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Why I Conduct Team Meetings on Mondays

As a young engineer in the 1990s, I took on the role of IT Manager, my first management position.

Now, for those that can remember, IT at that time was exploding on the scene.

Communication, information and computing were expanding in capabilities, scope, and scale across all businesses and sectors around the world. We were experiencing the beginning of the digital era and things were happening.

Why I Conduct Team Meetings On Monday
Why I Conduct Team Meetings On Monday

The company I worked at was an Integrated Circuit (IC) manufacturer, one of only a few in Canada. As a business we too were shifting from analog to digital circuits.

From an IT perspective, we had just started our journey away from mainframes to client-server topologies, local networking to the web, MRP to ERP, and PCs were being used at work and also in the home.

On the design and engineering front, we were adopting advanced Computer Aided Design (CAD) technologies (Mentor and Silicon Graphics), we were developing software to support data collection and automation. We were building databases as fast as we could manage, along with implementing Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) document and records management solutions.

At the same time, we were adopting ISO standards for quality, SPC, six sigma, and what we now call LEAN. Imagine Khan-ban on the shop floor of an integrated circuits manufacturer!

IT was involved in everything and in many ways leading the charge.

It was common practice for managers to meet with their staff on Fridays to review the status of the week’s activities. So, that’s what I did as well, at least at the start.

It didn’t take too long for me to realize this was not working.

Our weekly meetings were spent discussing what we did rather than what was needed for the week ahead. We had too much to do to focus only on the past. When we finally came to "Next Steps" we almost always ran out of time. At this point, physiologically, we were also thinking more about the weekend. This all made sense, but something needed to change.

As a young manager and wanting to prove myself I decided to make a bold move.

We shifted our staff meeting to Monday.

This practice, was against the norm. However, what I would later find out, this shift changed everything for the better.

We still spent time talking about the activities of the prior week. However, our gaze was clearing set on the week ahead and what we needed to do as a team to succeed.

We started to change from reactive thinking, focused on what was or wasn’t done to proactive thinking, focusing on what's needed to meet our objectives going forward. We were also in a better mindset. Having come back refreshed from the weekend we were now ready psychologically to face the future.

The morale of my team picked up, instead of feeling always behind we started to get ahead. We felt we had more agency to negotiate the obstacles and exploit the opportunities that were in front of us. We felt we could succeed, and we did.

Years have passed since my early days as a manager. IT has moved onto the cloud, managing outsourced services, integrating dev-ops, deploying mobile, internet-of-things and platforms, adopting cybersecurity, and AI among other things. Businesses also use far more management standards across almost every domain.

What has not changed is:

Uncertainty and risk are still knocking on our front door.

Just like back when I was a young manager, we need to be proactive.

Unfortunately, the common practice for management still has not changed.

For many it's still reactive and focused on the past. In fact, the majority of management standards call out the need for management review which is very much like meeting with staff on Fridays.

It's time to make a bold move.

Change your management reviews to management previews.

Meet with your staff on Mondays when your mindset is on the future and when you can still do something to improve your probability of success.

Take it from me, it will change everything for the better.



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