How to use touch point meetings to get ahead

To kick off the year, there’s little doubt if you work for a company, you know what your goals are; your sales goals, your personal goals and your company’s goals. If you don’t know what your goals are, or haven’t set goals, I would highly recommend doing so ASAP!

Once you have your goals, the question becomes “how am I going to achieve my goals and the company’s goals this year?” This is where touch point meetings become advantageous. What is a touch point meeting? To put it simply, a touch point meeting is a brief, one-on-one visit with another co-worker; typically between a manager and a direct report.

How can touch point meetings be an effective tool to help you get ahead, not only in achieving your 2017 goals, but also advancing your personal career? I reached out to Dan Schwartz, Founder of the Ground Floor Leadership Institute, to discover how to effectively use touch point meetings to get ahead.

Dan, what is the value of touch point meetings for individuals who have a strong desire to be successful?

“Every employee has goals they want to achieve in their career and it is the manager’s role to be the facilitator of their direct report’s success. Having touch-point meetings on a regular basis (monthly or bi-weekly) with a subordinate allows them to have dedicated time with their manager to discuss an action plan to achieve both short-term and long-term goals, monitor progress towards those goals, and make any necessary adjustments along the way.”

As Dan pointed out, it requires effort on both managers and direct reports to succeed. Without frequent interaction, how can you expect to stay on target and ensure that everyone’s interests and strategies are aligned? Use touch point meetings as often as possible to stay on track and gain valuable insights on how to better succeed.

Dan, how can highly motivated individuals prepare for touch point meetings with upper management, to make them most effective?

“Subordinates should walk into a touch-point meeting prepared to discuss the following:

• Challenges they are having with projects and assignments
• Progress on assigned tasks and deliverables
• Strategies on how their manager can make them more successful

A great way to capture the above information and prepare it for the meeting is in a status report with a list of assignments, due dates, and an update for each one on challenges and progress.”

The word that comes to mind for me is initiative. Having a clear understanding of what needs accomplished and when it needs accomplished by is crucial for success. Instead of waiting for someone to tell you what to do, get ahead by using the time during touch point meetings to discuss strategies and how to overcome challenges.

Dan, what is one thing that should be resolved/decided upon at every touch point meeting?

“At the end of a touch point meeting, there should be a clear agreement upon what action items are to be completed both for the manager and the direct report between now and the next touch-point meeting. This could include:

• Tasks to be completed
• Meetings/Conversations to be conducted
• Research to be done
• Training to be attended

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list but are examples of things that may need to be done. Bottom Line: At the end of every touch-point meeting, a clear plan should be in place for how to move forward.”

One of the biggest reasons people fail to reach their goals or get ahead in their career is they don’t have definite plans of action to follow. Make sure at your next touch point meeting that not only do you have a plan, but upper management is aligned with your plan and willing to assist in your success.

If you want to learn more about touch point meetings or how to become a Ground Floor Leader in your company or industry, visit Dan’s website, sign up for his newsletter or follow Dan on social media.

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Blog - Building a Business of Integrity - Part 1

When I started my previous company, I didn’t care what computer I was working on. So long as the customer was paying, it was fair game. That’s how I ran my business for more than five years; I worked with nearly anyone that approached me.

However, even though fixing computers and building websites isn’t typically a matter of morality, there were a few instances where my clients “rubbed me the wrong way.” They gave off a strange vibe and I didn’t feel comfortable working with them. Though this happened very infrequently, it did still happen.

A few years later, when I began my professional development coaching business, I had the thought in my mind that “I could help anyone succeed!” But I realized not everyone would be a good fit. A business relationship (or any relationship for that matter) must be mutually beneficial.

Next I sat down and started listing qualities I felt would align with my own. Almost like the hand-sketched drawings that police use to find a criminal, I now have a “sketch” of the type of person I’m looking to work with. By targeting people and businesses with these specific characteristics, I’m able to provide the most value.

Overall, there are 11 characteristics that make up my ideal client, though the first is arguably the most important: integrity.

I’m not referring to a person who is strict and only focused on doing things by the book. I’m talking about a person who is in business to serve people; someone who conducts their business and themselves in a manner that is fair, up-front, and considerate for everyone involved.

I’m so passionate about building my own business with integrity, and helping others do the same, that I’ve decided to write an entire blog series on what it means to build a business with integrity. Over the course of the next few months, I will release a series of posts that are designed to make you think about the way you conduct your business. When you decide to make integrity one of the most important parts of your business and life, you will no doubt see incredible results and make long lasting relationships. Stayed tuned for the this upcoming blog series!

If you like what you’ve read or have comments about businesses of integrity, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or send me a message at [email protected]!

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Guest Interview with Monte Clarke -

One of biggest reasons that I have been successful in business is by taking the time to learn from other successful business people. Any opportunity that arises for me to sit down and visit with another successful business person and ask them what they do differently that makes them successful is like a digging in a vain of solid gold. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. If you want to learn how to be successful in any area of business or life, study the people who are extremely talented in that particular facet. Not only have I gained priceless insights from these interactions, it has also inspired me to share all the knowledge I have acquired over the years with others, to help them become more successful in a shorter period of time.

Monte Clarke - Blog

Monte Clarke
Blogger on Family Business

Most recently, I have had the opportunity to visit with and get to know a very generous, insightful and inspiring gentleman by the name of Monte Clarke. Monte is a fellow Western Kansan from the booming metropolis of Great Bend. I have known Monte for several years, as his son Matthew and I became good friends in college. Only recently though have I had the chance to visit with Monte about our common interests, and acquire exceptionally good knowledge that will benefit my clients in the future.

Much like myself, Monte has spent a significant amount of his life working in his family’s business. For any of you that have ever worked with relatives or close friends, you understand the unique challenges that often occur. It takes extra patience and understanding to effectively operate a family business. From his experiences and struggles of being a part of his family’s business, Monte is now focused on helping other family-owned businesses overcome their challenges and plan for the future through his blog In an exclusive interview, I asked Monte about a few particular challenges of being in a family owned business, and how he approached these challenges. Below are the questions I asked him, and the excellent insight he was able to give!

Monte, tell us about how you got started in business and the struggles you faced entering the business.

“After completing my education, I had the opportunity to enter our family business, which consisted of a farm and livestock operation, and a water-related contracting firm. Although similar to the average business, entering a family business presents a few extra challenges. In the beginning, it was essential to simply learn and experience business operations day to day. Everyone involved, especially non-family members, had to be sold on the idea that we could actually perform our tasks, not just show up for a paycheck. Later challenges included guiding the direction of the company, and assisting the transition of the business to next generation members.”

All businesses go through cycles of good times and tough times. What is the secret for maintaining the course, in both the good times and the tough times?

“A good business plan and mission statement. Knowing who you are and how you will do it will make you much more efficient and lean through the bad times. When things are going your way, be mindful of your growth, and the cycles that you encounter. During your climb to the top, remember, it’s a long way down.”

You worked alongside family on a daily basis. How did that affect the demeanor in which you went about your individual tasks and priorities in the business?

“When you have great ideas, a great system, and throw in some hard work, business looks easy. With family members, or partners in general, the tough part is communication and collective thinking. When things move fast within the company, it is always a challenge to keep everyone on board and up to date as you’re moving forward.”

Being a part owner of a business, you faced a lot of distractions throughout your day. How did you manage to stay focused on your own priorities, while still taking care of other people’s needs?

“Establish a system that works for you, then practice it daily. Personally, I like to start my day early, and evaluate my priorities. If you work on your own, stay organized and don’t allow others to dictate your schedule. If you work with a team, be confident that you can delegate to others. Don’t make things complicated, don’t break it down into too many pieces. My personal advice: if your team is happy, and your clients are happy, you’re doing something right.”

What one piece of advice would you give to individuals who are going into business with other friends or family?

“I actually have two points; one can’t go without the other. First, do it for the right reasons. When an idea is born as a business, everyone is required to contribute, from the first concept to the final sale. If you don’t fit, or it doesn’t work to your thinking, don’t get involved. The simple fact that you’re family or friends isn’t enough. Second, be very thorough with your agreements and initial contracts. Dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’. You must be very impersonal in the planning stages to come up with a business plan that works for everyone. A failed venture is hard on everyone, and has the potential for hard feelings. Plan ahead; if it doesn’t work out, you can still get along and be family, which should be a priority from day one.”

My conclusions. BlogThrough our interview and one-on-one discussions, Monte and I have visited in length about the similar challenges we have both faced throughout our careers. If there’s one piece of advice that I try to instill in my clients, and Monte has emphasized just as equally, is that having definitive plans is the best road to becoming successful and being able to overcome obstacles.

I would highly encourage you to follow along with Monte’s blog for more excellent advice on succeeding in business. Even if you’re not in a family business or partnered with close friends, we all struggle to work with others on a daily basis. A little knowledge from people who have decades of experience can help open your eyes to solutions you may have never thought of!

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