One thing you can do IMMEDIATELY to run YOUR BUSINESS with LESS PROBLEMS and SURPRISES
Are you a Business Owner or leader that relentlessly pursues continuous improvement? Do you value efficient, streamlined processes that produce results and promote growth? Is the dramatic reduction of time sucking problems and unpleasant surprises appealing?
If yes to all, I have something for you.
By the end of this article, you will:
● Learn a game changing system that is quick and simple to execute
● Understand how a 15 minute routine can boost your people and your business
● Have the skills and confidence to implement this new system immediately
BUSINESS CAN BE HARD... AND NOW IT’S HARDER.
Your company deals with a slew of problems and unexpected surprises at the best of times. Throw in a global pandemic, and now you are faced with new complexities pushing you back into reaction or crisis mode.
Gone are the days (if they ever existed) when you had a good handle on the direction and flow of the business, and your team felt empowered and connected. With people working remotely, traditional paths of communication broken or fundamentally altered, and social connectivity waning, you can feel the strain on productivity, communication and teamwork.
I am excited to share with you a concept that on the surface may seem radical or counterintuitive, but definitely puts you and your team back in control.
Allow me to introduce the King of all Meetings - The Daily Huddle.
(huh? Did you just say your panacea is another meeting???)
YES!! Just go with me for a moment.
Who Loovvees Meetings?
Nobody. That’s who.
Yet, we accept meetings as a necessary evil to facilitate communication, solve problems and identify surprises. As we know, meetings don’t always keep up their end of the bargain.
Meetings have become a dirty word, regularly criticized for being too frequent, badly run, or poorly timed. Studies have shown dysfunctional meetings are associated with lower levels of market share, innovation and employment stability. Meetings are met with such dread and despair, The Economist reports people would rather visit the dentist or endure a nightmarishly-long commute than attend a status meeting.
(“okay”, you’re thinking. “meetings really suck, good job at getting me excited to add another one”. Ahh, this is the part of the story where it gets good.)
What is The Daily Huddle?
The Daily Huddle is a lightning-quick, 15 minute meeting that is jam packed with relevant information and updates that align your team and drive your business forward. This meeting ‘super cocktail’ includes headline news, opportunities, constraints, priorities and accountability. It runs with as many people as required and, yes, it really does happen in under 15 minutes!
The Daily Huddle is practiced by tens of thousands of growth companies globally. The Huddle is at the heart of the Scaling Up Methodology, a strategic framework widely acknowledged in CEO circles as the gold standard for growth organizations. As an advocate and practitioner of Scaling Up, I know first hand the power and positive impact The Daily Huddle has for companies of all sizes.
Benefits of The Daily Huddle
Less Meetings - I told you it gets better! The potent concentration of vital updates and information shared in the Daily Huddle drastically reduces the need for disruptive ad hoc meetings. Even some of your regularly scheduled meetings become redundant. Call it a paradox. Call it counterintuitive. But adding this ‘new meeting’ becomes a massive net gain on your people’s time and productivity.
Problems Identified and Solved Early - each Huddle, team members put forward constraints or “stucks”. In my experience, these are the types of problems that usually don’t get communicated until the monthly or quarterly meeting. Identifying these challenges in their infancy allows them to be addressed before they grow into company clogging crises.
Improved Morale and Teamwork - feeling ‘out of the loop’ is a consistent frustration I hear within organizations, along with not knowing how their work fits into the bigger company picture. Sharing the meaningfulness of their work with their colleagues day after day brings with it a significant spike in connection and purpose amongst the entire team.
Accelerated Results - Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up famously states “if you want to grow faster, pulse faster”. Daily Huddles increase the operating pace of the business. The natural byproduct is objectives and opportunities being acted upon with increased energy and urgency. Goals are met quicker and positive results come faster.
Better Focus - the exercise of prepping for The Daily Huddle (under 5 min) forces your team to focus and brings clarity to their day. A fringe benefit is the enormous drop in typical focus-busting distractions - unnecessary emails, hallway interruptions and unscheduled phone and Zoom calls. Your team remains in rhythm and produces more.
Easy to Execute - Any company of any size can do this. Immediately.
The Daily Huddle helps you run your business with less problems and surprises.
(“alright, I’m in. Let’s do this!”)
Guide to The Daily Huddle
Getting Started - Do I Need Scaling Up to make Huddle Work?
A good question, as I stated above that The Daily Huddle was at the heart of the Scaling up Methodology. That said, you can put The Daily Huddle into play immediately, independent of this excellent, strategic framework.
Admittedly, The Daily Huddle achieves its greatest impact when it is deployed in concert within the full Scaling Up methodology. For companies in scramble mode, implementing an overarching strategic plan, although desirable, doesn’t seem possible.
The advice I give to numerous organizations without a strategic plan in place is to simply start with The Daily Huddle. Gain confidence as you observe the increase in productivity, communication and teamwork. The Daily Huddle serves as your catalyst towards a broader, strategic planning initiative. The wins you achieve through The Daily Huddle builds equity with your team, as you need them all on board when you launch the intensive strategic planning process for your organization.
How Does The Daily Huddle Work?
Every day, at the same designated time, team members come together in a live or virtual environment (or mixed) to report on the following four items:
What’s Up? - what specifically is on your agenda for the next 24 hours; include a key win from the prior day.
Key Numbers - metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) relevant to the participant and the company are shared; this is not simply financials, but progress towards key goals.
Stucks - participants communicate where they are having constraints, and call upon the colleague they feel can best help them. More encouragingly, teammates usually raise their hand first to assist; this is where collaboration really comes to life.
Top Priority - team members close the Huddle by declaring their #1 Priority to get done that day; accountability and trust build quickly through this powerful ending.
It’s that simple. And you will be amazed at the volume of information and updates that get shared in under 15 minutes. A punchy and morale boosting way to start your day.
Who Participates in The Daily Huddle? How Many?
Typically, department heads or key members from the leadership team. A number I often see is between 5-10 people. Larger groups can easily get through the four major buckets on the Huddle agenda in 15 minutes and still have time to spare! In sizable organizations, department leaders will complete the Executive Daily Huddle and then conduct their own Department Huddle immediately afterwards, cascading the Huddle’s powerful benefits throughout the company.
There is no minimum requirement of participants for smaller organizations. I’ve had clients as small as three people implement Huddle with great success. Me? I am a one-person show and I have a Daily Huddle each and every day (and I do it out loud to make my commitments stick).
How to Run the Daily Huddle and Make it Last
Introduce the Daily Huddle to Your Team - warm up your team to the idea by introducing the concept, reviewing the benefits delineated herein, and share some of the resources I have included at the bottom of this article.
WARNING - prepare for resistance! The concept of adding another meeting to your team’s heavy workload will be met with scrutiny. The Daily Huddle is one of those benefits in life that don’t manifest until it's fully in motion. Encourage your team to give Huddle full effort for one month, after which you can review. Without fail, all of my clients who take this approach immediately realize the benefits of improved communication, morale and results. By the time the month is over, Huddle will be wholeheartedly endorsed and baked into your culture.
Select a Time - choose a time and stick to it! Earlier in your business day is optimal. Do not choose a time that ends in a “0” or “5” (9:00, 9:05, 9:10, etc). Pick an odd number such as 9:07 a.m. These very specific times capture the attention of your team and ensure punctuality.
Choose a Venue - Nothing beats a live face to face meeting. The world has adjusted, though, and the Daily Huddle can run live, completely virtual, or a mix if that’s what’s required. If your Huddle is live, have everyone stand for the meeting. This prevents the meeting from dragging and going over time.
Pick a Leader - to begin, choose a high-energy extrovert to give the Huddles the umph they need to get going. Enthusiasm is critical at the outset.
Hold Your First Huddle - Jump right into your first Daily Huddle or start with one “Dress Rehearsal” to ensure everyone understands what’s required. If you are a Monday-Friday organization, make your Dress Rehearsal on a Friday, and then start an entire week fresh on the following Monday. After a week or two, begin to rotate leaders. Intentionally select more introverted types when you pass the torch. The team will rally around both the individual and the process, cementing The Daily Huddle as part of your standard operating procedure.
Start on Time - don’t wait for stragglers to trickle in. Be relentless. Start on time, and people will respond to that cadence.
End on Time - This is a quick pulse meeting. Avoid going deep on the information and updates, or else the meeting will slide out of control and you will lose buy-in. Have a timer and end at the 15 minute mark, regardless of what point you are at in the Huddle. By using this approach it will take you no more than three Daily Huddles to get it right.
Meeting Order - Report on each of the four points one at a time before moving on to the next (What’s Up, Key Numbers, Stucks, and Top Priority). For example, in a meeting of ten people, all ten would report on their What’s Up before moving on to Key Numbers.
Be Specific - The Daily Huddle only works if people avoid generalities.
● Inappropriate: “What’s Up? Ummmm today I’ve got some emails to catch up on and then some client calls in the afternoon and a vendor meeting after that”.
● Appropriate: “What’s up? This morning I will email Lisa about her outstanding invoice. This afternoon I’m talking to Acme Co. to introduce our new XYZ service. After that I am meeting with Vendor Inc to extend our payment terms”.
Come Prepared - don’t wing it. Being unprepared undermines the team and embarrasses yourself. Write out your Daily Huddle report in advance (or use a smartphone or computer) and read straight from your script. Doing so keeps the Huddles snappy and relevant.
You now know the benefits of the Daily Huddle and how to make it work. Use these next steps to immediately get your business on the path to success with less problems and unpleasant surprises.
Review Again - bookmark this Article and reference as necessary as a Daily Huddle checklist.
Key Resources - Take advantage of the excellent resources and links included at the bottom of the page providing further insight into The Daily Huddle
Introduce The Daily Huddle to your Team - no reason to delay. Get started this week.
Create a “Cheat Sheet” - make a template with the four speaking points and share with your team. (What’s Up, Key Numbers, Stucks, #1 Priority). Hard copy and digital works.
USE MY SPECIAL OFFER - I am so confident The Daily Huddle will work for your organization that I am offering the following to help you get started
Courtesy Call - if you require assistance on how to implement The Daily Huddle, schedule a free call with me to walk you through the fine points by clicking here.
First Huddle Audit - I would be pleased to audit your team’s first Daily Huddle and provide guidance and feedback (virtually, and subject to scheduling conflicts). Click here to arrange.
I am excited for the success The Daily Huddle will bring to your business. Please share your comments below on how The Daily Huddle is working for your team.
Verne Harnish - CEO of Scaling Up
Article: Why the 15-Minute Daily Huddle is Critical to Scale Up Your Business (10 min read)
Daniel Marcos - CEO of the Growth Institute (Educational Arm of ScalingUp)
Video: 5 Tips for A Great Daily Huddle (5:36)
O2E - Real World Example
O2E is the organization that operates at home services like 1-800-GOT-JUNK and Shine Shack. See how the Daily Huddle transforms this company globally each and every day