Daily huddles, also known as daily stand-up or daily scrum, are quick 5 to 15-minute meetings that you have each day to share updates and bring up tactical challenges within your team. They are common in many business methodologies but probably most closely connected with The Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish, which has most recently been updated in Scaling up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0). Verne Harnish is the founder of Gazelles, which is a global executive education and coaching company. Scaling Up provides the practical tools and growth techniques that are taught through Gazelles.
In Scaling Up, he refers to daily huddles as the most important meeting of all your meeting rhythms. The reason these daily huddles are so important is that they save you an incredible amount of time and prevent so many problems or miscommunications before they happen. It’s also a daily touchpoint to keep everyone connected.
In Gazelles, the agenda for your daily huddle is the following 3 questions:
Each person takes a maximum of 30 seconds to share what’s going on between now and next huddle. This is not a laundry list of their daily agenda but rather specific key activities and meetings.
These metrics are different for every team but the idea is to gather and share data and trends. Sharing this information on a daily basis means you see things as they happen versus waiting until the end of the week or month, at which time it might be too late to make necessary changes. Some examples of daily metrics include: the number of proposals sent, daily sales numbers, number of sales calls made, or number of tickets closed.
This is the most important part of your daily huddle. The key outcome of this question is to find out what is stopping someone from having a productive, effective day? By doing this every day, address problems before they get bigger and delay projects or initiatives. You can focus on breaking through constraints. Once issues are identified, solutions are hammered out after the meeting to get everyone rolling on a productive day.
One of the great things about the last question is that it helps normalize being stuck. It tells your team that being blocked or stuck on something is ok. It’s good to ask for help, instead of spinning your wheels, getting frustrated, and wasting time.
The patterns and challenges that come out of these questions will then help inform the key topics and discussions for your weekly meetings.
It is important to keep the daily huddle on time. Each person on your team should only be speaking for about one-minute combined over the course of the huddle. Larger issues are saved for other meetings where they can get the attention they deserve.
Smaller teams have shorter huddles. You can expect to spend about an equal amount of time on each of the 3 questions above. In larger teams, have a team lead provide updates instead of each individual person to keep everything under 15 minutes.
Stand up, don’t sit. This helps to keep the meeting quick. If you have remote team members, set them set up on a conference call. Make sure the call is set up BEFORE the meeting so you aren’t spending meeting time dealing with technology issues.
When you have your huddle doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be first thing. Instead, have your daily huddle at whatever time fits in with the rhythm of your business.
The person who runs the meeting needs to be disciplined. This may or may not be the CEO. This person is responsible for moving topics ‘offline’ so that the huddle stays on time.
In Gazelles, daily huddles are the building blocks of your meeting rhythms. They are a valuable way to keep your team connected, see important patterns and trends, and address challenges that would otherwise waste valuable time. The larger issues that emerge from daily huddles bubble up into your weekly meetings where they can get more time and attention. These meetings, if run well, by the right person, will save your team time and keep communication flowing to prevent future problems.
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