Small business promotion with retail speaker Tom Shay
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Breakfast with a Purpose

A unique style of staff meetings

Perhaps as a child, Mother told you to have a good breakfast every day. The idea behind that advice was that you would receive the proper nourishment to help you through your day. As you grew older, you may have decided to forego that early morning meal-just as the many other people carrying a foam cup and donut bag with them as they arrive at work.

With regard to your business, there is another reason why the advice of having breakfast could assist you today. There are probably multiple occasions each month when you would like to sit down with your store manager, assistant manager and other key personnel to discuss management issues; and if you are meeting with these key staff members while the business is open, there will likely multiple interruptions. Let us share with you a technique utilized by a successful business.

This business had experienced some internal problems-the same types of problems that occur in almost every type of business: details not being taken care of, jobs not completed, minor disagreements among team members, and a number of other issues that are counterproductive to the well-being of any business. These are often the types of things you want to discuss, but not with all the team members present.

On the morning of a breakfast, the five key people meet in the store parking lot at 7:00 a.m. and carpool to a nearby restaurant. The meeting starts with coffee and a chance to visit with one another. Because several are scheduled to be at work at 8:00 a.m., a retired supervisor is available to cover. Other team members volunteer to provide additional coverage for any other gaps in the work force.

A prepared agenda is presented to each of the participants. The agenda was created by asking the participants to list any needs or problems they are having, as well as any opportunities they see. The lists are compared and compiled into one master list. Participants are invited to bring any supporting evidence for items they have placed on the agenda.

Breakfast is ordered and the meeting begun. Everyone is required to take written notes. The office manager is the official recording secretary. When breakfast arrives, everyone eats and enjoys a period of casual visiting.

After the waitress clears the table, the meeting is again called to order. Within 90 minutes, everyone has the opportunity to have a good breakfast, to interact with fellow supervisors, and take back to work a copy of the agenda, which now details who is responsible for implementation of each solution.

Within two weeks, each supervisor reports to the office manager with his or her efforts and the results to date. Many times the research and resulting action become a part of the regular staff education program.

When the next supervisors' breakfast is held, the office secretary brings the notes from the previous meeting. Some reports contain news of works in progress, while others contain research information so that a decision can be made during the meeting.

Sometimes other team members are invited to the breakfast. There are several possible reasons for this: looking at a person as a supervisor candidate, needing his or her input for a project in the works, or simply as a reward.

Because on any team there will always be personality conflicts or disagreements in decision-making, there will need to be ground rules to help make the meetings more productive.

The first is an agreement that with each topic, there will be recognition of whose opinion will be most important in that particular situation. For bookkeeping situations it will be the office manager, while for staffing situations it will be the person overseeing the staff, to name just two examples. Second, there will likely be decisions that will be made exclusively by top management.

Finally, decisions of the group will be made by way of a verbal vote. Everyone will know where the others stand. Once an agreement is made, there will be only positive comments.

A healthful meal and a healthy start to the business day could be a great combination for a lot of businesses!

Tom Shay is a fourth generation small business owner providing proven management and business building ideas through his Profits Plus Seminars, Profits Plus Solutions coaching, books authored, and articles written. Tom can be reached at 727-464-2182 or through his web site:

Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179