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The value of the morning huddle

by Josh Nickell

Many businesses and business methodologies talk about the importance of quick daily meets. Unfortunately, very few companies actually follow through with them. A quick daily meeting should be standard — like checking your pulse when you visit the doctor — and making the time can have many positive impacts on your business from increased safety to higher employee engagement.

In Agile methodology, they are called “stand-up” meetings. They go by many other names as well like check-ins and status updates, but I prefer the term huddle. Huddle paints a picture of what you want to accomplish in that time. Even if you never played football, you can picture the huddle. It embodies teamwork, planning, conversation, checking in with each other and strategy. Like the term stand-up — my second favorite name — it also reminds you it should be short and focused. The idea of standing up helps prevent meeting just for the sake of having a meeting and wasting time.

Here are five tips to make your morning huddles better:

Discuss strategy. This one is kind of obvious. Create an outline to use each day that fits your business model. It could include things like key tasks, challenges to overcome, customers to expect, encouragement, etc. Try to include some specific and definable key performance indicators (KPIs) or smart goals each day.

Stand in a circle. Be shoulder to shoulder as equals and teammates. It’s not the leader’s chance to just tell everyone what to do, it’s the chance for everyone to share and often includes personal wins or celebrations. While you have everyone together, you should welcome their input on the strategy and goals for the day.

Watch body language. The best leaders look around at the team and check body language. How is everyone doing today? Is there anyone you should pull aside to check on?

Praise your team. This is the perfect opportunity to get your team started off on the right foot. Lead with appreciation and recognition for your team, personal and professional. It releases serotonin and dopamine which makes people feel happier and closer.

Safety. In businesses like manufacturing and rental, safety is a big concern and many injuries can be prevented through the use of safety gear or preparing for the daily physical strain. Whether you are renting equipment or tents, confirm your team has the proper safety gear on them or that they are prepared. Getting some movement in like calisthenics or stretching can make a real impact. It might feel silly at first, but there is a reason it is a must for most Japanese companies. It makes an impact.

It might feel a little weird getting started, and it’s OK to have some laughs on the first few, but I guarantee once you implement the practice, you won’t go back.