Catapult Business Growth with Healthy Team Communication

Last Updated on April 29, 2021 by Owen McGab Enaohwo

Being able to converse with members of your staff or team is the superpower every business needs. Good communication between employee-employee and employer-employee acts as a positive catalyst for your business’s growth. 

Healthy communications make working through difficulties, and celebrating successes, easier. 

That’s why in this episode of the Process Breakdown Podcast, host Dr. Jeremy Weisz features Mike Fiorenza.

They discuss steps to take to help improve conversation and problem-solving between team members, highlighting steps that can be taken to achieve adequate workflow.

Listen to the audio interview

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Show Notes

0:05 – Introduction

0:26 – Dr. Jeremy Weisz introduces himself and shares the best solution that makes documenting standard operating procedures drop-dead easy, highlighting a 14-day free trial. No credit card required.

1:43 – Dr. Weisz talks about today’s guest, Mike Fiorenza, COO of Bundren Painting.

2:31- Mr. Fiorenza talks about Bundren Paintings and the kind of projects they like to undertake.

4:11 – Mr. Fiorenza explains the kind of people his paint crew is made up of.

5:40 – Mr. Fiorenza talks about how he carries out meetings with direct reports, and how they are structured.

9:08 – The guest explains how he documents what takes place during meetings, and the software he uses.

12:34 – Mr. Fiorenza  explains the different kinds of scenarios that take place during a meeting, giving examples of the modes of evaluation, and gives examples of “red, yellow, green” situations.

  • Red being things that the company needs to stop.
  • Yellow being things the company needs to think about doing, such as integrating new software. 
  • Green being things the company needs to keep doing.

15:37 – The guest speaker gives his opinion on the appropriate number of direct reports a person could have.

16:50 – Mr. Fiorenza explains how the scorecard works, and how it helps improve productivity, leaving behind the checkbox method of keeping track of objectives.

17:51 – The guest speaker points out the disadvantages that came with using checkboxes.

20:36 – Mr. Fiorenza explains how his job is to interpret goals on their scorecard and help his workers achieve them, talking about the framework he uses for workers who come to him with their scorecards.

25:20 – The guest explains how the four Ps work, how they’re used to find out concerns and solutions for performance, priorities, people, and problems, and how he goes about handling it.

26:59 – Mr. Fiorenza gives examples of issues clients have with performance or priorities and how he handles it.

29:41 – The guest talks about celebrating successes with team members, explaining how it’s terrible to not celebrate the little wins.

31:52 – The guest speaker gives us an example of a type of issue that’s usually voiced by workers.

33:36 – Dr. Jeremy Weisz points people to Mr. Fiorenza’s website.

34:23 – The guest tells us some of his favorite books.

35:09 – Outro

Guest Profile

Mike Fiorenza is the COO of Bundren Painting, a Houston commercial painting company established in 1984. He is passionate about implementation of both corporate streamlining and craft training career, and development of both. 

He studied management at the University of Phoenix, and culinary arts management at the Culinary Institute of America. 

His skills vary from operations and construction management, to construction, renovations, project planning and many more.

Transcript of the interview

Intro / Outro: Welcome to the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks, and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, host of the Process Breakdown Podcast. We talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks, and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their job. Past guests include David Allen of Getting Things Done, Michael Gerber of The E-Myth, and many, many more. Check out more great episodes.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Before I get to today’s guest, Mike Fiorenza of Bundren Painting, this episode’s brought to you by SweetProcess. And Mike, you may be able to relate to this. I don’t know. If you’ve had team members out there, they ask you the same questions over and over, and it may be the 10th time you spent explaining it. There is a better way. There is a solution. SweetProcess is actually a software that makes it drop dead easy to train and onboard new staff, and save time with existing staff.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And I was talking to Owen, who runs the company. Not only do universities, banks, hospitals, and software companies use them, but first responder government agencies use them in life or death situations to run their operation. So, you can use SweetProcess to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time so you can focus on growing your team. You can sign up for a free 14 day trial. No credit card is required. Go to Sweet like candy, S-W-E-E-T

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I’m excited to have Mike Fiorenza. He’s COO of Bundren Painting. If you don’t know Bundren Painting, I was reading up on it, Mike, L.D. Bundren Painting was formed by Larry Bundren in 1984 to provide quality finishes to the commercial painting industry. And they’ve worked on projects such as Reliant Stadium, home to the Houston Texans, NASA, high-rise condominiums, churches, cancer treatment facilities, and many, many more. So Mike, thanks for joining me.

Michael Fiorenza: Thank you for having me.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So, talk a little bit more … We’re going to dig deep into meetings, okay? I’ve read the book Death by Meetings. Cameron Herold has a great book about meetings. I know you know Cameron Herold. I want to hear your take about meetings. Because I’m always looking at … I think efficient, productive meetings are a force to be reckoned with at a business. But before we get into that, talk about Bundren Painting a little bit and what you do.

Michael Fiorenza: So, we’re a commercial painting company. As you said, been around since ’84. Based out of Houston. We like the big projects, the odd projects, the ones that specialty accidents. The ones that are tricky to get in, and those are the projects we love to do. Bread and butter is commercial painting. [inaudible 00:02:49] from offices to hospitals, and such like that. We do some government work as well, so we’re pretty much a full service commercial painting company.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What sticks out to you as an odd project? Is a stadium considered an odd project? Or what’s-

Michael Fiorenza: Stadiums a big project.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah.

Michael Fiorenza: We finished up a project out in El Paso, Fort Bliss Hospital out there. That was a five-year project, and it was big, big project.

Michael Fiorenza: A good project to talk about, the Art Blocks in Houston. When Houston had the Super Bowl and Final Four, Houston commissioned a whole bunch of intersections and art installations throughout the city.

Michael Fiorenza: So, we did the Art Blocks installation on Main and McKinney, and basically put down a vehicular rated coating on the ground and the sidewalks for the art installation. And then, there was other installations around it. Entirely odd to be painting downtown intersections in fluorescent orange, and purple, and lime green, but it was a really off the wall project that was a lot of fun to do.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That seems interesting. What kind of crew does it take? When people picture painting, you really need some people who know what they’re doing to put in some of that stuff in place, right?

Michael Fiorenza: Correct, yes. You have to have people that know how to apply the material. You have to have people that understand the environment they’re working in. If you’ve ever seen a picture of [inaudible 00:04:21], Google a picture of that. You’ll see train tracks running through. So, we had metro running through with high voltage above us. You had water features there. You have four major buildings on the corners there. You’re working in traffic. You’ve got add overnight. Overnight, too.

Michael Fiorenza: The fun part about that project was actually when we started talking about it and negotiating it, they said, “Yeah, we want to do this. And then, we want to put it in before Final Four, leave it there for the Final Four through the Super Bowl, and then remove it.” Then, we went, “Hold on. You want to remove a permanent roadway installation.” We had to go do our homework to figure out how we were going to do that, and get the right product that would last as well as be able to be removed.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Because that’s not typical. [crosstalk 00:05:09] People just want it there forever. They don’t want anything removed.

Michael Fiorenza: Correct.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. I figured you were going to say you convince them to just keep it there.

Michael Fiorenza: No, we got it done. We got it removed.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah.

Michael Fiorenza: Yeah.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I love the part of your website that says, “We put the hue in Houston.” That’s a good one.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Let’s talk about meetings for a second, Mike, and I love to hear about one-on-one meetings with direct reports, how you structure the meeting. Any meeting. So, where do you want to start with as far as meetings go?

Michael Fiorenza: It’s always a little bit of a challenge for us because meetings are essentially the most important thing an executive can do or a team lead can do. But if it’s not structured, you’re not getting anything out of the meeting, and it ends up going left field, and everybody’s spending an hour when it could’ve been 15 minutes. And to be entirely honest, we’re guilty of that at times, too, and it takes some time to check yourself and put yourself back in your line.

Michael Fiorenza: That being said, the most important thing that I do every week is my one-on-one meetings with my direct reports. So, I schedule. I call them my 15 minute one-on-ones. I time block 30 minutes, because I’ve actually never had one go 15 minutes. It’s normally 20, 25 minutes. Every week, I schedule them one right after another, and then go through them with my direct reports.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Well, so frequency wise, it’s a once a week, 15 to 20 minute meeting. And then, are there other, larger meetings that you have with the direct reports?

Michael Fiorenza: Well, what we do, Mondays are our primary start of the week there. Everything gets kicked off and moving. So Monday mornings, first thing, Craig, Craig Bundren, the owner of the company and myself, we have our executive meeting, and go over highs, lows, what’s working, what’s not. Do some strategy.

Michael Fiorenza: Monday afternoon, we end up in our job meeting where we bring in our project team and estimating team, and we go over all the jobs that are pending out there, and that we’re working on, and deal with any issues.

Michael Fiorenza: Tuesday mornings, we have our executive team meeting. So, that brings in our controller, our chief estimator, our senior project manager, Craig and myself. And that has morphed into more of an accountability meeting for our executive team. So, they can bounce stuff off of each other, and they can hold each other accountable.

Michael Fiorenza: And the biggest thing we’re working on this year is to turn that meeting away from briefing Craig and myself, and turn it more into them certifying, so the data is available ahead of time for Mondays, for us to review. So, that they can come in, certify, we can ask whatever questions we want, and then there’s an accountability structure for the entire executive team all at once.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: This is really helpful, by the way, Mike. I love how you’re breaking down via day. For the Tuesday meeting, so how long has that accountability meeting?

Michael Fiorenza: One hour.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: One hour. Okay. What else on any other meetings on Tuesdays? What about Wednesdays?

Michael Fiorenza: No, sir.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Then, what does Wednesdays look like?

Michael Fiorenza: Wednesdays are work days.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Okay. So, no meetings Wednesdays?

Michael Fiorenza: No. No meetings for me on Wednesday. Unless they’re outside, or if they’re something special, the client base, or we have an issue come up. Thursdays are my one-on-one meetings in the afternoons.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Okay. And so, do you typically, I’m wondering, do you book them back to back, or do you try and space them out?

Michael Fiorenza: The one-on-ones?

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yes.

Michael Fiorenza: I book them back to back. [crosstalk 00:08:37] So, I start at 2:00, then 2:00 to 2:30, 2:30 to 3:00, 3:00 to 3:30, and 3:30 to 4:00, and get them all done right there. And it’s a nice flow into each other.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I want to talk about the structure of those. But what do you do to document? Are they supposed to take notes? Are you supposed to take notes? Do you use any software? I’ve heard people use various things when coming to the meeting.

Michael Fiorenza: We have an agenda. Every meeting has an agenda. The primary thing that everybody has, we have our scorecards. So, everybody’s got a scorecard. In process of implementing them into Microsoft Planner, because we utilize the 365 environment. They’re getting in there. We’ve done a run through with that. It worked very well.

Michael Fiorenza: I take notes extensively, because I’ve given up on pad and paper. Because there’s too much to try to organize, and restructure, and file, and put in the right place, so I’ve switched over to OneNote, and I hand write in notebooks with each of them so that there’s the … And you can set your calendar reminders, email directly out of it.

Michael Fiorenza: So, we go over … There’s a process to the 15 minute update [crosstalk 00:09:54]-

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. Go ahead. Yeah.

Michael Fiorenza: I asked him to come prepared for the one-on-one direct meeting with the agenda. And first thing we do is a red light, yellow light, and green light conversation. So, red light’s things we need to stop doing. Yellow light is the things we need to think about, or the things that may develop in the future, and something that we can compound [inaudible 00:10:15]. And then green light, you’re kicking it, and let’s keep doing that or expand on that, right?

Michael Fiorenza: That’s five minutes. It’s a back and forth. Everything in these meetings needs to be back and forth. They need to be able to say, “Hey, I don’t like what is going on here, and that’s affecting me being able to do this.” So, this meeting is more about them, and what they need and what they do versus a team structure or anything else.

Michael Fiorenza: And then, we go over the scorecard. And then, I work on the four P’s, the performance, priorities, people, and problems. That’s where I want to hear their thoughts, suggestions, concerns about their team’s performance, priorities, people, and problems.

Michael Fiorenza: The very bottom of the agenda has a note for me that says, “This weekly meeting is your opportunity to voice your issues and celebrate your successes. I’m here to make sure that you have every opportunity to succeed, and it is my priority that I remove as many obstacles as possible to help you achieve your professional and personal goals.”

Michael Fiorenza: So, my view on this is as an executive team, we can steer. You have Craig with a vision, you have me trying to translate and implement that vision, and then we have an executive team that’s trying to stay on that vision and move from point A to point B. This is the time when they get to tell me what’s working, what’s not, and what they need.

Michael Fiorenza: And it’s really about them. Because in an exec team meeting, when you’re accountable to the group and everything’s going on, you don’t get a chance to break it down and say, “I’m really having a problem with this,” or, “This is really affecting me.” That’s a behind closed door thing that is exceptionally important in us being able to run an effective business.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. So, let me just reiterate. You come into the call. The agenda is the same for each one. Maybe different topics, but you talk about red, yellow, green. You talk about the scorecard. You talk about the four P’s, and then you talk about voicing any issues or celebrating any successes.

Michael Fiorenza: Yes.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: When you come to that meeting, can you give me an example of what would be a red, yellow, green scenario?

Michael Fiorenza: Okay.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And then, so it says five minutes on that. And it’s almost maybe five minutes per section almost. About.

Michael Fiorenza: Yep. [crosstalk 00:12:35], and then what I do is I carry … On the detail line of my agenda says five to 15 for the four P’s. Because that’s where it always runs over the 15 minutes, and into we’ll call it uncharted territory.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah, yeah. You don’t have to share names or anything like that, but what would be an example of a red, yellow, green?

Michael Fiorenza: A red light is something that we need to stop doing, right? Are we not processing … I don’t know. We’ll take an AP process, for example. Are we not getting all of our Amex in on time? Right? And that’s causing another issue. Well, if you do the root cause analysis of why that Amex isn’t being turned in in time, well, is it because our field guys aren’t turning in their receipts on time, right? So, we need to stop missing the cutoff date from Amex, because our field guys can’t get their receipts labeled and in time to code, right? So, that would be an example of a [crosstalk 00:13:33]-

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. So, you backtrack to where’s the source of the issue there.

Michael Fiorenza: I come prepared in these meetings already weekly, with items that have popped up over the week, or trailing items from notes that were taken, so we can follow up or we can verify [inaudible 00:13:49].

Michael Fiorenza: Yellow light, stuff that we need to think about doing. So, implementing a new software. “Hey, I’ve got a great idea to implement a new app, or a new piece of software, and it’s going to integrate here.” Okay. Before we pull the trigger, let’s think about this. Let’s run some pros and cons. Let’s see what it’s going to not only cost, but what’s the impact to your organization? Is going to save time? Is it going to cost time? What’s the training lag time? What’s the onboarding time? So, there’s a lot of little pieces to it. That’s your yellow light conversation.

Michael Fiorenza: Green light, financials were in on time. We stomped this project. We got all these change orders. Keep doing that, right? You’re doing a fantastic job. That’s where everything in that section is about straight up business conversation. There’s not a lot of personal attributes to those sections.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: It’s just in a here’s what’s going on, here’s what could be going on, and you go over any issues, and possible things that you want to implement, and then other things that are going really well to make sure they just continue to go well.

Michael Fiorenza: Yes.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Okay.

Michael Fiorenza: And it goes both ways. If my controller, or my chief estimator, or my senior project manager want us to stop doing because it’s directly affecting them, that’s when they tell me that, “We’ve got to stop doing this because it’s causing a problem here.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. So, that’s the red, yellow, green. I want to go to the scorecard next. But before we do, do you have a recommendation, Mike, on the good amount of direct reports that someone should have? Because I imagine if you had 20, your day on Thursday would be insane. Is there a good number that you recommend for people?

Michael Fiorenza: This is my thing. I currently have a controller, a chief estimator, a senior project manager, and my HR director, right? I’ve got four of them lined up and ready to go, and for our sized business, that’s great. I think if you get over seven or nine direct reports, things start getting a little bit crazy. Because you’ve got a lot of stuff going on, a lot of data to manage, and a lot of issues that the short [inaudible 00:16:07]. So, I’m always a fan of a smaller subsection of direct reports.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. And do each of these people also run the same type of meeting for their direct reports?

Michael Fiorenza: Yes. We give them all the leeway that they need to be successful. They’re running with this agenda, or a modified version of this agenda. The departments that we have, VA’s working for us, there’s a coordination for a VA meeting as well. But yes, every department head is running meetings with their one-on-ones.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Okay. Thank you. Yeah, that’s really helpful. So, you show up, red, yellow, green, then next is a scorecard. What do you do with the score? Give me some examples of how that works.

Michael Fiorenza: So our scorecards, this latest revision, I really like this latest revision we just did for 2021. We got out of a checkbox method, and we got into more of a narrative method in our scorecard. It makes it more approachable. I like it. It’s easy to understand, and it’s easier to interface with. But it also says here’s your 30, 60, and 90 day objectives, and then I’m looking ahead another quarter.

Michael Fiorenza: As the 30 day objectives are falling off, you’re already looking and getting them queued up for the next 30 days in the scorecard. So it’s every 30 days, we’re looking ahead and moving the progress. And the trick is with all the scorecards, to make all the scorecards work in the same … Well, I call it the highway. All the scorecards need to be on the same highway. Because if you’re not on the same highway going in the same direction, you’re going everywhere else.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Give me an example, so the old way was checkboxes. What do the checkboxes look like, and then what’d you migrate to?

Michael Fiorenza: The check boxes were hard because you had to try to figure out if something was bad, not bad, okay, needs improvement, right? If you go from a scale, and it becomes very subjective, because the more opportunity you give for leeway to move in one direction or another. If it’s not very clear and it’s not concise, how do you somebody accountable for achieving something if they don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish? Right?

Michael Fiorenza: So, if I say bid everything on time, well, that’s a very subjective thing because there’s a lot of different opportunities. If I say we expect our sales bids to go out within the date promised in the CRM, well then it now becomes the estimators responsibility to look at the CRM and say, “Okay. I’ve got five days to have that bid out,” there’s no question about that.

Michael Fiorenza: So, removing the subjectivity within narrative scorecard, and then setting your goals or your rocks out for 30, 60, and 90 days gives you a clear path. Keith Cunningham calls it the yellow brick road, so you’re building that yellow brick road for all of your employees to follow.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: For the scorecard, Mike, is everyone answering the same questions? What would be an example of I guess one item that is on the scorecard that someone would have to answer?

Michael Fiorenza: It’s not so much as answering, it’s production and it’s accomplishment, right? We want to move our finances from the 10th day of the month to be turned in and completed for executive review, to the fifth business day of the month, right? On that scorecard, to quarter change, now it’s due the fifth business day of the month. Well, there’s no gray area to that. Scorecard says that the financials would be turned in by the fifth business day of the month.

Michael Fiorenza: In the same sense, process documentation. Talking with Owen. You’ve got processes that you’re trying to document in every department. So, as we’re creating process, videos, and documents, and storing them within our SharePoint drives, you have a target and say, “Hey, I need these eight processes documented.” And then, give me a list of the next four or five that you need to do. So, having those items very clearly laid out on the scorecard helps you align your team members.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Let me understand. When you have a direct report, get granular with me for the scorecard. Because you mentioned 30, 60, 90 days. Is it something that they’re coming to you with, “Here’s my 30 day, 60 day, 90 day,” or do you have already a preset framework for them?

Michael Fiorenza: What happens is, as in any other business, the owner of the business, Craig, he’s on a trajectory, right? And he’s got a vision. He’s got goals he’s trying to hit. My job is to interpret them, and then execute, and deliver those goals, right? There’s a lot of stuff that gets out there that you may not be able to handle right now, right? Because they’re just too much workload.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: There’s a lot of moving parts.

Michael Fiorenza: A lot of moving parts. One of the ways we’ve addressed that is we’ve created our parking lot in Microsoft Teams. So, the executives executive [inaudible 00:21:10] and myself, we have a parking lot where we store ideas so we don’t lose them. Then, we can come back at them and revisit them. There’s always that list going so that … Listen, there’s a lot of great ideas that come out in conversations that may not be good now, but in six months may be exactly what we need to do, and the framework and the idea’s already sitting there.

Michael Fiorenza: Expanding that to my executive team, having a parking lot and our team’s channel for the executive team as well so that they can … Because you don’t hire people just to do what you say, you hire people to do their job, to bring value to the organization. So, they have ideas as well. And the same thing, you can’t lose those ideas. You need to catalog those ideas so you can act on them when the time is right.

Michael Fiorenza: The scorecards, we are setting more of a trajectory and a plan, the executive team I want to say finesses it a little bit, and then it is my job to interpret how we’re going to engage that between the departments. So, then we create the scorecards, get the plan and the benchmarks okayed and agreed to by Craig, and then we roll out the scorecards.

Michael Fiorenza: And then, the individual has a scorecard, comments back on that scorecard saying, “Hey, this is great. I can do this. I can’t do this.” And then, you start that back and forth engagement. “Okay, you can’t do this why? Well, can we do it a different way? Or is there a better way of doing it? how do we get to the objective?”

Michael Fiorenza: There’s always that balance of you don’t want to tell people how to do everything. You want them to do it for themselves, figure out for themselves, and learn and grow. So, asking the right questions. Getting around, having them work out problems for themselves, and getting them into that scorecard. And then, now you have accountability for your ideas and theirs. And that essentially is buy-in, so at that point you’ve got everybody working on the same page.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Let me see, Mike, if I understand this correctly. Let’s say the executive team brain dumps a bunch of things that need to get done. Some of them may be now, some may be in six months, some may be in three years. And do you say, “Listen, this task would be great for the HR manager to take on,” or the HR manager would say, “Great. That’s something that I could definitely handle.” And so, that you would then take that, and that would be a 30, 60, 90 day. They would kind of break it up, “Here’s what I need in 30, 60, 90.”

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So, you’ll take one of those big tasks or they will, and then you will then report back on the trajectory of that particular task. Am I understanding it correctly?

Michael Fiorenza: Yes.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Okay, cool. So, the executive team sets the vision, and all the things they need to get done, and the team members. Is it a combination of you saying, “Hey, you’d be really good for this.” Or them saying, “Hey, I could really take this on.” Does it come from one angle or another, or how does it usually happen?

Michael Fiorenza: It comes from both. It comes from both. Because quite honestly, we have put together one heck of an executives team. They’re go-getters, they’re grabbers. I don’t see them say, “No, that’s impossible.” They’re, “Okay. We’ll figure out how to do it,” or, “I don’t like it like that, but I think I can make it work this way.”

Michael Fiorenza: Our executive team has risen to the occasion more than one time. Yes, there is direction from me. Yes, there is direction from Craig. However, I think a lot of that gets fogged out and brought up in the executive team meetings as non-personal. And then, when it gets down to that granular level of personal accountability and responsibility, that’s where it’s a one-on-one with the team members and the scorecard.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That makes sense. That’s great. Thank you. Yeah. So, it goes from red, yellow, green. The scorecards, which basically are taking the company’s vision in smaller chunks, and breaking that into 30, 60, 90 day goals, and then reporting back on those every week on the progress. Is that right? Cool.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And then the four P’s, you said this is a little nuanced. How does the four P’s work?

Michael Fiorenza: Performance, priorities, people, and problems. So those four P’s, I want to hear what their issues are in relation to their performance, their team’s performance, their priorities, department priorities, their people, and their problems. Obviously, it’s easy to get locked into problems if you have that mindset. But if you’re talking about performance, priorities, and people upfront, the problems are on the tail end. You’re already working through.

Michael Fiorenza: One of the big things that we work on with our executive team and with all of our employees is it’s perfectly normal and okay to have a problem, but don’t come and dump your problem on my desk. Come to me and tell me what your problem is, and then bring me two or three possible solutions, and let’s talk about them, right?

Michael Fiorenza: I’m not in your shoes. I’m not sitting in your desk, dealing with what’s coming across your desk in your department. I’m going to have a perspective on it that’s not the same as yours, because I’m not in the middle of it. But if you come with a couple solutions, well then, that makes the conversation really easy. Management wise, it allows us the guard rail as well. It allows us to make sure we’re still on that highway. You’re not taking an early exit over here to go chase something. And you can steer it with that.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. Can you give me an example of each of them? What is someone brought up in the past, or what would be an example of something with performance? Just so I can get a sense of how the meetings run. They’ll go, “Oh, performance is this, people is this, priority is this, problem is this.” What’s something they would say for each of those?

Michael Fiorenza: We’ll take a general, and this is just a summary. I’m utilizing a situation as an example here. Let’s say our sales guy has an issue with setting calls, or landing walks and turning that into presentation. Well, that’s a performance issue, right?

Michael Fiorenza: So hey, I’m having an issue with getting enough opportunities to go see companies, go see buildings, go create an opportunity or lead. My priorities on this are I’m going to make 15% more calls. I’m going to go do 10 more walks a week. And then people wise, these are the people I need to see. These are the people that I need help from. And then, by the time you get to the problems, they’ve essentially already [crosstalk 00:27:49] solved it upfront, right?

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: They’ve been solved. Gotcha. They’re laying out the solutions as this conversation unfolds.

Michael Fiorenza: Absolutely. And for me, it’s more of a sit back, listen, and maybe ask a question to pull a little bit more detail out. And it happens it doesn’t matter what position we have. Every one who falls into the same.

Michael Fiorenza: The brilliance of all of this, my agenda, is I didn’t come up with any of it. I literally didn’t come up with any of it. Cameron Herold, he calls it R&D, rip off and duplicate, right? Red light, yellow light, green light came from a podcast member that he had on his podcast. The scorecard review is something that we deal with with Keith Cunningham. And the four P’s actually came from one of my friends that is also a member of COO Alliance that that’s what he did at part of his one-on-one meetings.

Michael Fiorenza: So, I’ve taken the pieces that work really good I think for us to drive, and put it on a piece of paper. I didn’t have to develop any, so there’s a lot of this out there that if you’re doing enough reading or having enough contacts, and you see enough of this, that you can find out what works for you. So, this works for us. It may not work for everybody, but it’s [crosstalk 00:29:11]-

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. Someone may take a piece of this, and a piece of this may work for them, right? Or some of it. But I like how you run the four P’s, because it sounds like people are reporting on their performance, which is whatever probably metric they’re measuring. And then from there, it goes into how they’re going to solve that, and what they need to do differently in addition, right?

Michael Fiorenza: Right.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I love it. So, red, yellow, green, then the scorecard, then the four P’s. The last is the voice, the issue, or celebration. What are some examples of how that goes?

Michael Fiorenza: [inaudible 00:29:45] so celebrating, if you’re not going to celebrate successes with your direct reports, or your team members, or anybody else in the company, you’re creating a big disservice to both yourself and the company you work for or own. You have to celebrate successes, and you also have to celebrate successes on multiple different levels. Little wins added up over time is big momentum, right? And if you ignore all these little wins that are happening, you’re going to miss it until it’s glaringly obvious in your face.

Michael Fiorenza: I like to celebrate … It’s simple stuff. Simple. “Hey, we did good this week. We were able to convert this week pretty well. We were able to convert some outstanding tickets, or time and material jobs into a billable.” That’s fantastic. That’s great. That helps cashflow.

Michael Fiorenza: So, celebrating those wins goes on and on. What I have found that the more you celebrate the little ones, like I firmly believe that setting big goals out there, and Craig and I call them moonshots. You set your moonshots out there, and people are going to reach for them, but the little wins are what keep them motivated to get there. And if you never celebrate the little wins, they’re going to give up on that moonshot out there. They’re going to-

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: You get discouraged.

Michael Fiorenza: Discouraged, not motivated, and they don’t want to work as hard. I can tell you that once we started making sure that we were talking about that every week, we’ve had some really good success. We’ve had team members actually pass that down as well. Our project management team has passed that down into the field as well. So, we’re seeing some really good success with that.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That would be an example of a win or a celebration, a little win. Maybe the personal reports on a performance like, “I need to get,” whatever, 15, 20% more of these looks. “But here’s a look I did get this week that was amazing,” and they may go into it. What would be an example of voicing an issue in this process?

Michael Fiorenza: Issues are it could be anything from I’m having a problem with my computer. Computer’s acting up, and I really need to get into the budget to get a new CPU, right? And believe me, I deal with that all the time. But it could be anything.

Michael Fiorenza: What tends to come out in this is personal stuff. It doesn’t tend to come out to be the computer. It tends to come out that, “Listen, I’m feeling really tired,” or, “I’m really behind,” or, “I’m having an issue getting this information out of this person.”

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Like I’m home schooling my five kids and I’m tired, or what?

Michael Fiorenza: Yeah. Well yeah, but I don’t think we have anybody with five kids.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Okay.

Michael Fiorenza: [inaudible 00:32:35] in the office team. But yes, “Hey, I’m really get rundown, or I’m getting stressed out about this.” And really, when you get a relationship built with your team members and you and your employees, a lot of personal stuff comes out. And if you can’t address that, or make sure that that’s on the table to have a discussion with that you can be trusted to have that conversation with, then it’s also insight. It’s insight into your employees, and insight into their lives. And in the same sense, you need to be open and vulnerable enough yourself to have those kind of conversations.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yep. Mike, this has been amazing. I love hearing this breakdown. Thank you for getting so granular with this, because I think this is going to be super valuable.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I have one last question, which are going to be addressing your favorite books, because I know you’re a big reader. Before I ask it, I just want to point people towards checking out your website. It’s, You could check out other episodes of the Process Breakdown Podcast, and check out SweetProcess.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I want to hear your books. And I have a pitch for your next book, or your company’s next book. I wrote this title down, okay? So, you’ll see if this makes it onto the executive board, but I have Little Wins, your five step process for setting up your team for success, okay? Which is your red, yellow, green light, your scorecard, your four P’s, voicing issues, and voicing celebrations. That’s what I have written down. So, there’s your next Bundren book.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Anyways, what are your favorite books that you like? And I know you mentioned Keith Cunningham, Cameron Herold. I love to hear some of your recommendations.

Michael Fiorenza: Since we’re talking about meetings and agendas, obviously you need to talk about Meeting Suck with Cameron Herold. Great book. Great book. In fact, gave it to all of my executive team members to read as well. The Great Game of Business obviously is a classic in our industry. Who, [inaudible 00:34:45], The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham, and the latest one I read was Giftology [crosstalk 00:34:53]-

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: John Ruhlin. Yeah. Yeah. I love John, yes. I’ll let him know you said that.

Michael Fiorenza: Fantastic.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yes.

Michael Fiorenza: Fantastic.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Mike, thank you so much. Everyone check out more episodes, check out the books he recommended, and thanks so much, Mike.

Michael Fiorenza: Thank you very much.

Intro / Outro: Thanks for listening to the Process Breakdown Podcast. Before you go, quick question. Do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures, and/or policies for your company so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free 14 day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up. Go to, sweet like candy and process like Go now to and sign up for your risk-free 14 day trial.

Owen: Hi, this is Owen, the CEO and co-founder here at SweetProcess. If you’ve enjoyed listening to this podcast interview, actually you know what I want you to do? Go ahead and leave us a five star review on iTunes. That way we get more people aware of the good stuff that you get here on this podcast. Again, go onto iTunes and leave us a five star review. Looking forward to reading your review. Have a good day.

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