A few weeks ago, our operations manager suggested that we have a business clarity day.
My first reaction was, “What in the world is a business clarity day?” She went on to explain that we would gather all the key people in the company, meet outside the office, and, as a group, go over the following information:
- Company Goals
- Top Three Barriers
- Bottom 10 Percent
- Action Items
The experience was very profound. Let me define each of the six topics to give you a better understanding of what we did and then I’ll explain how it went.
Ingredients to a business clarity day:
These are cool things that have happened to each person both personally and professionally. The wins were pretty awesome because they started the meeting off on a positive note. Discussing our wins allowed us to be more personal, which, as we all know, can help people open up more.
2. Company Goals
This is pretty self-explanatory. I listed a number of goals — mainly short term, but also a few of the big-vision goals I have for the company. In the past, I had only shared this information with one, maybe two key employees. After going through this exercise, I can see the benefits of having all key employees working toward the company goals.
3. Top Three Barriers (and Suggested Solutions)
These were three barriers for each person’s position. However, we let everyone know before we began that we expected solutions as well, not just problems. I was surprised by some of the barriers people were encountering. Simply having all the key people in the same room, talking about these issues, was a HUGE eye-opener for everyone. More than once, someone from one department talked about a barrier that involved another department. When the head of the offending department heard the problem, many times that person said something like, “I had no idea that was causing you problems; we can easily change what we are doing to make your job easier.”
Rocks are the three things each employee was going to own and work on. It could be learning a new skill so that they can learn to do their job better. It could be creating or improving a new system. Rocks can be pretty much anything as long as they can be owned, and implemented (or at least in progress), before the next meeting. Many times, people’s barriers and rocks overlapped a bit, but in some cases they were completely different.
5. Bottom 10 Percent
The bottom 10 percent are the things or people that are performing with margins at the bottom 10 percent of the company. The idea is that by the next meeting these won’t be the same things (or at least headed that way).
6. Action Items
This is also self-explanatory; they’re basically just lists of what these department heads needed to do when they got back to work.
I’ll be honest …
When the idea of a business clarity day was first presented to me, I was worried it was simply going to be a group of employees complaining …
However, even though people had issues, no one was complaining. Everyone was truly there to help improve the company. I already knew I had great team of employees on my hands, but I was impressed by their performance at the clarity day and humbled to see how much they all really care about the well-being of both the company and our clients.
We have our next meeting penciled in on the calendar for two months from the first one, and I’m excited to see the improvements that will have been made by that point.
Going into the day, I was not 100 percent sure it was going to be worth the time and money I was spending to put it on, but within the first two hours, I had gotten more than my money’s worth.