Daily Huddles - Do You Need Them?
When I start working with most clients, they tell me that they’re in too many meetings. It can sometimes take me a little while to convince them that I’m prescribing another meeting. However, research has shown that an effective meeting can save you time (you can save about three hours per person for every hour you spend in an EFFECTIVE meeting).
So, I’m here today to tell you that you may need another meeting! That’s right. In additional to a weekly team meeting, your team may benefit from a daily huddle. Who can benefit from a daily huddle?
Any team going through significant change or chaos (e.g. COVID-19)
Any fast-moving team (e.g. a retail team at Christmas time)
Any team completing a large number of transactions (e.g. restaurant servers or IT teams)
Why could a daily huddle help?
The team pulses faster and can solve issues quickly.
Team communication in uncertain or busy times.
Happier customers due to faster issue resolution.
While you should test a few agenda items to see what works, here’s a good place to start:
Quick, one-sentence check-in (for team-health and camaraderie). Positive news!
Where are you stuck from yesterday?
Any problems or next-steps that must be addressed today?
Other tips for a great huddle:
Keep them short (10-15 minutes max). We called our huddles “standings” because we didn’t allow anyone to sit down. This helped us keep them short and sweet.
Cadence is important. Don’t let anyone drone on (ELMO - Enough, Let’s Move On) or go on a tangent.
Start and end on time!
Start at an odd time to make it easier to remember. For example, 8:07 - 8:17 am.
The afternoon can work as well as the morning (you can hold a check-out huddle instead of a morning huddle if needed).
Pick a good quarterback. It’s called a huddle for a reason. Leave the huddle with a game plan for the day.
Focus on solutions, not statuses. This isn’t everyone’s opportunity to read their schedule for the day.
If daily doesn’t work, consider every other day (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).
You should also be holding a weekly L10 meeting for each department. If you’re holding a L10, skip your huddle on this day.
In-person is good, but virtual can work well if needed (think Zoom Room).
Make it visual if you can. A kanban board can be helpful here.
Daily huddles can work well for any team, including your leadership team (especially in uncertain times).
Perfect is the enemy of the good. JUST START HAVING YOUR DAILY HUDDLE.