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"People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything." - Thomas Sowell

How many meetings do you attend each week? You probably have department head meetings, staff meetings, team meetings, project meetings, progress meetings, committee meetings, subcommittee meetings, meetings planning other meetings, and meetings recapping your last meeting. The last thing anyone wants to face is another meeting in his or her day. However, if you want to get more from your team (without annoying them), you should master the art of the huddle - one of the most effective meetings any group can hold.

So why would a 15-minute huddle each morning be more impacting than any other type of meeting? If you use the time wisely, a huddle leads to effective communication and charts the course for greater productivity and teamwork.

How To Huddle

If you want a huddle to be a truly effective means of getting things done, gather your team in a central location at the same time each and every morning. There are no excused absences from the huddle. During the meeting, have each person run down a brief synopsis of what they have in the hopper for the day. If they need something from someone else, they state that need. If they foresee a challenge, they lay it on the table and ask for help. By the end of the round robin, everyone heads back to their workspace with a solid plan for where they will focus their attention for the day.

To stay on track, complicated issues should be sidelined for a private conversation, but those talks can be scheduled in the huddle. If necessary, elect a meeting proctor to keep things moving. The process should be rapid-fire, but constructive; remember, you've committed to keeping the team for 15 minutes only.

Choosing The Right Type of Huddle For Your Team

No two teams are the same, and one type of huddle may not be as effective as another. Here are five common approaches to more effective morning meetings that you can choose from while you develop your own huddle style.

  • The Team Builder - The goal of this huddle is to improve communication. Similar to the huddle described above, these meetings are purely informative and encourage collaboration and support between group members.

  • The Coordinator - This type of huddle establishes priorities and coordinates efforts among the group. Rather than focusing on individual action, the rundown focuses on the status of important accounts to make sure things are moving smoothly. Individuals leave the meeting with a clear sense of their responsibility to each account.

  • The Efficiency Expert - Your round robin will focus on everyone’s top priority for the day, and they have 15 seconds in which to present. To keep people thinking in terms of minutes, rather than longer timelines, efficiency huddles should start at offbeat times throughout the day like 9:22 am.

  • The Motivator - Nobody sits in this huddle. Your goal is to light a fire under your team. Start off by announcing positive news about the company, a staff member, or an account. The session leader - who will be different at every meeting - announces three crucial numbers, and then department heads run through their "headlines" or most important news for the day. Open the floor for individuals to comment on what could be going better.

  • The Strategic Planner - This huddle is about the long game. The CEO meets with five top managers, and those managers are given up to one minute to say what needs to be accomplished that day to help them achieve quarterly and yearly goals. Then, they state the previous day's progress and roadblocks. Remember, this must be stated in less than 60 seconds. Immediately, the CEO will know where things may be going off track, and can work to steady the course. Managers can call in if they are on the road, but they cannot miss the huddle.

Huddles may be short, but they are powerful. Everyone is given equal time to speak, and it sends the message that leaders want to hear from those in the trenches. They keep managers in the loop, and potential problems can be identified before they become real issues. If you are tired of meetings about meetings about meetings, inject some life and real productivity into the group with a daily huddle.


Larry Hart

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