Tadum Co-founder Ashley Janssen had the pleasure of sitting down with Brittany Anderson, co-founder of FunEx, to chat about how Tadum helped them get organized and stay accountable. Here’s what she shared:
Brittany Anderson (BA): FunEx owns and operates Laser City, laser tag and mini-paintball with locations in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta. We have been in business since 2013 and currently have 35 employees, 7 of whom are full time. We serve parents organizing kids birthday parties to school field trips to corporate team building events. There are a lot of moving parts as we coordinate each location, as well as a primarily part-time staff (who are also mostly millennials!).
BA: Before trying Tadum, I ran weekly 90-minute meetings using the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) Level 10 agenda structure. We had the Level 10 structure taped on a piece of paper on the wall and a recurring meeting in our Google Calendar. We would jot down a few items in the calendar we needed to talk about each week but didn’t actually send out a formal agenda. At each meeting, we would take notes in paper notebooks and transfer any action items into Trello (project management software). No meeting minutes were taken.
BA: Running the meetings on a regular weekly rhythm was helpful in not interrupting daily workflows. EOS Level 10 agenda gave some consistency to our discussions. What was missing was accountability.
This was a challenge on three fronts:
There were no expectations set for the meetings. I would have in mind the things I wanted to go over in a meeting and how long they would take. But because there was no specific agenda sent out in advance to everyone, staff would add discussions during the meeting and it would throw off the schedule. This meant that some things would have to be tabled for the next meeting or the meetings would run long, which was really frustrating.
We also had a problem where high-level discussion items were stored in the Google Calendar invite but because it was a team-wide calendar, everyone could see everything. I couldn’t include agenda items that were confidential or sensitive, like specific staff members performance, which meant that the people attending the meeting didn’t know this would be part of the discussion and couldn’t prepare.
BA: When I started implementing the EOS Level 10 agendas, I felt like it was good progress from what we had before, which was nothing. While it was definitely better, it didn’t force any specific process, specifically before and after the meetings. This resulted in a lack of accountability and clear meeting expectations for my staff. It was something I wanted to improve but it always fell to the back burner as other things came up.
BA: I had the opportunity to try Tadum through a business mentorship group I am a part of, the University of Alberta Threshold Impact Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) (note: Tadum offers special rates for organizations that are business incubators or focused on entrepreneur education, including VMS). I knew the way we were currently running their meetings wasn’t enough, and it was making my job harder. I heard about Tadum and decided to see if it could help.
BA: Yes! Tadum makes me look really organized.
BA: I'm not bringing a notepad to our meeting anymore - just my computer! How cool is that!?
Honestly, I immediately felt my stress levels go down because I was able to get things out of my head! The email reminder ahead of the meeting meant the agenda was actually getting done. It forced me to look forward in the business instead of always being stuck in the day-to-day weeds. Also, being able to look back at what we covered in our last meeting is AH-MAZING. I feel like I have a better pulse on my business.
BA: There was no push back and a low learning curve.
When I ran my first huddle using Tadum it was a black and white difference. Usually, our huddles mean me talking the whole time, and no one else in the room having anything else prepared or any feedback. I sent out the huddle link with Tadum and asked everyone to contribute to this meeting. Every single person put notes in it. It was amazing. For once, it was a real team meeting.
Everyone was raving about it after. The staff is much happier.
Direct quote from our Calgary manager: "Tadum gives a nice structure for how to participate and lets me prepare notes for the meeting”.
BA: First of all, Tadum made it easy for me to go at my own pace. I rolled it out with my team for different types of meetings, starting with my Edmonton location and then my Calgary location.
The other place I think the Tadum is benefiting us is helping train our less experienced staff with how to attend a meeting.
We gave them an agenda in a Google Doc for our huddle meetings before Tadum and they would come with NOTHING prepared. Once we started using Tadum, they could see what other people wrote so I think they started to understand what an 'agenda' was all about. Plus, the pressure of everyone else having their name and notes in the meeting would show they were unprepared. Yay accountability points!
I’ve also noticed our staff like to communicate in different ways. They seem more comfortable filling in Tadum at their own pace and using their own words. They didn't present information in this manner before Tadum.
I think Tadum would be a really great tool for less experienced staff who don't fully understand meeting structure and for staff who communicate in different ways.
BA: Once I started using Tadum, I realized how much work it is to run a good meeting. Tadum does all the heavy lifting so I don’t have to. It holds your hand through the whole agenda and meeting process and saves so much time.