Touchdowns From Business Huddles Not Meetings
I’ve never seen anyone drag a table, chairs and a white board onto the football field or basketball court. Have you? Every successful (and not-so-successful) sports team on the field starts the game with a huddle. It’s all they need. And whether they’re 3-and-goal or getting their butts kicked six ways to Sunday, they still take time in the middle of the game for a quick huddle or two. The purpose? To re-group, to refocus, and to make sure everyone knows what’s happening next. Huddles are a here-and-now, immediate meeting of the minds to say what needs to be done next to stay or become successful. In business, we aim to do the same thing; only we often fail at it, frequently.
Case in point – the painfully long and drawn-out meeting.
Most businesses hold meetings, especially for those who are in management positions. They hold these golden rituals weekly or even daily as though without them nothing would get done. In realty these meeting almost ensure nothing will get done. They become bull sessions where people talk about what they did over the weekend and what they should have for lunch. Truth be told, maybe 15 minutes of important dialogue goes on for every hour of meeting that someone sits through.
So enough with the distractions already! It’s time to get serious here and head for the huddle!
Why Huddles Work
If you want to improve productivity in your office, hold a morning or mid-day huddle. Hold it at the same time each day, and have each employee come into the boardroom ready to share one minute’s worth of news. They can provide an update on what they are working on, what their plans are, what they need, etc. Have them stand up so they don’t get the idea they should get too comfortable.
By the time everyone has taken one minute to go around the huddle and bring everyone up to speed, the team knows what is going on and the direction they are taking. If someone needs to speak further to someone else about an issue, they can do so after the huddle is over. No need to hold up the whole team to deal with the problems in one division or office (especially once you figure out the dollars being lost by doing so).
Laying the Ground Rules
Buy a whistle and a clipboard if you need the reminder, but never forget you are the coach. People will probably balk about running drills in the parking lot, but you should be okay hanging a “No pain, No gain,” poster somewhere. Oh, and don’t feel bad about implementing a daily huddle and laying down some ground rules to go with it. After all, if everyone is on the same page and knows what the next play is, the company will have a better chance of scoring.
So take some time to determine what you want your huddle to look like, and what you want out of it. Like I suggested earlier, many people opt for the “standing only” huddle, which is the ideal way to run it, since it keeps people from getting too comfy. If you are standing, you are more likely to wrap up the huddle quickly and get back to your office. (And before some of you finger-wagging sticklers write to me, I know that not everyone can stand through a huddle! I’m suggesting that those who are able to stand, should. Those who can’t, well, all sports have benches. The idea is not to get too comfortable okay?)
Gauging The Results
If you do nix the lengthy meetings and opt for the quick, yet effective, huddle, pay attention to the results you get. Not only will you be chewing up less of your employees’ time, but they will also be forced to really think about their own work goals each day, because you want them to share them with the group. You may just find that the huddle helps to increase productivity, create a team atmosphere, and keep people from gaining extra weight from eating all those morning-meeting donuts and bagels.