All over the world, most plants have morning meetings. As a consultant, I have been asked to sit in on many of these meetings, and my conclusion from these experiences is that most of them are not very effective or meaningful to the attendees.
Let me tell you a little about the least effective meetings I have attended by describing a generic case. At this meeting, the room is noisy, people have to stand up because there is no place to sit, and there are no visual aids such as an overhead projector, flip charts or a white board.
In addition, the leader of the meeting does not lead the meeting at all and often speaks with a low voice, making it impossible to hear. Attendees receive the latest production report and are asked – one by one – to read the part for which they are responsible. At this point, it is common to see that people do not listen to parts of the production report that do not directly apply to them. In addition, when they read their own parts, others do not listen to them either.
In the very worst scenarios, maintenance craftspeople do not start working in the morning until they have talked with their supervisor. This often causes a delay in work because the supervisor attends the morning meeting at 8 a.m., while the crew arrives at 7 a.m. The crew has learned, from long experience, that job schedules and work assignments are frequently changed as a result of the morning meeting. Therefore, they wait until the supervisor comes back from the morning meeting around 8:30 a.m. to begin work for the day.
Creating more effective meetings
To improve the effectiveness of your plant’s morning meetings, I propose that you ask yourselves some of the following basic questions:
Effective meeting characteristics
Some very effective meetings I have attended share some of the following characteristics:
Personally, I believe it is good to have meetings if they are productive, and it is a given that attendees must include operations and maintenance people at a minimum. If the purpose of your meetings is to spread information, you can sometimes accomplish this using internal televisions and computer networks. With those capabilities, you can possibly have fewer meetings.
About the author:
Christer Idhammar is president of IDCONInc., a Raleigh, N.C.-based reliability and maintenance management consulting firm which specializes in education, training and implementation of improved operations, reliability and maintenance management practices. To learn more, visit www.idcon.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.