The delightful phrase repeated by a recorded voice in the London tube warns passengers to “mind the gap.” If you speak “American,” typically you find this quaint and amusing. We of course would say something more foreboding and less memorable: Warning: Severe injury or death is possible if you cross this line. The English are much more civilized.
Take a tip from them as you are building a fast-growth culture. All of those “gaps” in your structure or processes are places to get into trouble. The gaps cause lost time, inefficiencies, customer dissatisfaction, internal competition, and lost opportunities. There’s a gap between marketing and sales. A gap between sales and operations. A gap between customer service and R&D. You know them; they are everywhere, even if you are still small.
So if you must have a meeting, why not have one occasionally to “mind the gaps?”
You need the right people on the platform, which means a cross-functional group. Their job at such a meeting is to focus entirely on the spaces between them, not their own internal processes. Don’t forget the other best practices for meetings–prepare ahead of time, use collaborative tools, document fast and easily. In that precious time you are spending together, identify gaps; then build bridges to get over them or add glue to make them disappear.
Mind the gaps and your company will become more efficient, more expert, and more attentive to detail. You will have happier employees and more satisfied customers.
This is Blog Post #6 of a 10-post series devoted to “How to Get More Work Done in Meetings and Make More Money.” Stay tuned for the rest of the series. I welcome your comments and suggestions–how do you handle the gaps?
For more resources and discussion forums about building a fast-growth culture in your company, visit our online community, http://www.thewhalehunters.com.