Recently I was sitting with a group of undergraduate business majors, talking about ways to enhance team performance. One of the student’s relayed the fact that her supervisor chooses a day every week for the team to eat together and talk about how to make their workplace processes more effective.
Dave: OK, that’s a good idea. Do you think the meeting helps the team work better together?
Student (eye rolls): We don’t do it
Dave: You don’t have the meeting?
Student: No, we meet; but all we do is eat. We never talk about anything that could make the team more effective–because by the time we’re done talking about nothing, it’s time to get to work.
The Point: Eating together is good. Talking about process improvement is good. Eating together and talking about process improvement is good. Telling the team they are going to eat together and talk about process improvement is good –UNLESS you don’t do it. Then it’s a detriment to the team and the leader.
A lack of follow through is killing the credibility of this leader and her breakfast club.
Solution: 1) Do what you say you are going to do
Actually eat and talk about process improvement OR,
2) Just don’t say that the meeting is for process improvement. Instead, just eat, laugh and have fun. That way, you win either way.
The problem is when, as leaders, we make a big point to tell our teams we are going to do something and then never do it.