August '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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16 || P R I N T W E A R A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 Vince DiCecco is a dynamic and sought-after seminar speaker and author with a unique perspective on busi- ness development and management subjects, primarily in the decorated and promotional apparel industries. With over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and training, he is presently an independent consultant to various apparel decorating businesses looking to im- prove profitability and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his new website at, and send email to YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS TRAINER B Y V I N C E D I C E C C O Y ou probably have a friend or two that just can't stop them- selves from forwarding cute little email cartoons and jokes. Look at the one below I received not long ago: Unfortunately, it makes a valid point. Throughout your work career, how productive have the meetings you've attended been? I can't say even 25 percent of the ones I've taken part in bore much fruit. Heck, I've even been to meetings to plan meetings. Sound familiar? In running a business, you have finite resources. You only have so many people, so much money, "x" number of machines, etc. Another such resource is time. Like it or not, there are still only 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. We routinely waste this asset with our employees when we ought to invest more time with our customers, suppliers, and other influential people in the industry. There is an appropriate time for management to hear from and talk to others in the organization. It just shouldn't consume the bulk of the work day. I submit to you that the following are the seven most heinous crimes of meeting management. PRE-MEETING SINS Deadly sin 1: No agenda. Have you ever received an invitation to a meeting that had no stated purpose or reason? It's like being invited to a party and not knowing why you are attending, who the guest of honor is, what activities are planned, what you should wear, or how to prepare. There is something to be said for spontaneity, but meet- ings are not the time or place. It doesn't take long to put together an agenda that contains a start and end time, the list of topics to be discussed, and a brief reminder of who will be expected to present information at the meeting or who will be facilitating each topic. I've seen agendas published and circulated well in advance of the meeting that contained the minutes from the last meeting, a restate- ment of the mission of the group, and a list of decisions that will be made at this meeting. Such an agenda helps keep everyone more focused, prepared, and genuinely looking forward to attending. Deadly sin 2: Right meeting, wrong people. How many people are "too many" for a meeting? All-employee meetings should af- ford everyone an opportunity to attend, participate, and benefit. But not every meeting should include everybody. Invite only the people that have a vested interest in the topics to be discussed or who will be impacted the most by any decision made. Department heads can represent their respective teams and present informa- tion on behalf of those individuals, regardless of the diversity of thought among the group. Even if the right people are in the meetings, not everyone needs to attend the entire meeting. Choreograph the meeting to allow certain people to be dismissed after particular topics or hold off on hav- ing select people join the meeting until the subject of their interest is raised. If key personnel—ones with specific accountability and decision-making authority—are not able to be present, table that topic for the next meeting or reschedule the entire thing, whichever is appropriate. Too many times I've seen meeting attendees make key decisions in the absence of the person ultimately responsible for the success or failure of an initiative, only to have all the group's effort countermanded and reversed. What a waste! SINFUL BEHAVIOR DURING MEETINGS Deadly sin 3: Poor leadership. Every meeting needs to have a desig- nated leader—preferably, one with objectivity, vision, and influence within the group. That may not always be the ranking member How guilty is your company? The 7 Deadly Sins of Meetings Look at the one below I received not long ago: have finite resources. You only have so many people, so much continued on page 18

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