My blog post about customer service had very positive feedback. So I thought I would share with you something else that I always did when running my restaurant. Before every lunch and dinner service I sat down with the team, for 10 to 15 minutes, to ‘talk about things’. Why….?
First, on arriving at work team members routinely do two things – they interact socially and then get on with their individual tasks or jobs. Sitting down together before the service starts focuses their minds on what is just about to happen . Second, it reminds them that they are a team. Third, it’s a period of reflection and relaxation before (hopefully) an intense period of work activity. But finally, and most importantly, its an opportunity for the operation to learn and improve.
When I tell people about this, they often say – ‘if you do this every time, what do you talk about? ‘ or ‘it must be very boring’. So implementing team briefings in the ‘right’ way is very important. As far as possible, team members should do significantly more of the talking than the manager or shift leader. The manager’s role is to provide structure, keep reasonable order, and ask interesting questions. For instance, ask employees who had the previous day off, what they did and if they received any kind of service (at the dentists, in a shop, or whatever); and then what was good about it; followed up by could we do it here? Ask employees who worked the previous day if anything out of the ordinary happened; establish if this extraordinary event was a positive or negative one for the operation; and if the former discuss how it could be repeated, or if negative identify how it could be eliminated.
You do not have to ask these questions every day. After a while employees will start talking about these things without being asked. And of course, the briefing can also be used to share knowledge about anything that’s happening on that day that’s non-routine, as well as positively reinforce policies and procedures that are routine.
Then the big question is – ‘if all your team sits down to do this every day, over a week that adds up to a lot of person hours – can you prove that it’s worth the cost?’. So I’ll answer this question in another blog….