DAILY HUDDLES: A HABIT WORTH STARTING

How do you keep up with what’s happening in your world? Do you have a favourite news program that plays in your background on your way to work? Or do you cap your day with the nightly news? Regardless of personal preference, as humans we thrive by connecting with what’s going on around us.

With the advancements in technology, news and information is now published effectively real time with instant people interaction. This is not only happening in the outside world, via facebook and twitter, but is also evident in how information is distributed and spread within vibrant business organisations.

This is what General Stanley McChrystal discusses in his book “Team of Teams” asserts; that organisations have to plan and react at the same speed as the changes in their external environment. From a strategic point of view and using the Civil War scenario, he points out that in the 1860s, generals were required to implement multi-month battle plans as this directly equates to how long enemies could march troops over long distances. However, this is no longer the case today as enemies could change strategies, leaders and methods as easily as a push of a button or a flick of a switch – thereby prompting the military to react and adapt just as quickly in order to survive.

Just like our military generals, we as business leaders must also know how to plan and adapt quickly.

Although it may be too strong of an analogy to use war for business, it is a fact that  businesses have to fight and win many battles to actually survive, and communication within the organisation is one of them. How do you make sure you’re keeping everyone in the loop and not losing your connection? My solution is simple – make the “Daily Huddle” part of your company tradition.

Here’s a simple formula to follow:

Each standup huddle works in rounds, where each member contributes in 30 seconds or less the following:

First round – What’s up

Have your team members contribute to key updates and topics, these should include important updates from yesterday and today that is relevant to the team like client updates or internal successes. Celebrate wins, no matter how small and tie it to your company’s Core Values or BHAG.

Get a temperature check – What’s your good news? (both personal or work related)

This can be the part of your daily huddle where you get some numbers and get a temperature check of your team. Have them share relevant metrics and forecasts and leaders can even report on their progress as a team in relation to their group and individual Key Performance Indicators KPIs. Organisations will differ on format but once you start, you can then tailor your agenda to fit the culture of your team.

Look for bottlenecks – Are you stuck?

During this part of the huddle, everyone has a chance to bring to the table any bottlenecks and issues that are keeping them from achieving their goals. It can be a problem with a process or a problem with certain people. Ideally, it should focus on process improvements but if this becomes an issue with people it could be a signal of a communication breakdown at the a certain level in the organisation and should be addressed differently.

Set the tone

There is no set size for a huddle but in general it is teams of 2-15 members that require a huddle to share insights and information among each other so they can operate smoothly. Large organisations may have to meet with key persons and have those persons cascade to their individual teams.

Some key guidelines to note:

  • Standing huddles must take less than 15 minutes and should be done once daily for it to become a habit.
  • Preparation is key, all your members must come to the huddle prepared to give their report or insights.
  • Don’t just have one person share at one time but instead ask everyone involved so that they continue to be engaged all throughout the session.
  • Start on time. Starting and ending at the same time tells people you care about their time. Pick an odd time to start e.g. 9.09am, 10:08am or 4:04pm
  • Close of day huddles are really powerful as your team takes stock of the day and sets the next day’s priorities.  It also allows their team leader to think overnight about any bottlenecks the team is having and how they may be able to overcome them the next day.  So when the new day dawns, your team hits the ground running and you’ve had time to think of ways to wipe out the bottleneck.
  • Many teams work in multiple time zones and/or at multiple locations, use technology like zoom or skype to bring your team together. I have many teams huddling around an iphone sharing their huddle news.  How you choose to enable the huddle doesn’t matter.  It’s all about team communication and eliminating bottlenecks.

 

By creating a rhythm of daily huddles in your organization, you give your team a voice, help them connect with each other better and provide an avenue to share best practices. This also allows you to share and celebrate small successes and provide an opportunity for people to contribute to the organisation as a whole. Daily huddles will also eliminate the need for time-consuming emails and bottlenecks are resolved in real-time.

Team leader tip:  Block out the following 30 minutes immediately after your team’s daily huddle and be available to your team to help them resolve their bottlenecks.  This frees your team’s day as they’re not waiting around for a response, and it also frees your day up from endless interruptions.  Try it – you’ll like it 🙂

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