I used to think daily meetings were overkill. But after 20 years of using them with clients, I’ve found that the daily execution huddle is hands down one of the most impactful meetings that you can have.

Imagine a sports team where everyone just kind of rolls in and then goes out on the field. Without a huddle they can’t be in sync to go out there to do their job. It doesn’t make sense.

A proactive pulse

For companies, a short, daily huddle is critical to weave together the execution of weekly, monthlyquarterly and annual meetings.

The intent is to take a proactive pulse – to make sure you’re on track and you have what you need to be effective.

These meetings also create psychological safety because you feel tighter as a team and emotionally connected to the people on it. We like to be part of a tribe we trust.

This is the cross-communication across all the different channels and pieces of the business so that people stay in sync and know what’s going on.

One day, I was in a Walmart in Kelowna, BC, with my son, when we saw a group of employees talking in a circle. After their huddle, they sang the Walmart song, a big part of their culture.

After what turned out to be their daily huddle, I asked the manager, and one of the people I’d seen in the meeting, about it. They explained that they meet once, sometimes twice, a day in a different part of the store, to include different people. The store ran well because everyone knew what was going on – if a shipment was expected, or if they needed more people in the back. This huddle set the plan and the tone for the day.

I’m not saying you need a song, but the daily meeting is a point of unification and insanely powerful.

“It’s like brushing my teeth. I don’t realize how important it is until I miss a day.” – Roger Hardy, CEO, Coastal Contacts Inc. on the daily meeting.

Getting it right

Daily meetings can’t work if people don’t understand them well enough to bring them to life, or don’t have the discipline to keep them going.

Train your team that is the daily central communication channel for stuff that impacts everyone versus the one-on-ones to which people sometimes default.

Done right, you can save an hour per day of tiny interactions, wasted time, updates, emails or other meetings.

For most teams, this meeting happens four days per week. The fifth day is for the weekly meeting.

The agenda

Ask everyone to bring data, what they’ve learned and what they need. If someone later brings up something that should have been shared at the daily, ask them to bring it the next day.

This meeting is about status, not solutions. If necessary, meet offline and bring solutions to the next day’s meeting.

Here’s the agenda:

 1. What’s up?

What’s going on today that we all need to know, good or bad?

E.g., A new product launch, the queen is visiting, there’s a power outage…

  • Make sure everyone participates. Go around the room to hear from every person, circling for each agenda item.

Note: This is for a smaller group like the executive, marketing or accounting team – not for 50 people. If you want to do a daily huddle with a group of 20, 30, 50 or more, you’ll just have to manage the agenda differently to get through it in 10 minutes.

 2. The daily metric

Report on the top three to five numbers, in case you need to make adjustments.

  • Put the numbers on a digital or white board and ask owners of each metric for an update. If something’s either really good, or really bad, you may need to have a special meeting after the meeting.

If you don’t have sophisticated data reporting, find a daily metric that relevant to you, like sales numbers that are easy to track, or a leading or lagging indicator.

  • Find a different KPI to talk about each day.

E.g., Accounting, operations, customer feedback, inventory, cash conversion cycles, production, shipping.

The key is to stay connected to the numbers meaningful in the business. Everyone in the team learns and stays focused on what matters most, every time you talk about the numbers.

 3. Where are you stuck?

Ask:

  • What do you need to make sure you have a productive day?
  • Where are the bottlenecks?

Some things you can fix yourself, some benefit from a colleague’s help. Sometimes, just articulating a problem helps someone to find their own solution.

Example: At Spotify, people work in small teams, with a common whiteboard on which they write where they are stuck. Anyone walking by can see it and offer a fix.

Customize Your Daily Execution Huddle

Depending on the culture and type of company customize this meeting to suit you, like adding:

  • A personal update
  • A joke of the day
  • Something positive to energize the group
  • A word-of-the-day to learn something new (could be in another language)
  • An opportunity of the day.

Recap: Engage the critical people for your daily meeting for a maximum of 10 minutes.

The Challenge

  • What can you do to enhance your current daily meeting or potentially start one?

Listen to Episode 94 of The Growth Whisperers. And for more tips on great meetings:

Blog: 12 Tips for Better Business Meetings

Blog: Team Meetings, Debates and the Power of Bowling Balls

Episode 93: The Weekly Leadership Team Meeting

Episode 92: The Monthly Meeting


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