Are you ‘too busy’ for meetings, or just having bad ones?

Part 1. The ‘Daily Huddle’

Are you “too busy” for meetings? In truth, I can’t remember talking to many people who have claimed to love them! Team members often try and get out of them and senior leaders may even avoid scheduling them! Often, they are viewed as distractions from just getting on with the job.

© Startup Stock Photos

© Startup Stock Photos

The fact is though that (hopefully) we’re all too busy for bad meetings! Regular, well-run meetings save you loads of time. Well-run meetings ensure that:

– Everyone’s on the same page
– You can anticipate problems
– You know where people are struggling and need training
– You can make decisions faster (much faster)
– You have mutual accountability for actions
– And the very fact of people opening their mouths and vocalising something gets them half way to solving a problem (this is just how our brains are wired)

With meetings, rhythm, focus and a commitment to action are the keys. The basic rhythm I’d recommend is to meet Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Quarterly.

“The Daily Huddle”

The daily huddle is a 10-15min session between you and your direct supports. The agenda is as follows:

– What’s happening with you in the next working day?
– What’s your progress on the key metric we’re driving this period?
– Where are you stuck?

© Startup Stock Photos

© Startup Stock Photos

The key to success here is specifics. Not just “I’ll be seeing some clients later on”, rather “I’ll be seeing Peter Sanders this morning and Richard Bennet – for the third time – after lunch. We’ll be introducing the new features to Peter and hoping to seal the transaction with Richard for $55k”. Short and to the point.

The key metric can be any key initiative you are driving at present (I recommend driving at least one key improvement strategy each quarter).

“Where are you stuck?” is an opportunity to voice out what help you need and where you are struggling. This is probably the most important item of the three. Beware the person who continually says they’re not stuck! This probably means they’re not progressing!

A tight daily huddle can save a ton of emails, crossed wires and delays. Although it’s not a problem-solving session, a lot of issues can be cleaned up on the spot without confusion and cost later on… (“Richard Bennet? I though we were done with that account last month? And I thought it was for $60k not 55?”)

Other tips for success:

– Meet at an odd-time. E.g. 8:47am (if you meet at 8:45 or 9:00am people tend to be 5min late!)
– Start precisely ON time and keep TO time: if it takes longer than 15mins something is going wrong!
– Meet standing up! This is not a problem-solving session as such and encourages people to be brief. If actions come out of it, they can be scheduled at another time.
– Full participation always: if someone is out of the office they dial in.
– Huddles can cascade down the hierarchy. E.g. CEO with leadership team, leaders with managers, managers with team supervisors, supervisors with frontliners. Everyone is thus in some kind of huddle each day.

Daily huddles are hugely powerful and they work for some of the fastest growing and most profitable companies around. Commit to one with your leadership team to begin with for 30 days and see the results.

This article originally appeared at The Profit Edge and is reproduced with permission.

Pictures were taken from startupstockphotos.

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