This will take some practice and staff development but is worth the effort.
At every meeting, ask this question: Did we learn anything new this week?
At first, people will be reluctant to offer anything. You may get a few silly responses like, “if you don’t out get out to lunch before Bill catches you, you’ll end up buying his lunch!”
But if you let them know you are seriously seeking input and want them to keep track of lessons learned, you’ll soon start collecting very valuable feedback.
Remind people to make a note of anything they learn “new” and bring those notes to meetings. You’ll soon find answers to recurring problems. Someone may come up with something like, “I got an email from a customer who asked me when his order was shipping. I couldn’t even FIND his order. Instead of waiting to get all the details like I usually do, I answered right away. I told him I would check on his order and contact him by the end of the day. The guy was actually happy even though I didn’t have the specific answer. Because he wasn’t all riled up, I was happy to contact him later with the ship date. By answering right away, I actually saved a bunch of time usually spent hearing him complain about our slow response time. The funny thing was, it took me just as long to find the ship date but because I answered quickly, he didn’t mind.”
When you start hearing things like that at your meetings, you’re in serious “pay dirt”.
Shameless Promotion: Your business contains a gold mine of profit building ideas. I’m a very good miner. Give me a week at your business and the rewards will surprise you. Drop me a note and tell me about your business.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog