Week after week, dealers tend to have the same meeting. That is the GM sitting down with each department manager to review where they are at, projections, and things that need attention. Anything needing attention is then addressed individually with each department manager, which seems harmless but can cause tension and animosity. More often than not, it just means that the department managers involved need to sit down and work it out. However, that cannot happen in individual meetings. Here are some of the top reasons to avoid the Island approach and how to have a productive, actionable meeting.
What is the Goal of the Meeting? What's Being Discussed? Did You Give Your Managers Enough Time to Prepare? Or is it A Run Through of Daily To-Do's?
The meeting is often seen as a hassle or waste of time. Knowing that for every minute they are trapped in the GM's office the less money they will make at the end of the month. So to avoid the meeting taking up too much time, they quickly go through the same checklist. Once the checklist has cleared, they rush the door and get back into the lane or on the desk – all while the GM thinks all is good. But that is not usually the case. Instead, there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. Ones that are often not discussed with the GM, but are discussed amongst the employees, which can cause frustration and tension between the various departments.
If You Have A Group Meeting Stick to the Agenda. Give Everyone A Chance. Do Not Interrupt.
The purpose of having an agenda is to ensure that all topics are covered and make sure no one goes down an endless rabbit hole that leads to nothing other than forty minutes of wasted time. That having been said if you do have an agenda, make sure everyone turns in ahead of time what they would like to speak about. This gives the GM the time to review the request making sure it is in alignment with the meeting. If the topic is deemed personal and/or a conversation to be held privately, it takes away the chances of the meeting going from good to bad. Another reason to have an agenda - that is planned - is that it gives each manager a chance to voice their concerns, or questions effectively. More often than not, an argument between departments could have been avoided had there been better internal communication. This cannot, however, be accomplished if the manager is not given the time of day. As interrupting or talking over another manager is disrespectful, it can also show that you do not support that manager.
Do Not Use the Meeting to Attack Your Co-Manager. Not All Issues Need to Be Made Public.
It is no secret that there is a lot of competition on the dealer level. It is a dog eat dog world, but there is nothing worse than bringing your co-worker down in front of everyone else. Especially given that while you might not care for them - what they are allegedly doing wrong might not even be wrong. However, as the GM if you allow the employee to bad-mouth their co-workers in front of their peers it can in many ways send a signal that the behavior is not only allowed, but encouraged. All of which can and will create an eggshell environment. So, if you do have issues with your co-worker it is best to speak with them first. If you are unable to handle it with them directly, at that point you need to meet with your GM.
Bottom Line: Take a minute to get with each one of your managers and allow them to contribute to the meeting's agenda. In doing so, each of your managers will feel like they are a part of the team. Having group meetings amongst management will also help ensure that there is no miscommunication amongst the various departments.
How do you handle manager meetings? Do you review the same agenda each time?