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Stefanie Krievins on How Great Meetings Empower Great Employees and Teams

Typically, troublemakers engage in various types of behavior that are notorious for being disruptive and negative, but Executive Coach and Pro Troublemaker, Stefanie Krievins, has turned a good kind of troublemaking into a powerful team management tool.

“A Pro Troublemaker leads themselves first, with: focus and adaptability, optimism and charisma, and resilience. They also build the strength of the team and those around them, while planning and executing on strategy” Stefanie Krievins, founder of Stefanie Krievins & Co.

When the company culture gauge is hovering in negative territory, staff complain about meetings and work is less enjoyable. More often than not, unfavorable changes are directly connected to team communication dynamics. To improve team communications, employers and employees need to collaborate in new ways, host better meetings, and participate better in meetings. Stefanie and her team are revamping team dynamics and staff meetings with change management coaching programs that fix hot messes and create Pro Troublemakers. Her creative group of corporate misfits brings the Pro Troublemaking mindset to small, privately-held businesses across the US.

How the Pro Troublemaker was born

In her early 30s, Stefanie had entered her third job after grad school and hated it; she felt out of place. On one hand, she was loaded down with meticulous work involving hundreds of thousands of spreadsheet cells. While on the other hand, leaders and co-workers depended on her for focus and clarity in their own work and as a team. “I kept asking myself how did I get here again doing the minutiae of a job that I hate when I’m not a detail-oriented person,” she said.

Upon this realization, Stefanie confided in a friend who was also a life coach. He helped her see that she always had the courage to say what everyone else was thinking, a free-thinker and speaker, if you will. He told her that she naturally has the skills to bring out the truth and authenticity in others. She just needed the training to bring her vision to fruition. And within three sessions, he helped her come to a life-altering decision. “Coaching changed my life and made me brave enough to say, ‘This is what I want out of my life and career,’ and held me accountable for making it happen. For that, I’m extremely grateful,” Stefanie said. So, she finally decided that she no longer desired to live out another CEO’s vision or play office politics; she wanted to lead with influence and create positive organizational change.

She concluded her education in 2014 and started Stefanie Krievins & Co. The company specializes in guiding leaders and organizations toward clarity and focus. They work with CEOs, managing directors, and mid-level leaders to help them recognize what they need to do to drive positive change in the workplace. Her formula for success involves redefining the concept of a team, laying out guidelines for hosting attention-grabbing meetings, and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

What is a team?

Companies often define teams as groups of people with the same manager, but as Stefanie points out, the only thing that connects them is that they have the same boss. A team is a group of individuals that should have no more than four to twelve people on it that are responsible for shared results. The work unifies the team, not the manager.

For teams to work together and productively collaborate, Stefanie says that “leaders need to set the context for a team achieving shared results together—if that’s truly what the expectation is versus trying to force people to collaborate and make decisions together when they’re not all responsible for how those decisions play out.” She noted that failure to do this can lead to confusion, disharmony, and resentment. Pro Troublemakers and leaders that understand this tend to be more successful at creating a positive culture and producing results.

A great meeting is a kickass meeting!

After setting the context, leaders need to make sure the team uses its time together in the most powerful way. There are three steps to a great meeting with purpose, problem-solving and collaborative participation. First, outstanding conversations start with preparation. Begin with an agenda that sets the stage for discussion, deliberation and decision making. A powerful agenda is critical; try starting the meeting with an ice-breaker that isn’t cheesy and gets the mind going. For example, what was your first job and how does that impact your work today?

Next, during the meeting, utilize a notetaker to capture decisions and track who is responsible for the follow-through. Stefanie suggests rotating the responsibility of notetaking around the team for each new meeting.

Finally, publish the notes or leave them in public view as a reminder of what the team needs to accomplish. “This is an easy way to create visibility of what is and what isn’t getting done and keeping accountability on the employee to do what they said they would, not on the manager to remember what the employee is supposed to do,” says Stefanie.

Running your meetings in this manner will give them purpose, make everyone feel important and encourage full participation during and after the fact.

Make sure decisions are visible.

In addition to posting after-meeting action steps, make sure all decisions that impact employees at all levels are visible to avoid confusion. An all too common example that causes companywide pandamonium is timesheet changes over the holidays. Due to the holidays, companies change their workflows in accounting to accommodate the additional days off. Accounting emails all employees to send in timesheets on Wednesday instead of Friday; maybe 50% of people open the email and even less comply—causing a human resources disaster when everyone returns from vacation. Things like this are easily avoided when messaging is visible and relayed to Pro Troublemakers to spread.

Breaking it all down, Stefanie Krievins & Co. teaches easily integrated straightforward concepts that won’t fall to the wayside because they work. Learn how to cultivate Pro Troublemakers, a positive work culture, and produce better results by garnering trust and creating accountability through Stefanie’s training. So, schedule a strategy call with Stefanie today to put a spring back in everyone’s step or learn how to become a more effective leader.

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