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Submitted by cwatine on


I run a group of 3 companies, operating on the same markets.

1 is a Holding company (3 persons) same site as 2
2 sells consumables (18 personns)
3 sells machines+soft (10 persons)

[u]My directs are :[/u]

- 2 site managers (on each site)
- 1 marketing assistant (site 2)
- 1 sales leader for machines (site 3)
- 3 sales reps for consumables, who also can sell machines (nomads) : on the road all week except monday morning and friday afternoon
- 1 financial manager (site 2)
- 1 ISO and IT manager (site 2)

[u]Standing meetings I already run :[/u]

- [i]O3 with each of them :[/i] 1/2 hour once a week

- [i]"Sector meeting" with each sales rep :[/i] 1/2 hour once a week. Purpose : review visit reports and make actions. Sales rep + his assistant + site 2 manager + purchasing manager for site 2 + me.

- [i]"Budget" meetings for consummables :[/i] once a month. Purpose : review financial figures, indicators. Financial manager + site 2 manager + ISO manager + purchasing manager

- [i]"Budget" meeting for machines :[/i] once a month. Purpose : review finance and indicators. Financial manager + site 3 manager + machines sales leader

I am not sure about how to organize weekly staff meetings. I like the idea because it'll make my teams more reactive.

- Putting every one of my direct would be a mess (10 persons) and last too long. :cry:

- I may choose to do 2 separate meetings, one for each site. But I don't know where to put my financial and ISO manager (maybe get them in the meeting only sometimes ?).

- I also don't know where to put my sales guys ! Do I need to, if I have them in the sector weekly metting ? I can then "speak for them" as I am their manager ?

At this time, I only planned a weekly meeting for company 3. Attendees will be : marketing assistant, site manager, sales leader and me. On the "special 15 minutes presentation", we may invite a person that does not usually attend (example : the IT manager if there is a new project ...)

I have not planned my weekly meeting for site 2 because this is the site where I spend most time.

Your comments are welcome !

Mark's picture
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As of RIGHT NOW, there are no more unread Forum Posts. It's 3:20 am...but I'm done.

For now!


tlhausmann's picture
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[quote="mahorstman"]It's 3:20 am...but I'm done.

...and I'm just getting started. Mark knows I'm an early riser. :-) When observing the posting rate last night I learned what you mean by "more energy." Wow, you were posting sometimes every 3-5 minutes.

I have applied your "more energy" principal when making presentations about new initiatives at my place of work. Energy and enthusiasm is infectious.

I hope your time away was all you wanted it to be.

cwatine's picture
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Some more feedback from the last "team work session". The manager of this group got about the same feed back from everyone in his O3.

People were "disturbed" that I ask each of them scoring the performance of the others and that the figures will be known by the others.

When he investigated a little bit more about the reason it disturbs them, he got different kinds of answers :
- It is a written document, so they are not sure about what "the management" will do with it.
- Some people may not give me a good score because they just don't like me
- Putting this tool in place prooves that "the management" doesn't trust in our capacity to change without controling it

While I understand their concern, I don't want at this time to react now on that. I will let a few weeks pass and see how they score each other, and wait from more feedback through the O3 they have with their direct manager.
Then, within one month, we will analyse the results, all together.

My point of view on that is :
- they scored themselves 4,8 on team work and said the target should be 8
- it means they need to change
- if you want to change things, you need to measure them with concrete indicators
- this is about behaviour, not "liking" or not "liking" each other
- if we just talk about things and do not put actions in place, we are just loosing our time

Oh ... and some people have already changed their behaviours ... I have seen it !

Any comment welcomed.



jhack's picture

You could have an outsider collect the data and provide you a summary. That way, you don't hold the written documents.

The other concerns are harder to address. Not reacting is probably the best approach. Over time, they'll see you acting ethically. They'll see improvement. And if they're not with the program, they'll see others do well while they stagnate. That might motivate them.

You're right, it's not about liking each other. This does have an impact, though. If dislike translates into subversion or lack of cooperation, that's a problem.

Your focus on their behavior is going to pay off.

Great work!


cwatine's picture
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Thank you John.

Often people think that if you give them negative feedback, you don't like them. It is often the other way around. Why would I care giving you feedback if I don't like you and I don't trust you can change ?

One of the girls came back to her manager saying after the meeting : "Wow, a lots of people told you in front of everybody that you were not doing your job properly ! It is so hard, what are you going to do ?".

He had the perfect answer, in my mind : "I have thanked them for being trustful enough to have given me a feedback that will allow me to improve my behavior and be a better manager"

cwatine's picture
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[quote="mahorstman"]Too much focus on the drama part. It just got a step too far away from being immediately implement-able everywhere. I loved the other books because I could see their usability immediately.

Not bad...I just don't love it.



I understand, but am a little surprised because of the "drama" you put in your podcasts. They make them even more interesting.

And ... When I remember about my teachers/managers, those who come to my mind are the passionnate ones, the one that made their courses/meetings look and sound real "alive".

Also, won't the "I" people in the room not be interested in the meeting if they don't feel "something" is happening ?

Yes, your tone, the dynamic in your voice, and the soapbox parts of your casts are the "plus" that make the subject more interesting.

I agree that it is not directly implementable but isn't it a core aspect ? Isn't it the difference between "just right" and "excellent" ?

"just right" meaning : "okay, he managed this meeting very nicely, we covered everything and were not late."
"Excellent" meaning : "wow, I am full of energy and I will do my best to contribute to the project"

Any books, or other sources to learn how to get that "energic/dynamic/drama" effect if it not natural ?



cwatine's picture
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Up date about the progress on team work :

I think the team really rejected the pool system because nearly each of them (except one person) give exactly the same answer to each question of each template.

In week 1 and 2, everyone selected "2/ no progress" in each single question of their template. This week everyone selected "3/ good progress".

I don't think it can be a coincidence ... I think that they try to show their desagrement on the system by doing so.

Of course, it is disapointing.

Not the fact they do not agree with the tool. I perfectly can understand that. What is difficult to accept is the way they reject it : they cheat the system after the decision has been made, instead of simply discussing the decision before it is made.

I have decided not to react before the next meeting on the subject. I want to confirm my feelings by letting some more weeks pass by.

But I may already know what the main topic of the meeting will be!

It seems that they keep on with the same behaviour : they let the management make a decision on which they don't really agree. And after the decision has been made, they don't follow it because they did not agree in the first place ...

They even keep this behaviour after they have agreed it was not the right way to function.

ccleveland's picture


I can see frustration in your post because of apparent lack of change of behavior within your organization.

By choosing to rate “teamwork”, it seems to me that you are putting a lot of focus on “Good Teamwork” as an objective. Good teamwork won’t do your company much good if it doesn’t achieve it’s “purpose for being.” The message your staff may be hearing is, “We will have good teamwork, or else.” This would feel controlling, and create a lack of trust. Also, because the rating is done by the team-members themselves, the results are highly subjective and affected by other factors including how they think their answers will affect their future.

I suggest measuring against objective, tangible goals that relate to your company’s purpose (e.g., profit). Goals could be structured where those who work together are rewarded more than those who work as individuals.


cwatine's picture
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Oh Yes ! And Impatience, too. This is why I have to cool down a little bit before the meeting GRRRRR !

Thank you for this advice, CC. I agree. And I want to talk with the team about this, because I need feed back on this. I am really open to any solution.

My point is not in the fact that the tool is rejected. I can really understand that. It is more in the fact that I would prefer, in general, that people say they don't agree with a decision before it is made, not after.

Or at least, I would prefer that they say they don't agree. What I find not acceptable is to see them acting in a different way without any notice to their management.

The manager of this team had already told me : "I don't undestand them : we make a meeting, I explain the plan, no one disagrees ... And then, I realise people don't do what was planned. When I ask them why during one on one, I realise that they talked again about it and decided that it was not a good plan !"
He felt it like it was a treason and wanted to "punish" them for that.
I told him, I would prefer a "soft" manner.

This is why I organised this talk about teamwork.

With this group, we talked about the fact that it was not the right way to do things. I like to discuss topics and decision. But when the decision is made, it is no more negociable ... Or you have a very good reason to raise ...

And ... It seems they are doing exactly that, with this pool which is not a major issue in itself, but gives me a good example about what not to do ...

Of course, there is an explanation about this behaviour :
- they have run for a very long time without any form of management. So the very basic forms of management are not well known
- they are "C" profiles, so standing up in a meeting to say "I don't agree" is very unnatural to them ...

But ... There needs to be a change. And it can't be done in one meeting !

ccleveland's picture


[quote="cedwat"]I don't undestand them : we make a meeting, I explain the plan, no one disagrees ...[/quote]
[quote="cedwat"]- they are "C" profiles, so standing up in a meeting to say "I don't agree" is very unnatural to them ...

Wow…this is a great example of what can happen during High D to High C communication. High C’s need time to “think it over”.

Two options:

A.) Give them the plan in advance and let them know a decision will be made on X date. Schedule a meeting on X date. Discuss…then decide.

B.) Better yet: Let them know the [u]objectives[/u] in advance, schedule a meeting to develop the plan (or let them create a plan and present it in a meeting).

Option B.) is genereally better because it allows them to have more ownership of the plan instead of simply commenting on someone else’s plan, although it could take significantly more time. In either case, you’re High C team will probably continue to not provide you the “disagreement” you’re looking for until they review and process the information.


cwatine's picture
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Oh, I like that ! I think you just gave me a jewel ...

You are right : their manager is a very high "D" (like me). So, like me, he expects people to be able to think over a decision in "real time" or "on the spot" (unnatural for them), and then, to be able to stand alone and say "I don't agree" (very unnatural again ...). They can't do that.

So giving them more time to think about the problem would help the process. "D" could see it as a loss of time. But it has to be seen as an investment : spend more time on making the decision and less on forcing people through it.

Let me think about it ...
How I can apply that to this special case ?
I need to find a way to let them think about the subject (why don't they use the tool ? Why didn't they discuss it during the meeting ?)
and think about a better way (what better solution do they propose ?)

Also, we have to find a way to "lock" decisions when they are finaly made.

skwanch's picture

I'm reminded of the vignette in Drucker's 'Effective Executive', in which he was describing Alfred Sloan's approach to decision making.

Story goes like this: Alfred is running a meeting, and asks if there are any objections to a given plan of action. Nobody speaks up. Alfred then says 'Well, then I suggest we adjourn until we have some objections to discuss'.

Essentially he was saying that without dissent, the decision is going unexamined, which is dangerous for the company.

Something to remember/think about when the high D wants to charge ahead . . .

cwatine's picture
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3 lessons I have learned :

[b]1- I mixed the desire to be right (having my tool accepted) and my goals (to reinforce collaboration into the group)[/b]

Okay, I tool is not accepted. But ... I can see everyday the group work improving. The manager of the Group told me this meeting made some situations much better and his relation with the group has improved. It was my goal ...

[b]2- I may have found a better way to deal with "C" people constituting this Group[/b]

When possible, the management has to give them time to think over a decision and let them come back later with their arguments. It then may be easier to let them accept their manager decision and act accordingly.

[b]3- Sometimes, just asking questions (without giving answers), or analysing/discussing a situation (without giving instructions) is more powerfull[/b]

People are smarter than you believe :wink:
Sometime they are able to find the answers themselves once we explaine how we see the situation, and let them sometime to think about it. Patience ...

cwatine's picture
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I had a meeting with this group.

The first thing I did was a "little survey" :
* "who wants to continue with this tool? Raise your hand" - no hand up
* "who wants to stop ?" - all hands up

So I said : "okay, we stop it. It seems I was wrong ... The tool does not seem to be adapted to our purpose".

Then, I asked for the reasons why they rejected the tool and got several answers (I think people were easier to talk about it because I just had canceled it). They were of 4 types :
- I don't want to write on a paper the way I judge my collegue, it would make our relation very bad
- It is like at school, we are adults now!
- It is your role (the management) to score how we do, not ours
- We would have prefered to have what we said to each other kept between us, not written on a paper

I said that I understand their opinion. I also explained that when I saw they were boycotting my tool, I was firstly very angry and desapointed because I felt they were sabotaging the work. Then I explained that after giving it a second thought, I calmed down and that there were no real reasons to be angry. I realized my anger was coming from the fact that I was afraid that if they did not execute this work, I was afraid they would not execute any decision from the management.

I then asked why they did not tell me all of this right away, when I presented the tool (nobody rejected it so I thought it was accepted) :
- "it was too quick, we were stunned" (most of them are "C"). In fact, they talked about the tool after the meeting and decided not to play the game.
- "you said that when a decision is made, it is not possible to negociate it"

I answered that I certainly made a communication mistake so I re-explain what I had said about decision making and execution : Before a decision is made, there must be a discussion, and, THEN, the decision is made, and cannot be changed. People have to execute it in the best way. In some case, they still can say to their management they don't want to execute the decision and give the reason why. The worst thing being not to say anything but not executing the decision.

I then told them that their manager had told me after the meeting about team work, things had really changed (more collaboration, more discussions, real conversations during O3, etc) and I asked them why.

One person told that the change was not due to that meeting, but to "the work of time".

One other person first told that she did not agree and that there had been no change at all (in fact, it was the person who had changed the most, said her manager!).
As the conversation was progressing, she said : "Yes, maybe the relation is better now with our manager, but it is not because I have changed, it is because HE has changed, he has listened to what we said and now listens better to us ..."
And then : "As our manager has changed, maybe WE have changed too ..."
AND : "What we really appreciated is the fact that he listened to us when we told him that we did not like this tool ... He did not take the stupid attitude of saying : you have to do it ... He was on our side, and undestood our point of view !"

The meeting ended in a very positive way. I felt there was a new collaboration between this group and their manager.

I am interested in reading your comments.

juliahhavener's picture
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I think what you were asking for was dangerous in the ways they identified - you were asking them to judge each other, and to do it in a way that would be there forever (in writing). Your intention was good, but so many times the implementation stinks and is terribly damaging (I've seen it).

I do think that this meeting will push things entirely the right way. Everyone is now paying attention, listening to each other, communicating with each other, and knows their opinions are valued. This is not a bad thing.

cwatine's picture
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Thanks. I could not have said it better.
The final result is what you said : people paying more attention to each other. Better collaboration. More respect. More input.

This was a topic that had never been talked about.

I am always impressed by the fact that just listening to the other with great attention sometimes make things change. My natural tendency would be to try to find a solution, a tool, or an answer, immediately.
Sometimes, you just need to listen and understand.


cwatine's picture
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Thank you for your answer.

Yes, those business are related : one is distributing consumables and the other machines/softs. They address the same customers (this is where they are related).

I am not sure about merging the weekly team meetings. I feel it will be too long a meeting.

Here would be the attendees :
- site manager 1
- site manager 2 (off site)
- purchasing manager of site 1
- ISO/MIT manager for the group
- finance manager for the group
- marketing assistant for site 2 (she also can take notes ...)
- sales manager for site 2 (off site)
- me, as sales manager for site 1 and as the boss of the group

It would mean a 2-hour+ meeting ... I am afraid we would go too fast on subjects that would need debate.

It is already very difficult to maintain the weekly meeting for site 2 ... Very lean teams ...

If I don't merge meetings, I get :

Meeting 1
- site manager 1
- purchasing manager of site 1
- ISO/MIT manager for the group
- finance manager for the group
- me, as sales manager for site 1 and as the boss of the group

Meeting 2 :
- site manager 2 (off site)
- ISO/MIT manager for the group
- finance manager for the group
- marketing assistant for site 2 (she also can take notes ...)
- sales manager for site 2 (off site)
- me, as sales manager for site 1 and as the boss of the group



Update about this.
We finally choose to have one weekly team meeting for both sites and decided to limit it to one hour. The difference is that there is now one sales manager for both sites.

So the participants are :
- Operation manager site 1
- Operation manager site 2
- Sales manager
- It manager
- Finance manager
- Ced

The structure is :
- quick report from each participant
- review of main metrics
- follow up of our main goal of the semester for the organization
- agenda (built from the points above)
- communications to be done by each manager to his directs
Some people are on the site, some others not.

It is now running perfect.

I must again say it is running perfect because of the "trinity" manager tools we have implemented for more than one year now. It is a whole. It works because there are also, O3, feedbacks, delegation, coaching, etc.

Mike and Mark have allowed us to do a big step forward ... One of the biggest we have done, in fact. And I'll be thankful for ever.

We are now in the process of hiring 3 new persons and guess what : we do it following the information in the podcasts "how to prepare an interview" and "how to build a simple behavioral question".

jhack's picture


The Interview Series is great for interviewers, too: what does a great answer sound like? What happens when an offer is "negotiated," etc.

And well done!


cwatine's picture
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Thank you for the good advice John.

I must humbly confess that I did not take time to listen to the whole thing being not concerned (as a candidate).
You are right : I need to do it.

Any favourites in the serie?


jhack's picture

They're all useful, some more than others. So...

Series Overview
The 5 Parts
What to Wear
Tell Me About Yourself
How to Ask Questions
How to Handle Offers

And the members podcasts on the Weakness and Leadership questions.


cwatine's picture
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Many thanks John. It will save me a lots of time.

The list is now in my task list for "MT Podcast to listen to".

HMac's picture

Ced - Add "How to Handle Phone Interviews" to your list. You'll find it has all kinds of applicability to whenever you're invovled in an important meeting-by-phone from somewhere other than your office...