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Episode 23: How to Set Up Your Accounting Firm's Meeting Rhythm
TIME and FOCUS ~ are two important factors for work productivity. Now, how to achieve both without losing the other?
In this episode of The Wize Guys, Brenton Ward and Jamie Johns talk about the importance of setting up meeting structures in your firm to help your teams improve productivity, save time, reduce hassle, and attain goals.
So, make sure to grab a pen and paper for another action-packed episode.
0:52 - The importance of having team meetings
2:35 - Management vs Leadership
3:50 - Why you should create an extraordinary system
4:09 - The concept of daily huddles
5:36 - Best practices for a meeting
7:19 - 3-question guide to achieving a seamless flow
9:14 - The argument of losing time
“There are so many benefits to having the right meetings and also running the meetings right. And I think it was Peter Drucker who said, management is doing the right things, but leadership management is doing things right.” - Jamie Johns
“...one of the main principles from the aim of Michael Gerber's book in the south often prefer to, but it's all about systematization. And if we create a system in each of these meeting structures, we increase the chances of them being implemented into the fabric of the business and into the culture.” - Brenton Ward
“It also fits into the Ethos, Brenton, that it always says create extraordinary systems so that you don't need extraordinary people.” - Jamie Johns
“...there's always, that allows for that priority to the filters at the top. And everyone else on that team instantly knows that that becomes a priority. This is the power of the daily huddle.” - Jamie Johns
“I think it's not about perfection, it's about improving…like Ed, said, it's not an exact science, but providing you're doing it and you've got 80% of it, right? And it works and achieves the goals, which are filtering the priorities to the top and ultimately services servicing your clients.” - Jamie Johns
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“There are so many benefits to having the right meetings and also running the meetings right. And I think it was Peter Drucker who said, management is doing the right things, but leadership management is doing things right.”
Brenton Ward: Instructions that we say on the screen here as to why most meetings don't work in businesses and how to change that. But as I said, we're going to focus on the daily huddle and the weekly tactical today. But Jamie, just to kind of recap on the importance of having a meeting structure bites, what are some of the fallen points that we need to remind ourselves as to why having these meetings and forth?
Jamie Johns: Yeah, I mean, there are some points there on the, on the screen there Brenton, but you know, a capital would come to mind is, is even in terms of the daily huddle, just the amount of emails and text messages and other forms of communication that it would reduce would be phenomenal if we didn't catch up at least sort of every day.
So, the thing is like, what I like to call about the meetings is it sort of the pulse of the business? And I think then talks about that too. To some extent, it's almost like the lifeblood or the pulse and the rhythm of the business, the faster, the pulse and the faster, the communication and overcoming those barriers that the faster, the right information will get to the right people. And not only that, its massive flaw is alignment. Like how do you get five or seven people in a team alive and then say, you've got multiple teams? And then like even senior client managers and executive team above that the key to it is getting alignment and everyone on the same page, you know, what system are we using? Are we using the system the right way, or are we using the right checklist?
There are so many benefits to having the right meetings and also running the meetings right. And I think it was Peter Drucker who said, management is doing the right things, but leadership management is doing things right. This was really about leadership is going to get teams and saying, look we, haven't got this meeting. I think we need to have these meetings. And here's why, and then, you know, overcoming people, roll their eyes and say, oh, not another meeting. Well, the leadership you'll, you'll instill these meetings for all the benefits that I've just said. And, you know, alignment saves time. It saves money, and better serves everyone's kept in the loop. Everyone's on the same page, you know, it goes on and on the benefits.
BrentonWard: Absolutely. And I think as you mentioned that Peter Drucker, leadership versus management, this also comes back to one of the main principles from the aim of Michael Gerber's book in the south often prefer to, but it's all about systematization. And if we create a system in each of these meeting structures, we increase the chances of them being implemented into the fabric of the business and into the culture.
Jamie Johns: It also fits into the Ethos, Brenton, that it always says create extraordinary systems so that you don't need extraordinary people. And it just goes in alignment with that as well.
Brenton Ward: Yeah, absolutely. So let's dive into the daily huddle before we talk about some of the specifics. I just want to get a bit of a feel from everyone on this, and again, who is currently running a daily huddle with their team or chains on a daily basis at the moment in your firm? If you can say yes or no in the chat box, that would be great.
Jamie Johns: We should have, we should have 31 yeses.
Brenton Ward: So a few nos, a lot of yeses. Yes. But we need improvement from Craig
Jamie Johns: Answers are coming through. It's great.
Brenton Ward: Yeah, that's good.
Okay. So a mixed bag there. So for all the yeses, what I'm hoping for you is that you're able to fine-tune this process for the nose. There are going to be yeses by the end of next week. This, this is just our crucial, this daily huddle to get determined. You know, we've been implementing them, watching firms implement this over the last 10 years. And it's seriously one of them, one of the things out of everything that we coach on it, looking back firms, you know, sit there and go, I don't know how we ran that business without this meeting structure in bites and moments. So Jamie, let's talk about the daily huddle in the context of a mechanic, you can talk to us about a meeting format and then the importance of this meeting.
Jamie Johns: Yeah. Well, I'm the only, instead of probably giving two different perspectives, post and pre COVID, but you know, you know, before everyone was working from home or even, even besides that, you know, for example at our office, we really had three or four locations, we've got some of the marketing team in Sydney, we've got our offshore team in the Philippines and then, you know, we've got the offices in Ballarat and Gibson. So essentially, you know, if you're in the same office, it's great to stand up to sort of bring a bit of urgency and I guess a seriousness to the meeting and not the sort of like everyone's sitting at the desk. So if you are in the office, I think it's a good thing. If you can, and I've witnessed out, at least on the, doing this standing up, getting around and, and going around.
The other thing is with Zoom and Microsoft Teams and all that sort of thing, and multiple offices in different, you know, working remotely and working from home, then it's just a matter. Obviously jumping in your schedule time and a really critical point Brenton to the, to the system is to not sort of getting bogged down in the technology. A lot of firms where will probably share the strain, that job management system, but they sort of getting bogged down in the technology side of it because, in this particular meeting, you really don't want it any longer than 15 minutes.
And it's those classic three questions, which you've probably got on the slides somewhere. I was saying, you know, and like, and it's very quick. I say each person needs to say, ‘Well, what am I working on? What is the list of jobs or working on the top six out of that top six, what am I going to finish today? What is my metric? What is my goal for the day? And then what am I stuck on?’ It's three very basic questions.
Now in that process, the priorities will filter the top because as a way do we always have like, ‘Ah, Joan Smith rang up yesterday and they need their tax done because I need to align their Boeing and business.’ Now, there's always, that allows for that priority to the filters at the top. And everyone else in that team instantly knows that that becomes a priority. This is the power of the daily huddle. So it's not meant to be long-winded discussions about how do I do this in some story about the clone and how they had a flat tire and all that sort of stuff with all that.
So whoever's chairing the meeting. Brenton has to be a little bit ruthless. And so Brenton that your time's up, that's all we need the night because you'll get people who try and sabotage the meeting, and then it ends up laying off an hour. That's what it's not designed for. So whoever's leading the meeting needs to be quite articulate in making sure that people stick to the timeframes and they stick to the topic. And that I go off to the side. I'm talking about other stuff. So it's essentially those three questions. ‘What am I six top jobs? And I'm working on, what am I going to get done today, or I need to be done today.’ It is about today. And then, ‘what am I stuck on?’ And it's like, ‘Rex, I'm stuck on this. Can we catch up at a routine, catch up at two o'clock the data work out my queries.’
Brenton Ward: So before we get into a few more of those specifics of the agenda, I want to walk through step by step. And so everyone's crystal clear on what each of the elements of this meeting means. We're often challenged in this meeting, Jamie, in terms of certainly the nature of accountants and bookkeepers, which had time, if we've got a team of four people, and we're taking 15 minutes a day out of each person's time, that's an hour a day that we're not charging for over a year, that could be a few thousand dollars. There is an argument in society that where we're losing time here and that the team could be charging air, but what's your normal response to that view on this main?
Jamie Johns: The normal response is it's just all the other communication that the accountants Brenton and the lack of communication as well. I think it's not about perfection, it's about improving.
You know, I spoke to a firm today this morning from Canada, and that was sort of doing the dialing huddle on Slack now that was working for them. So as long as the systems are efficient and it achieves the outcomes or the goals of the meeting. ‘What are the outcomes it's to remove blockages to production?’ and it's to make sure the mind jobs get the priority that they deserve. So, I think a lot of this stuff, like Ed, said, it's not an exact science, but providing you're doing it and you've got 80% of it, right. And it works and achieves the goals, which are filtering the priorities to the top and ultimately services servicing your clients.
So, while people might say, they get hung up on the cost of having the daily huddle, consider the cost of not doing it right. And the truth of that will be in your growth. It'll be in your net promoter score, and it'll be your ability to keep the clients and win more. So, it's just to focus on the outputs. That is the critical thing. But if you don't have the daily huddle and things start falling down, well, you're going to need a way to point the where the point of the problem too.