If you are building a team, toolbox meetings should be a key part of your strategy. However, what exactly is a toolbox meeting? It is a training session where team members learn about the tools and techniques that you use to build your business and about other people and processes who you work with. The problem is that often we confuse the use of training with the use of lectures.
The key difference between a toolbox meeting and lecture is that you don't just tell someone what to do. In fact, you don't even really introduce the person to the concept of using the tools. You are simply allowing them to gain some insight into the way things are done in your company, without needing to engage them in a discussion. And that is what will make the difference between a toolbox meeting and a good lecture.
One of the key benefits of effective toolbox meetings is that they enable team members to see how everything operates. They learn about the strategies and tactics used by the managers to achieve their goals, and they become more aware of how they can benefit from such strategies and tactics. This gives the team members a greater sense of ownership of the overall direction of the company, which is key to creating better results.
So, how does one design an effective toolbox meeting? First, they need to consider a number of issues. The first is the type of tools that they will be using.
Will the people involved in the meeting to be members of the team or just an observer? Will it be a one-on-one or a group setting? Will it be a follow-up meeting for the team? Will it be held regularly or once a month?
And how about the type of audience - the team members or just the observer? How many people will attend the meeting and will there be any time restrictions? All these questions are critical and should be answered before anyone starts to plan a toolbox meeting.
Of course, not all tools are suitable for all teams. Some might require that the people who will be participating in the meeting are the same people who will be doing the business anyway. That means that the tools that you will use in a toolbox meeting will have to be focused on those skills.
Learning about effective toolbox meetings should also include a discussion of the people involved. Are they on your team? Do they represent the same roles and functions as the team members?
It is important that each member of the group understands that he or she is expected to contribute as much as the others to the success of the meeting. If one of the members feels that the group members are not contributing in a way that they should, this could undermine the purpose of the meeting.
Also, group members should understand that the goals and objectives for the meeting should be carefully considered and that members are expected to contribute to that. All too often, people want to leave the planning of the meeting to the leaders or decision makers. But these individuals aren't always the best people to be making decisions because their own motivation, commitment and skills might be mismatched to the group's needs.
One of the most important elements of learning about effective toolbox meetings is that participants are motivated to succeed. In the end, these efforts will be measured by the performance of the people involved in the meeting.
By getting involved in learning about effective toolbox meetings, team members will be able to develop skills that will be useful in the long run. It may be a little bit slower than developing skills on their own, but the impact is likely to be much larger.