Managers Meeting

Listening to a blog from Hubstaff’s series for entrepreneurs I keyed in on the managers’ meeting held each week where every aspect of the business reported on how that department was doing and how all the employees were functioning. It’s probably a normal business practice but as a self-employed businesswoman, it struck a nerve.

I made list of the numerous aspects of my business for which I am solely responsible. I reserved the meeting space at my new co-working office, Gather, in downtown Richmond, VA. Located on the first floor in the coworking area, the room is blanketed with windows. This is important to remember.

Today, from 1:00pm – 3:00pm, was the meeting. It began with a thank you to each of my business managers for showing up. Each manager, in turn, had her say. The CEO, that would be me, lead the meeting, giving equal time to each department. In turn, each manager, dressed in individual attire, gave a report on how that department is running, what the concerns are, how they are succeeding, what help they need, and what their hopes are for the future.

The biggest challenge, aside from those windows, seemed to be the lack of a secretary.  Notes were essential as comments were sure to be important but who could do that? I had a couple of friends volunteer to help but the meeting was exclusively for mangers. Turns out, each manager was able to discuss issues as well as make notations in the shared binder.

Alright, let’s just lay it on the line – I felt a bit silly when anyone walked by! Picture me, in plain view, having a nonstop two-hour discussion with one person visibly in the room, chairs and floor draped with different shirts and hats, which, one by one, I put on, department by department. Embodying the various aspects of my business was critical – each one has a separate mood so each one needed its own piece of clothing. Obviously acting cannot happen isolated from the presentation of the character. Finance manager had a crisp shirt wearing small blue spectacles. Photography manager showed up wearing a funky New Orleans hat with camera in tow. The marketing/sales woman predictably wore a very modern flowy silk shirt being the queen bee she thinks she is.

Reestablishing the camera as the core of the business formally known as Elli Morris stills & motion is the most fundamental concept of the managers’ meeting. The camera must reach out to vibrantly radiate into each department yet simultaneously every department must be equally represented – and appreciated – in the company. Social responsibility got separated from marketing, which is now responsible for just getting new jobs. HR had happy news to report that taking risks and following her gut proved very successful in the new location. Videography needs to get a grip on her snarkiness through new technical workshops, which the Professional Development department can secure. Editing is actually a happy manager that, after 3 years of a steep previously ungrateful learning curve, has found ways to utilize her organizational skills as master of storytelling. Finance promises to stop being a bully, a creeper, but will be given proper time to be front and center. Photography, the sweet little child that started this all, silently dropped a few tears, quietly began to speak, found a way to ask for more time every single week in the company, and was given freedom by the CEO to turn in her report using cutout photos, crayons, and colors with the stipulation she must make it beautiful. Music to her soul. Every aspect of my soul, I might add.

Collaboration and the need to farm out several aspects of different departments also rang loud and clear. With much relief, I’m looking forward to letting go of some of these positions. Running my own business and overseeing 8 different department managers is a perfect script for insanity!

Creativity can be the most brilliant source for anything you need it to be. Not only do I highly recommend it, even a stranger in the building stated the managers meeting was “Smart.”

The selfies are for you, Jill & Bill.

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