Meetings are inevitable. I realize some meetings are better than others and some are on life support. How often is it that you get a meeting cancellation in your inbox and you almost jump for joy? Me too. But there is one meeting that gets cancelled more often than not for the wrong reason and it is usually held for the wrong reason to begin with. I am talking about the daily production or after event review meeting.

This daily, sometimes shiftly, meeting talks about safety, quality, and productivity as well as customer requirements, returns and a good one has triggers and scorecards so that vast majority of day in and day out issues do not take center stage but only the extraordinary events, countermeasures and making tomorrow better are the focus points. Sometimes, though, it is cancelled because we are “running so good, the meeting would be a waste of time.”

Waste of time? Really? You mean the meeting that we talked about all the mistakes and blamed a couple of guys for yesterday was a good use of time but today, it is running so well that there is nothing to talk about? Here are a couple of items that you may want to discuss when the site is running well:

Why is it running so well? Is it because Johnny is back from vacation, Tony turned off the QC equipment, we are running only one SKU? To me this is a great question. What has changed from yesterday that is making this day work so well? What can we do to replicate this? What can be learned and replicated?

Another question is, why do we think it is running well? Are the measures that we are looking truly gauge the customers experience? Is the P&L telling us the correct story? Is there another view that may point out areas for concern? Most of the meetings I go to don’t have this theme at all. “This is what corporate wants us to measure so…” or “If it ain’t broke don’t look at it” or some other derivative on the theme.

If the metrics make sense and one finds out what has changed and documented it, the next question could be, “Let’s drain the pool some more and find the next rock.” By this I mean, if in the past you only talked about downtime over 20 minutes or a customer complaint over $500, maybe it’s time to go to 10 minutes or $200. Or for that matter, may be you should look at number of instances instead of magnitude. If I am always having the line stop but it only lasts 2 minutes or if the orders from customer Y keep getting mismanaged, that may be a better use of time then the one-off catastrophes that occur from time to time. And those outliers should have been handled before you got to this point anyway.

My thought is, we should be talking more about successes because they usually have clues about how to repeat them or at least a glimpse of what could be. Focusing on the positives can also help motivate those team members that are struggling.