the special place. Your unique True North. Now, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell 01:00
Welcome back to the Bold Business Podcast. Just like always, you’re in for a treat, you’re in for a treat because one of the things we’re feeling is extreme pressure to move fast. Yet, the design of being able to move fast takes more time than we think. So along that vein, of thought, of feeling of thinking, we want to take time and think about growth in relationship to the people we have working for us and the people that we must have working for us to get us where we want to go. They may not be exclusive, they may not be mutually required to be part of each other’s life, either. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Because your journey is unique, the way you have put your business together is unique. Yet the principles, the ideas and the thoughts behind taking the time at the beginning. Slowing down to speed up will help with your growth, specifically around the people that you want to have with you to get you where you want to go to take the company to the level that you want it to be at to make the most impact for your customers and your communities. With me today is Tina Rainey. Tina is somebody who has always been around this concept of being a problem solver, being able to understand what’s going on, figure out how to close those gaps. And balance not only roles, not only ideas and projects, but also moving everybody forward together. At a young age, Tina learned the importance of engaging in a team to build a successful organization because she watched her dad built his business. And now as an adult. With over 25 years of experience. She has been managing, developing and training individuals and groups, not only at the startup level but also established large national companies. In 2011, Volk Belle HR Services was founded to partner midsize companies with experienced HR professionals on an as-needed basis. She’s passionate about supporting companies that share the mindset of creating an engaging culture, open transparent communication, and being able to receive ideas from all kinds of different places to be able to lead you forward through this stage into the next with success after success after success. Hi, Tina.
Tina Ramey 03:33
Hi, Jess, I love that introduction. And I loved where you commented on a go slow to get fast. So important. Patrick Lencioni talks about that a lot. And it really is the key when we talk about how do we grow. And how do we move forward because we are rushing day in and day out in our companies? We’ve got people to manage, we’ve got customers to take care of. We’re going so fast. And sometimes to be able to pause and slow down is going to save us time money stress in the long run. So I love that you opened with that.
Jess Dewell 04:09
Oh, thanks, Tina. You know, this is always on my mind. Because I’m in an in a unique situation where my team has been with me. I think everybody on my team has been with me for over five years now. And that is phenomenal in its own right. They will cringe when they hear me say this because they know, I’m like how do we change things up? They are along for the ride with whatever I stir the pot to be internally. And most of the time we let it all go. Well, we do take the time to evaluate try things, see what’s going on and keep testing to grow and evolve. And I know not all of us have that. Now my team is small. I know there are those of you who are listening you have large teams you have 50 people you have 1000 people, regardless of where you’re at bigger than my five or wherever you happen to be at one I think is really important to know that you We’re really leaning into right away, is that we’re all feeling the pressure of time and thinking about growth in our conversation today. I have a question for you. So I want to know, what do you think knowing that time is scarce? How do you ensure you have the right people for your business right now, as you’re growing?
Tina Ramey 05:19
You know, that’s such an interesting question, because I think a lot of people will hear that and first say, I have to hire and find the right people. Right. So how do we ensure that we have the right people? Well, first, we have to find them. That’s one piece. And you’ll hear a lot of people in that space, where they talk about what is your recruiting process? What tests and tools are you using, from personality tests to skill tests, they’re looking at creating the right process to get the right people in the door. And there are many experts in that field. So I’m not going to going to spend too much time there, except for talk to somebody, get a process, figure out who you are, and who you need. Because if we’re not taking the time, on that front end to finding and hiring the right people, and just trying to get somebody in the door to fill a spot, then we’re going to pay for that later. So I know there’s a lot of hesitation of, I don’t have time to do that. Let’s just throw out a bunch of resumes. Let’s, let’s see who we get, or I know somebody who knows somebody. If we’re not taking the time there, we are going to feel the repercussions later. Because we’re going to be rushing people in and out of the door quickly. There was a company I worked for years ago. And I was on the training team for them. And I remember them saying that new people being hired into a certain area in that company, sick over 60% retention after three months was rare. Whoa, they were expecting people to run out the door, they’re gonna test them out in the first three months. Don’t do that. That’s scary, right? That’s stressful, and it’s very costly. So take time, that’s step one, where you’ll hear people in that recruiting space in that hiring space where they’ll say pause, let’s take some time and figure out who we need to hire, what tools resources and what process who is involved in that process on our team? And does everybody in the company understand the process? Are they talking to each other? Especially when you mentioned some of the some people listening today? They have 50 employees? 100 employees? Right? Does everybody in the company know what that process is? Is everybody were aware of their peace in that process? Had they shared? Who would be great on my team? These are the skills these are the top players, communication is key. So that is absolutely a very popular conversation of what is that process? Who are the people? What are the tools to make sure we’re building something on the front end to get the great people, where I usually come in is after they have the people and they sit there everybody’s excited. We just brought in so and so. And they have the skills and the energy and they’re excited, we’re excited. And then what do we do? We bring them on in that first day. And we say, Here’s orientation, here’s a bunch of paperwork from HR. Here, we’re going to introduce you to the team, here’s a binder or the link to get all the initial training, we’re going to stick you with this person that’s going to be your lead supervisor, go learn the job watching them. We can’t we throw them in to the fire, right, and that’s fine. But then they get caught in the systems that are in place. They get caught in doing the job, and what’s happening with the rest of us. The rest of us are running around trying to make the work happen day in and day out. We’ve got tasks to do. We’ve got goals to hit. We’ve got which people budget deadlines, timelines. I mean, there’s, there’s so much that we’re running with all day long, that we just brought in these people that we thought were really good. And now they’re caught into the wheels turning the business day in and day out. So usually where I come in on that space is because the conversation stop the intentional conversation stop. So I really sit in the place more of hearing the conversations around. We’re not communicating. So here we hired somebody great, but we’re not developing them. We’re not listening to them. We’re now looking for their potential. We’re doing a performance review because we’re supposed to, we’re filling out a form. We’re turning it in and we’re moving on. Right? We’re chatting with people, maybe if we’re in the same office of how was your weekend, and we’re getting to be buddy-buddy at the company party, but we don’t know who they are and where they’re going and what their potential is within our organization. So the potential conversations are being missed. And I think that’s the biggest space where a lot of companies need to pause and look at when are they having those intentional conversations.
You’re listening to the Bold Business Podcast. We will return to the show soon. But first, I want to take a moment and give you a peek into what additional services and solutions you could access to Fast Track Your Business. This program was created to develop your capacity on demand by sharing insights, tips, as well as lessons learned by business leaders, unedited and uncut. And we don’t just stop there. There are three additional benefits to help you reach your growth goals. You will also have unlimited access to one, hearing tips and insights to develop yourself as a leader to get better results more often. Two, experiencing viewpoints from many different business leaders. Three, receiving frameworks to build core competencies and to more effectively focus on business growth and leadership. Altogether, The Fast Track Your Business program will allow you to face uncertainty, anytime, anywhere. You can access what will become your most versatile tool in your toolkit by going to FastTrackYou BusinessToday.com. Now back to Jess.
Jess Dewell 11:01
So let’s go back to your example of the 60% turnover rate in the first three months, I’m gonna pick this apart, and I’m gonna just like throw this out here because I want to break down people are like, oh, yeah, well, that makes sense. But let’s figure out why does that make sense. There was a process in place, it was adopted, here we go. The Accidental design was, there are certain people that are going to be able to do this job. And the ones that stay are the ones that feel confident in the way the job is done and the way we do our work. But now all you have are people that can do the job, they’re not thinking forward, they’re not thinking around, they’re not seeing new opportunities, there’s not enough alignment with where they’re at right now and where they want to go individually. And they can’t see how they can truly help the company either.
Tina Ramey 11:42
It’s so interesting because again, we were excited to bring them on, we have another body there, we have somebody else with different experiences knowledge. I was just in a conversation with a group last week where they talked about, we have to remember that a lot of times depending on the position, people are coming into the door with their own expectations. So maybe if the position is something where you’re bringing people in, this is their first real job out of school. They’re coming in saying I need a paycheck, I need a job, I need to start my career, they’re coming in not knowing what that next picture looks like, not knowing what they’re capable of not knowing where they could go within this company, what are the opportunities? Well, that it may be a little bit later in their career. And they’re saying, I’m bringing this experience. Now this is where I want to apply it. Where can I get involved? They have a picture in their mind, but we may not know what it is, because we’re not asking, we hired them to fill a job. A lot of the conversation that needs to be started, it may be in that interview process, not only can you do this, do you have the skills, the character traits, etc. But what do you want out of this position, we need to find out what they want where they want to go, we need to hear that. So then we can actually coach them and grow them or offer up their opportunities. So if we want to minimize that turnover rate, we need to not just test them out, work bringing them in for the potential of their career path. And what that can bring to the company.
Jess Dewell 13:16
That’s much harder to do after the fact. Because the culture is set. I almost think people are like, Oh, well, we have this culture. And this is the way we do things. I don’t think people realize that the culture is set from the very first time somebody comes to interview with us.
Tina Ramey 13:31
You’re so right. And it’s either set by the leader intentionally. Or it’s set by the team. A lot of companies will say, well, we don’t really have a culture, we’re just a small business. But they do. If I took two of their employees out for a cup of coffee and said, Tell me about what it’s like to work here. They’re describing to me the culture, culture is not a fluffy word. It’s what’s it like to work there that culture is there. And as an owner, we need to understand and recognize what is our culture, whether we set it or our staff sets it. What is our culture? And is that reflected in that hiring process? And is that lived through how we work with each other day in and day out? Is it the way we want it? Is it intentional?
Jess Dewell 14:13
I’m not meaning this to be belittling in any way. But it feels like the front part was bolted on to where the real work actually starts, which is where you’re coming in, right? And this is exactly the type of work that I’m doing Tina, where it’s like, oh, we want to grow. We have all of these pieces, but we can’t figure out how it works together. And we can’t figure out why we can’t get to where we want to go. And it’s because there was an accidental design that has limits. Sometimes they turn into blind spots. Sometimes they just turn into this is the way we do things. Oops, bad, right? And sometimes it’s to be curious and see what the next opportunity could be.
Tina Ramey 14:52
Again, we get systematic in how we do things and that accent dental design. Maybe there were processes in place on when and how we talk to our team. So maybe those processes are, you know, I had one group that I worked with it was a newer manager. And he said, Yeah, so I was involved in the hiring process. Then I sent him out with the lead to learn the job. And then I talked to him again at the 90 day review. And I said, you waited three months, to talk to him to see if this was going to work. How do you review them at that point, but that’s what he saw happening. And so that’s what he just did. So are we pausing and saying, which pieces are systematic? Are they right? Are they wrong? Are there opportunities we’re missing, and they don’t need to be a big process change? You mentioned that our company is an HR outsourcing company. So we have an HR teams that go in and everybody thinks HR is process. It’s just about let’s make sure your handbook is there, he went to checklists are here, everything is a process, you’re doing a review, oh, my gosh, that’s where we get stuck. Again, even in the HR world, sometimes, the HR team is working over here creating all these processes, but no one else is looking at them or seeing them or figuring out do they tie. And as a business owner, you’re looking at two things, the mission of the company where we are going, What is our goal? What are we trying to drive? Why did we start this business? What’s going to be successful? What are those criteria we’re putting on what is a successful business for us? And then all of a sudden we have people? And oh my gosh, these people come with ideas, and experiences and thoughts? And are we listening? Or are we not? Are we leveraging this team that we bring together, a lot of small companies start out with the founders, and those first few people that are friends family that believe in this vision, and they get on board and they are in it, they are working hard, they are hungry to make this happen. And then the company keeps growing. And now we’re adding in outsiders. We’re adding in the people that we don’t know, because we created this job posts, they’re not necessarily coming out for the vision, we got to get them in that, that’s part of that hiring process. We want them to buy into the vision and the passion of where they’re going again, where are those intentional conversations where we are connecting as leadership to the rest of the team to understand their skills, and who they are and what they could bring to the table? We may be having a job posting out for a position and we have somebody right there in the office that we had no idea was interested in learning those skills, interested in being part of that department, maybe they don’t have the confidence in themselves, we need to be the ones to push them. So where is that intentional conversation happening? And is it a performance review? I don’t know. Sometimes we go into companies and say get rid of those. You just created this process to talk about something that happened nine months ago. All right, we’re past that now. So let’s make sure that any type of processes we’re creating internally, match how we’re leading and driving that communication to build the company.
Jess Dewell 17:56
We don’t all want to look at the reality of our business. My business is not pretty if you think of all of the most beautiful organizational charts, all of the beautiful annual reports, all of the way that information is presented and how in the world, everybody is seen out there with all of our presence and in the marketing, and then the placement and all of that and what’s actually going a fun. I have impostor syndrome sometimes looking at my own company, I’m like, how am I doing all of that. It doesn’t happen a lot. But there is the rare day that that does happen. Think about when somebody comes to your house, we all have the thing we do. Some of us will dust the baseboard before somebody comes to our home for a dinner party or we’re an afternoon get together something like that. Some of us shove everything in the cloth. Some of us spent four days cleaning and preparing, regardless of the way goes forward, it was still messy to get to the thing where people can come to your house. Now, what we don’t remember is that that is actually the same thing we’re doing in our business. We just don’t realize it. So I’m challenging all of you, listeners, you your partner, whomever you live with under the same roof. Think about the last time you had that. Get together where other people outside of your own who lives under your roof got together? How did you react now take that into your business and see how you’re reacting in your business. Because it’s a small thing we can do that allows us to go oh, this is actually how I’m showing up. I know how I’m supposed to show up. And we can close any gaps and increase the opportunity not only of intentional illness, not only of communication but of true deep connection. Because once we acknowledge life is messy. Our business is messy. It’s never going to look like the pretty things that people think that a business should look like. It’s much easier to go. Cool. Here’s my homemade Lego creation, or yeah, my brown. I actually had this happen to me. I went to a potluck hub. My brownies didn’t turn out so I went to the grocery store at the last minute, Jeep picked up and sometimes can you admit that Because what we’re viewing is valuable versus what we’re supposed to be doing that I think a lot of these growth bottlenecks around our relationships with our employees, and the way we show up to take the reins and take action and set priorities gets uncomfortable in our way, and we tend to want to avoid it. Well, there’s a process for that. Anytime you hear I need a tool for that there’s a process for that. I’m gonna say right now challenge, what can you do to be more real here?
Tina Ramey 20:31
We talked about that perfect checklist for the business. And we kind of have to look at ourselves. I do laugh that we’re an HR company, we go in and, and help build HR processes that are beginning to people and then I look at our own and I go, Oh, yeah, we have that SOP we wrote during COVID, when everybody was born, we should probably get on that you don’t have everything, but being okay with that. And knowing how we do things in a business, everything is a living document. Everything has to be flexible. When we talk about what is communication look like, there is a piece where we’re comfortable. And we’re going to have a lot of people on our team that are comfortable, they know what they’re coming in to do each day. They know what they’re responsible for. That is a nice feeling. But there needs to be and what do usually rides on the leadership team is so then where do we go from here, we can’t get comfortable. Because if we get comfortable, that things are going to start happening outside of our business or inside of our business that we don’t realize that one great employ, that we have built up hits a point of maybe boredom, they don’t see their potential in any other area of the business. So they pick up and leave and now everybody else is sitting back on why didn’t we see that? It is a constant flexible conversation processes are living processes, they are going to ebb and flow they need to otherwise we’re not having the right conversations. When we’re bringing in that team and finding those right people and bringing them on board. It starts in that first interview in an interview process of so what is it that you’re looking for in your next position? Simple question. Where do you want to go in your next position? We spent so much time trying to sell ourselves or trying to validate whether or not these people have skills, we’re not finding out what is it that they want. And right now we’re in an employee’s market. I have a client of a couple of clients that I do, I do do some screenings for not really our business, but great clients, I’m helping them out. And it’s so interesting, I’ll get on a Zoom screening call with them. And I’ll ask them, tell me, what is it you’re looking for in your next position? And I had one kid, tell me, Well, this is my first big boy job. So I’m expecting at this company, I am going to take the next five years and learn and I look forward to being taught. And then after those five years, I’m going to go to my next company where I really can apply it. If we don’t ask the question. We don’t know what we’re walking into cutter bad.
Jess Dewell 23:00
Good for him that he’s got a plan. Yeah. Bad for us that we can’t help him at the next step.
Tina Ramey 23:06
Right. So then what is it that makes us have to reflect to say, Okay, do we want to invest in someone that may be here next three to five years? Are we okay with that? Do we see the potential of Gosh, what would he be looking for next? And do we have that, but he just doesn’t know? That’s one simple question to ask at the front end, what are you looking for in your next position? In your next career step, ask the question. We’re rushing too quickly to fit our boxes and not necessarily fears. And then it’s the communication throughout? Are we intentionally touching base on a weekly monthly some sort of routine basis where it’s not about the tasks at hand? Because I will have people say, Oh, Tina, we talk every day. I mean, we’re talking when we come into the office, we’re talking throughout the day, we go grab lunch, that’s great, organic conversation is good. And a lot of us found that we missed that. With the transition over the last few years of how we’re moving into more hybrid-type environments. We’re missing some of that natural organic conversation. So that’s great. We need to find ways to connect there as well. But where are we having those 15 minutes, 30 minutes to check in and say, Hey, how’s everything really going? Are you excited about coming into the office? Are you excited about the project that you’re working on right now? What else do you need? And sometimes we may think we asked those questions. Can I support you in any way? Oh, that’s such a broad question.
Jess Dewell 24:35
I would never answer that, right? I feel like that’s the that’s like somebody’s asking me. Am I sad in this? I mean, honestly, that is a question that will make people pause. What is the right answer here?
Tina Ramey 24:47
So even if it’s a one-on-one connection, and it’s every two weeks or once a month? Again, it depends on the business and engagement and the hierarchy. I had one group that I worked with and they were was two women that both had been with the company over 20 years, they both reported to the same person. And one made a comment of that she has a call every Friday with her boss. And just to check-in. And the other woman said, Oh, my gosh, I only call him when I need something. What do you guys talk about? Those with the same level of experience knowledge both have the same connection. And one is having that intentional conversation once a week. For her, they defined three things that they wanted to talk about. They talk about where she’s at, or workload projects, is she feeling balanced? Things that were important to her? They talked about, and they were all remote, any incident what’s going on with the company, anything I should be aware of in other departments that may impact me, or I heard that this is happening, another department, what do I need to be prepared for when that project gets to me? So she had three specific things that they talked about every time, everybody that you know, both parties knew what they were coming in for, it was something that was a little bit beyond the day-to-day tasks, Project handoff of what’s needed. Next, there was a little bit more intentionality. So she felt way more connected to the job. And the other question I asked both of them was, Do you feel that you know, what’s expected of you from your higher-ups? And one said, Hmm, I don’t know. I figure they tell me if I’m doing something wrong. And the other one said, Yeah, I know exactly because we talk about it every week. The whole point of this is, it’s not about the organic conversation do that we need that, we need the connection points. We need the, the camaraderie, you know, there’s all these different ways to communicate. But where are we putting the intentional conversations, so that we know where each of our employees are the people on our team, that people in the company, we know where they’re at today? We know where they want to be? We know what they want. They would love training, but they’re too scared to ask. I’d really love to learn how to use pivot tables. I still don’t know what those are. But I hear that I’d love to learn that.
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Jess Dewell 28:12
I’m thinking about this and you said 15 minutes and I’m hanging on that not because it’s a good number or a bad number. But because if I take that times the number of employees I have that really adds up. Now, this is the place where we saw where and I’m gonna, I’m gonna like if I were to like pick a time in the late 80s. We switched from managers developing and being responsible and removing obstacles with their teams to also being responsible for tasks more and more. You’ve all seen the means are you a leader or a manager? Well, guess what? Anybody who has tasks is managing something and it requires a certain set of skills. So if I have the title manager, also, it becomes extra hard because I have a full-time set of tasks I’m responsible for and managing. Yet I’m supposed to do all of these things that Tina and Jess are talking about. So this is where that living document comes in. This is where strategy comes in. This is where it becomes incredibly important to recognize the way we used to do work isn’t going to work when we want to have the people in place to grow our companies with us.
Tina Ramey 29:27
One of the things that I do in our company, I’m more of a facilitator trainer. So I have a supervisor. Sometimes it’s new sometimes it’s emerging leaders workshop that we run through and the first question I always ask is if you had a little bit more time, what would you do with it? Because yes, they have their own day job. Plus, they’re managing people. And what ends up happening is we show up in the office, and we’re just running on the first fires of the day. The first things that are needed of the day, right? We don’t have time to sit necessarily and plan we have to be flexible. We have to constantly reprioritize. So when we talk about building a communication plan, it’s not about just make sure you, you find time to do that, if there’s a possibility, and again, every business is different, how many levels of management there are is different. And maybe it’s not you doing all the 15 minutes, maybe it’s different peers, maybe you switch it around, maybe it’s to managers, or to supervisors in different departments that connect, we always miss that part. We also focus so much on his hierarchy, checking in with each other, that we forget to check in with our peers. So maybe it’s a matter of and this comes to vulnerability. Maybe there’s one supervisor that works dotted line with a group of people. And so one month or one quarter, they’re having that 15 minute, it doesn’t always have to be the immediate manager, maybe a different manager will hear something. But the goal of building a communication plan is where can we put it in our process. Right, that’s what habits and creating habits. So where, when, and how can we do that? And that goes along with all the meetings we have all day long, right? We need to so many meetings, so go back to reevaluate where it’s our priority of touchpoints. When we look at the touch points of communication overall, maybe it’s the one-on-one, maybe it’s our small group team meeting, maybe we have huddles in the morning to dial out tasks. Maybe it’s our leadership meeting, maybe it’s our all-staff meeting, first and foremost, make a list. What are all the meetings? What are all the touch points that are happening in your world for that week or that month? Then let’s go through that list and figure out what is the purpose. Again, back to what you’re talking about? Or initially, just right there? We’ve always just had this staff meeting. So let’s look at each of these. Is there a purpose of it? What is our goal? To as the leader of that particular meeting? does everything have to be on you? I know of managers that spent half a day planning for their staff meeting, right? It doesn’t have to be on you. So figure out who in the team needs to bring what information and let’s dole out that that will create a different level of engagement. It’s not just someone spitting out information. So let’s look at purpose. Let’s look at that agenda. What are topics on that agenda? Who’s responsible for them? How much time should it take? Oh, and what’s become the most popular? How much of that could be in an email? There’s a lot of information that needs to be thrown out, put that in an email, let everybody look at it, find what’s important to them. And then the bullet point in that meeting, it’s not a 20-minute conversation. It’s a did everybody read that? What questions do we have? Everybody’s going to look for which piece applies to them. Right? Yes, yes, with them, what’s in it for me, I’m going to the meeting, because I want to know what’s in it for me. So they’re going to narrow down the informations given of what, what applies to them, if they’re going to have the whole picture. So let’s look at that agenda. Let’s look at who’s doing it. Let’s look at our time around it, let’s look at our purpose, and what can be emailed or not a meeting, we need to reevaluate that. So one, there may be times there that we can minimize greatly to make more time for this quick and I say 15 minutes, maybe it’s five minutes, it is just that opportunity to connect. Maybe there’s some employees that one month, it’s going to be a 20-minute conversation. And the there’s gonna be another pull-up boy saying, Man, I am on it. I’m feeling good. Everything’s great. You know, I think we can just reconvene next month. So have the flexibility of knowing what people need and who should be having these. But it really is. And I will tell you, every time I have a group do this, they initially say We talk all the time, we have all our meetings, but once you put it on paper, and you really look at what you’re doing, and you really step back. And as you said, challenge question, ask the team. If you’re the leader of that particular meeting, ask the rest of the group. If we’re going to dedicate this time and pulling everybody else away from their daily jobs and tasks, what do you need from this meeting? Ask them as, as somebody that’s in leadership management supervisory role, we tend to put everything on our shoulders, that we have to know all the answers. We’re responsible for all these pieces. And then we carry this whole extra load of stress, instead of pausing and saying, What do you guys need? Oh, and instead of delegating things out, because we think delegating means we’re being lazy. It doesn’t mean we’re, I mean, there are people that will delegate just to get out of work. I’m not going to dismiss that. But a lot of times we carry I made the mistake of teaching my kids that delegation is not a bad thing. And so they tried to delegate a lot back to Mom.
Jess Dewell 34:51
Our kids are all in that same age group. I’m like, Oh, yeah.
Tina Ramey 34:54
So it’s understanding that in the business space, right, if we want back to Our initial question, how do we get the right people to grow, we have to give them the opportunities. So empowering them is really the word we want to look at. We’re delegating to empower, we’re creating an opportunity where we don’t have to take it on and give it to somebody else. So whether it be that team meeting, is there somebody else that really would like to take over part of it, it gives them a chance to run a meeting, it gives them a chance to, to speak up, it gives them a chance to for their peers to see them in a different light. Are we empowering them, again, through this communication plan? So putting it on paper, we’re going to see things that we didn’t realize before.
Jess Dewell 35:40
Oh, I want to go back to the living documents. Because I think these are really underrated. You’re talking about a living document of processes and onboarding in the way that a position is changing over time, not only so that the capacity with that person, and the skills of that person is growing and growing and growing. So we know what’s needed. In the event, there is an absence of sorts of any kind, but also, because then we can recognize we can take a real actual look, what are the skills that we have, and this is where we’re going? Does anybody in here have skills first, it helps us prioritize our people, to your point, circling all the way back to right now, which is giving people the opportunity to grow. Having those intentional conversations to know, oh, Tina was talking to me last week, she learned that the just actually wants to do all of these things. While our new project has some of these, maybe we could get the start of the shape. Who knows. It’s one of those things, we don’t understand why it’s so good. Until all of the pieces just click in. And it’s bumpy for a while. And so another thing that I really push with the living documents, specifically related to people and roles and how things are going. Also, I’m a big fan of a dynamic strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats document, anybody in the organization could look at that document and just view it. This is where and it could also then become part of the conversation. Hey, Tina, the last time we talked, you asked me about where I’m going, I saw this threat, I would like to learn more, I might be interested in that, or I saw this opportunity. And I don’t understand what that means. Help me understand where the company is going. It gives me the opportunity as the employee to ask whoever’s intentionally communicating with me in my scenario with Tina, to better understand when I’m heard, and I feel like I can get real answers to my real questions. I know I’m important.
Tina Ramey 37:37
And this is where it comes back to intentionality. And this is a responsibility for those in leadership. We can’t wait for an employee coming to us saying, I really want to learn this. And I want to do that. Some will. Absolutely there are some that are driven and are comfortable and vocal. But I will tell you, I do this one activity, where I give everybody in the group, a little whiteboard. And I say I’m going to describe something, I’m going to give you some instructions, and you have to do what I say. And this is usually a room full of vocal confident leaders, managers, supervisors, right? And they all get their little board and they get their marker they go, okay. And they all turn into these good students. What’s interesting is when everybody flips their board around, my picture is not replicated anywhere else in the room. Because what happens is everybody turns into the good student, no one asks me questions. No one’s asking for clarification. No one’s asking for an decal. They’re not asking for, what is it? We’re trying to drive? So here you have a roomful of leaders confident, would normally have no question asking, but they become good students. And this is what’s happening in companies is people have their job, they like their job, they want to be the good employee, they may not be comfortable asking the question because they don’t want to be the, the one person asking something that they think everybody should already know. So we, we struggle where the employees are not always, you know, if you think out of out of all your employees, what percentage of your employees are the vocal ones that would come to you and say, I really want to learn that. And what percentage, it’s going to be a bigger percentage that will wait to be asked. And so that intentional conversation is, and, and again, it could be five minutes. It doesn’t have to be huge. It just needs to open the door. And then all of a sudden, people will say, Oh, yeah, you know what I’d really like to learn that is that an opportunity? Because more people are leaving their managers and leaving their companies is they don’t feel they have the opportunities for growth. They don’t feel that it’s been presented to them. They are making assumptions on what they’re seeing from leadership back to culture, what they’re seeing from leadership, and I’m saying I Don’t think there’s anywhere else for me to go here. So that little piece of intentionality, if we can just add those conversations, we now know everybody’s interests, skills, right? We can put it into that SWOT document and understanding our SWOT strengths and weaknesses. We can now look at the mission of the company and the people together. And how do we best integrate that moving forward? Because we’re all there for a reason. We’re all there to drive the company, we’re all there to, to hit the goals of the organization, we all want to be part of something. But we’re hiring them quick. Or maybe we have a process and we get excited. And then they come on, and we’re not clear on expectations and understanding and where that communication is. And we all just fall into rhythm. And if we’re not putting the intentionality, that rhythm ends up with people getting bored and leaving, or the growth is not there, because we’re not leveraging the skills and the passion that we have.
Jess Dewell 41:03
You are listening to the Bold Business Podcast. I’m your host, Jess Dewell, and with me today is Tina Ramey, Volk, Bell HR Services. You know what, here’s where we’re at. We have thrown a lot of information. There are tips, there are how-tos and there are big thinking topics. So the next time you sit down and do your present retreat, you up you may call it CEO time, you may call it strategic pneus in some capacity, how can you take one thing from this conversation so far here is going to be more so far that you can use and apply to something you’re already working on. Don’t make a new initiative, we don’t need to do that. This is where that leveraging comes in. It helps you exactly where you’re at. It helps you in the shape that your business is in today. It helps you understand where you’re clear or not clear no or not no. So that you can communicate appropriately to those that are actually going to be coming with you to that next step of the journey along that path. Don’t forget, I know you’re listening as well. And you know somebody who needs this, share it, you can go to Red direction.com and click on podcast to get the link or just say go listen to the Bold Business Podcast on your favorite podcast platform. We’re on all of them.
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