David Rippe, CEO, Celestia International
One of the most powerful and effective ways to get your teams in alignment and operating on the same page is to conduct short, daily huddles. Yes, I know you’re thinking “ugh, not another meeting” (I feel the same way about meetings too), but I am confident if you use this format daily for two weeks, you will never go back to your old management method.
Team performance improves through peer pressure, collective intelligence and clear communication. A daily huddle brings everyone together in a department or even a small business to get things quickly and accurately communicated. It eliminates telephone tag, unnecessary and frequent interruptions, gets everyone’s attention focused on the issues at hand and increases the rate of deliverables.
Result or Output:
In the time it might take to take a bathroom break, managers, department heads and in the case of a small business everyone in the company communicates what they are working on, where they are stuck, progress on daily company indicators, accountabilities, assignments and new priorities are discussed, and a positive personal or professional input is offered.
Why Do You Need a Daily Huddle?
At the heart of executive performance is a rhythm of tightly run daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual huddles and meetings. These meetings provide the opportunity for you to focus your executives and staff on what is important. You’ll solve problems more quickly and easily, you achieve better alignment with strategic decisions, and you’ll communicate more effectively.
Key Points to Understand This Process:
Meeting rhythms help you maximize business opportunities, quickly identify and solve bottlenecks. They provide you the ability to get data regularly, and tune in on what’s happening at every level of your business.
- If something is going wrong, when do you want to find out about it, at your daily meeting or sometime in the future? Meeting Rhythms, especially your daily huddle help you to pulse faster and react more quickly.
- Each meeting you have should provide a different focus. Daily huddles keep everyone attuned to key performance indicators and the theme for the quarter plus allow everyone in the company to know they will have an opportunity to bring their challenges to the forefront, communicate with their supervisors at an appointed time and share their successes.
- Pattern recognition is what the human mind does best. Without regular, consistent information and communication it is difficult to see any pattern emerge. Daily huddles provide a significant opportunity to see the patterns that are generating the success or challenges your business is facing.
Make the time irregular, every day at 8:08 AM or 4:46 PM. People are better at being on time when an unusual time rather than the top or bottom of the hour is used. You may want to use a reminder system like Outlook or iping.com to remind staff. On time attendance should be mandatory, no excuses. Being late in this case robs every one of his or her time. Don’t problem solve, the meeting is for problem identification. Start and end on time. If it begins to go long people will drop it.
While the meeting can take place anywhere we strongly suggest you avoid sitting, at least comfortably. Stand up.
Who Runs the Meeting:
Someone who is structured and disciplined. That might not be the CEO or department head. The main job is to keep things running on time. If you need to use a stopwatch to time everyone. do so. Don’t let any part of the agenda run away. Steer clear of tangents, side conversations and discussion of personal issues. “Take it off line,” or “That’s an interesting discussion, let’s take it up at another time,” will get you back on to the agenda. The leader should be relentless about keeping the daily huddle flowing.
Two suggestions, one, rotate the leader. By doing so you’ve trained someone to fill in when the dept. head is absent. The daily huddle can proceed without any interruptions. Two, by giving everyone an opportunity to lead you can keep the meeting on track. The leader one week will observe the rules because they want to keep it moving; if they don’t paybacks can be rough. Giving everyone the opportunity to lead the meetings helps them recognize the value of following the rules.
Just three items long, and the same structure every day. What’s up, daily measures, and where are you stuck? “What’s up” should immediately let people know if there are any conflicts, crossed agendas, or missed opportunities. The antennae should come up right away if anything is going on here. Each attendee should take no more than 30 seconds.
Next the entire group takes a look at whatever daily measures your company is tracking. These can be anything valuable for your company, and if you don’t have any then you need to develop some. This should be measurable.
The third item is where people are stuck. These should be business-related bottlenecks, not personal matters. Verbalizing struggles and obstacles for the whole group to hear is powerful and therapeutic. It’s the first step to solving a problem. A bottleneck can often reveal who’s not doing their job. If somebody goes a couple of days without reporting a bottleneck, there’s a really good chance there’s a bigger problem in the background. Productive people who are busy get suck on a regular basis. The urge here will be to solve the problem. Don’t. Problems should be solved outside this meeting. It’s okay to say call this person or check this website. The daily meetings are intended to be short.
Several companies like the idea at the end of the meeting to have each attendee report something positive. It can be personal or professional but it should be short. When we say short we mean ten seconds short. It provides a real upbeat finish to the meeting no matter what. Regardless make the daily huddle a part of your corporate culture and I assure you a remarkable difference in your businesses rhythm will develop.
Daily Meeting Structure
Quick Daily Agenda – 5-15 minute
- 2- 5 Minutes: What’s up? What’s your priority for today? Specifics about activities, meetings, accomplishments, noteworthy news from customers, etc.
- 2- 5 Minutes: Daily measurements/indicators – from the day before and your goal today.
- 2- 5 Minutes: Where are you stuck? Where’s your bottleneck? Who’s run into a roadblock? What can be done about it? Bite-sized chunks.
Stand up, don’t sit down, for a meeting. By phone if that’s your only option.
David Rippe is a strategic consultant and growth expert who works with CEOs and C-Suite executives. He has assisted over 500 hundred companies generate $1.5 billion in revenue. David provides clear insight and alignment with a “wherever it leads, whatever it takes” approach to ensure his clients’ success.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-253-4854.