What do Daily Meetings and Football Have in Common?
by Laurie Sudbrink on January 21st, 2016

Helping your team stay on track and aligned is critical to reaching goals. As we all know, it’s easy to get side tracked by reacting to what seems urgent in the moment. Or we find ourselves focusing on the easy tasks or the things we enjoy doing that can easily be crossed off our list, rather than focusing on the tasks that align to the bigger goal.

A daily meeting helps proactively organize the day and prioritize projects. I like to call it a huddle, so it's fast and to the point, like in football. The format typically used is:
  1. How are you doing today?
  2. How did your priorities go yesterday?
  3. What are your top 3 priorities for today?
  4. Do you need any help?
  5. Wrap it up.

Let’s take a look at each step to understand how it should roll out:
  1. How are you doing today? This is a quick weigh-in to let people know that you care about them. It gives you an idea if anyone is stuck or needs help. Many teams choose to use just one word for this - tired, psyched, ok.... Of course the first and next few meetings will take a little longer to get people on track with using just one word. Be mindful that it might feel awkward for some. You can let people know upfront (and keep reminding them) why you’re doing this. Teams that get a chance to quickly weigh-in will be much more likely to buy-in.

    Make sure you set the expectation with everyone (and yourself) that there are no judgments or comments on feelings. Only if someone seems really down, upset or angry do you offer they talk later. Set this expectation up front, and invite people if they do need to chat to contact you (and if you feel the need to check-in with someone afterward you can). Checking in and acknowledging how we feel can help us own it, feel it, and let it go!
     
  2. How did your priorities go yesterday? This step is for accountability and support. It should directly align with the 3 priorities the person announced the day before. It’s a great way to see if people are getting distracted, and if you are the one distracting them! If it happens repeatedly and looks like a pattern, you can schedule time to meet with the person one-on-one to figure it out.
     
  3. What are your top 3 priorities for today? This number varies of course but the goal is to have people start thinking about the job and take ownership of prioritizing their tasks. You'll need to give these to newer people at first. They should align to the positions top 5 to 7 High Value Activities (HVAs). Every position should have it’s top 5 to 7 HVAs that align to the bigger goals, and they should be in priority order so people can easily make decisions about which tasks to focus on first.
     
  4. Do you need any help? This is only to hear if someone does need help so you can schedule it. Helping the person should not happen during the huddle. The huddle needs to remain quick. You can give each person about 15 seconds to describe what they need help with (this might sound rushed but you want to train people to succinctly describe what the problem is). This will give you an opportunity to quickly coach them as well. For example, if someone needs help with something that they have authority over, you might just ask them a quick question, such as “Are you empowered to solve it, or do you need to meet with me?”  
     
  5. Wrap it up with your own hut hut hike - a high five, cheer or other hoorah movement that works for the culture of your team.
Of course you can adjust the Daily Huddle format above as applicable, but remember to keep it short. The meeting should be around 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how many direct reports you have. Keep in mind you may use double this time in the beginning because you're training people on how to have the meeting, and you’re building trust and helping them see the purpose of the meeting. Keep people standing, this helps keep it short. Everyone should come prepared with their priorities prior to the meeting, or get direction from you ahead of time.

If there are some obstacles to having a daily huddle, let us know and we’ll help brainstorm solutions!

And if you have any best practices on daily staff meetings, we invite you to share in the comments below.

Cheers,


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