I think if I tell you that you need to meet with your direct reports at least monthly, you might roll your eyes. We know it is important. But we do not often get it done. It does not have the jazz of the full blown fire fighting we often live by. Sometimes we have so much fire fighting that we cannot take time for these apparently non urgent matters.
These simple meetings are one of the most important activities you can take on each month.
It can lower fire fighting until you have time to make your company great.
Most companies talk about putting the customer first. Some of the companies do it in one way or another. I never see companies advertising they serve the boss first, but I often see it. I have never seen any company but one I was leading putting the worker first. In fact, doing that has gotten me in trouble more than once in companies that I did not own. Many bosses feel pretty proud about giving workers a job and feel gratitude should fill workers hearts. They did not understand where customer service comes from.
If you own a 100 or 10,000 person company, you can put the customer first because you feel ownership because you are the owner. But your failure to put the workers first harmed their heart to have the ownership you want them to feel. So you are serving the customer while most of your workers are working to take home a pay check and not really working for the customer at all. This happens despite what the walls of your business say.
If you put the workers first, then they will have the energy and the passion to put the customer first. Then you will have a whole business working for the customer. Finally, you will have a company that consistently puts the customer first.
So make time to start making once a month meetings with your direct reports and have your direct reports do it for their people to. Because when you care enough to hear from them, then they will care enough for your customers.
Of course if you meet with them monthly so you can be condescending, then do not do the meetings.
If you can meet with them because you believe they are valuable and deserve to be heard and understood, then go ahead. It is the first step to less fire fighting in your future. You might then have some time to think how to better serve the customer. Go ahead, take a step toward a better future.
Have I seen it well? What do you think?