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Phil: Hey, welcome to Martial Arts Business Success. In this episode, me, Phil Bitten, and Graham McDonnell is gonna give you some great advice, tips, tools, and strategies on how you can transform your business. Graham, what have we got?
Graham: This one's probably one that I really enjoy, because we do this on a regular basis, how to run powerful meetings. Geez, you know, it may sound simple, but in all honesty, if you've never had a mentor or someone to guide you how to be effective with your meetings that really have your team leave empowered, but productive, without spending an entire day doing it, geez, you're flying blind. So very first thing that we do is have agenda items. Think about the things that you wanna get done, because meetings shouldn't be drawn out and dragged out.
Like we have power meetings, we have short meetings, five-minute meetings. Most off and off we've had managers' meetings that are about an hour, 60 minutes, and the stuff that we can cover in there sets up the week, it could reframe the entire month, but geez, it's not just dragged out procrastinating [SP]. So, you know, it's really clear to have agenda items, which helps you to stay on track, not get distracted. So, Phil, what do we do when we run our meetings with our staff? Who do we have that keeps us on track? Is that me? You? One of them?
Phil: I think there's two things that we're gonna think about with like getting side-tracked, there's two ways. Now you can get side-tracked and go down an avenue of a topic that's gonna open up a hole when you kettle a fish. And this can just go on and on and on and we get completely side-tracked rather than stay on track with our meeting and get, you know, the things that are important done.
Second thing that sort of happens is sometimes a meeting can dive in energy. It can dive and everyone get bored, or like you can see on their faces like it's a bit of a drag if you're going through stats and stuff. So, yes, you definitely need someone who's willing to keep the meeting on track, bring it back to the topics that are at hand so we can accomplish the goals. You know, you would have heard about a previous podcast about a list, job list, A1s, A2s. You know, your meeting has to stick to a list as well. So you wanna make sure that someone's bringing that back into alignment.
And then also, like I said, if the meeting's diving in energy, there's nothing worse than letting it dive. You know, just think about class that we teach, and if the energy is down, what do you do? Pattern interrupt. And you've got to do the same in your meetings as well. So quick game of sevens, quick game of...you know, different things you can do, happy sappy, whatever you decide that you can do. It's quick, it's fast, it levels up the energy and then, bang, you're back into the meeting.
Graham: Look, you know, for some of our viewers and listeners, they're gonna be like, "Well, we kind of do this anyway." If you were a fly on the wall with some of our meetings here, I know that the way that we talk and communicate to our staff is very different. Yes, we have an agenda, yes, we know what's going to happen and we keep on track, but the way that we talk, we look to get buy-in. And what we mean by buy-in is often we will have an item that we're discussing, and, for example, we were discussing some stats recently, some numbers. And instead of going, you know, "What happened here?" blah-blah-blah, we also go...we had four key areas that we wanted to look back over.
And as a group and as, you know, a different branch, we said, "Look, guys, go over your stats, go over your numbers, and then give us a bit of a summary on what you think and why you got these results." So we didn't come in guns blazing, we just asked their opinions. And it's more powerful when you get your staff buy-in by them saying, "By the way, this occurred, that happened, this happened, that happened." So, you know, it's a really great way as an owner, as a manager, as a leader, rather than just be reactive with the results, be a little bit more proactive and get that buy-in with your team. That's just one key component of getting that staff buy-in. What are some of the other stuff that we do, mate, when we talk to our guys?
Phil: Well, again, the difference of level of responsibility in a meeting, too. So if I was talking about a branch manager's meeting, for example, where, you know, you've got the owners, that's us two, we've got a general manager who like keeps the meeting on track, makes sure that those agenda items are there, then you've got the branch manager and then [inaudible 00:04:06]. So you're gonna find that in our meeting, in a branch manager meeting, that a lot of those open-ended questions are, "Why is that? And how come that happened?" To find out more, really to train and give the branch manager that voice, and for us to sort of guide them through the answer that we think. And then at the end of that, then we add our value in.
But then we'll often also throw little bite size chunks of, "So what is it to us they think about that? What's your opinion?" Because at the end of the day, you know, we want that buy-in from all of our staff. And I really want everyone to feel like they've got a voice. And there's nothing worse than being involved in a business that, you know, your boss is at the top pointing a finger... You know, in martial arts term you probably heard of the super sentai, you know. So that just does not have a place in our business.
And we've had some other people be a fly on the wall in our meeting and say, "Wow, I've never seen so many staff members have a voice and feel like they can open up." Whether the advice or tip or strategy is right or wrong, it still needs to be heard. Because that's the experience that we're gonna be on, that when we step away, that we can trust and rely on our staff to get the job that needs to be done.
Graham: Hang on, there's also two approaches that we have at our meetings that you may sort of start to pick up on. I'd love you guys to share in that. We'll probably have a podcast where we get you guys to sit on a meeting with us so you can see it live. But we use these as also leadership training, and it's done subtlety because the language we use will start to leave a legacy for our staff to then treat their staff and so on and so forth. Because if we have this dictatorship and point the finger, what do you think they're gonna do to their team?
So, when we empower our staff to have a voice, an opinion, it flows down here on a really great way. And as you pointed out, Phil, until I see second-in-charge wanna be a second-in-charge forever. They will be a manager one day, they will be an owner one day. So we're grooming them to really embrace the next level of training. And you can't do a course, you can't just go and read a book, it's real life stuff and using the correct language.
I know that there's been plenty of times where we have as a strategy, here's the results, we get their opinion, and they give us the reason behind it, and then we offer our things as you said. And a great way that we use that wording is, "Look, fantastic results. If it was me, I probably would have done it like this, but next time we try, let's make sure we give it a go and see the results then."
So I reframe that...probably the results that weren't really positive, into a way where they go away, go great, I've got some strategies, the boss has got my back, next time around we'll try it their way. So that's a really great way to tune your meetings from being a drag to really empowered and positive thing. Now, what happens when we're talking about the everyday day-to-day stuff that needs to be done? You know, things need to happen, whatnot. We talk about accountability, deadlines, and whatnot. What are some of the tips for our viewers and listeners that we do to make sure that these guys are going, "Look, it's done, it will be done by this, this and this date"?
Phil: Yeah, at the end of the day, I think, you know... If I said to Graham, "All right, so you're going to improve this area of the business. You're okay with that? You're gonna do that? Yeah, great. Cool, no worries, you got it." Then a week goes past and I say, "Graham, how did you go with that task?" And you're like, "I haven't even started it." Because I never set the expectation or the deadline that I expected from my staff member. So you wanna make sure that when there's a topic that needs to be addressed, there's accountability and there's a deadline. And we even go to, you know, if it's something important or a bit a joke, you know, we all go, "When should this be done by? Okay, Tuesday next week by 3:49, no later." And I mean 3:49. And why do we put like a weird number on that? Because it's actually memorable, and they're accountable to that day, they're accountable to that number, that time of the day, and I expect them to be done.
And then last but not least, you know, there's always a bit of punishment. A lot harder to start with obviously, this continues and needs to be addressed and written warnings and have blah-blah-blah, but you know... And usually, it's a bit of fun. It's like, "Well, you know, that's 50 burpees. If you don't give it to me..." They're a minute late, 50 burpees in front of the whole staff. We'll video that and we'll later put that on social media as a bit of a laugh for all our students. So accountability, deadlines, and a little bit of a fun sort of punishment for not doing it. Obviously, if they continue not meeting the deadline, that needs to be addressed in a different way.
Graham: And I suppose what you're starting to see, again, [inaudible 00:08:32], is that underlying leadership. We have some expectations, we set out some boundaries of what we're looking for, our friendly nature and warm nature isn't to be taken advantage of. We still run a business and we still need results and we're result-driven. But you can definitely do that not by having the stick and the old carrot sort of thing. So, rewarding your staff, being nice, but also being serious about it needs to be done, because we are very much a results-driven school and we have deadlines. Things, testings, and gradings of things. If things aren't addressed properly, they get missed and then we have a pretty serious issue.
So, I guess, one final thing that we do to really make sure everybody is on the same page is we send minutes. So, somebody will be really sort of delegated at the start to be taking the minutes, what's going on, and then also there's accountability items. So individually, Phil has got some tasks here on his own, but in the minutes sent out, we'll also have a list of when it was gonna be done, and also to the thing that we do, we'll throw it to him.
So, Phil, before we finish off today, what were the three things that you needed? Give me your deadlines, give me your days, give me so on and so on. I know you know them. So it's really important just to go around with two or three or four other people and just make sure that you know they've got it and the importance behind it. So it's a simple formula that we use, but honestly it will make massive changes in your business if you apply this meeting structure. They'll be powerful, they won't be long-winded, and you will get some major, major changes in results in all aspects.
Phil: Absolutely. Gang, you know, there's so much to meetings, and that was just a snapshot into the overview on what we were doing, how we do. If you want some more information on how we run some meetings, shoot us an email, [email protected]. Check us out in the website, we'd love to help you out. Remember, this show is all about answering the questions that you need to know to help drive and build your business. So please, send your questions in and we'd love to answer the best we can. Other than that, guys, we hope to see you soon and we've got another great podcast coming for you next week. So, enjoy, go again this week, and most important, have fun.
Graham: Thanks, guys. Just a quick one, very, very sweet, very quick, if you want to sit down on a meeting with us, drop us an email, let us know. Because we don't wanna just create that stuff just to bore you guys. If it's got value, you think you'd like to see it, please do so, and we'll make you guys as a fly on the wall in a meeting with us and you can see what we do and how we have fun. So take care guys. Go get them.
Some of what you'll find...