Most times of the year in Michigan - huddling up is usually a means of staying warm. In a business setting however, that might pose an HR issue so huddle up, but not in the traditional sense. Using a daily face to face huddle can be an effective way to stay in contact with your team, monitor progress, call and analyze plays, and keep the ball moving forward, Huddles can be 10 minutes or 30 minutes, the point is to keep them brief, but meaningful.
The huddle should be more than just task management, it should also be an opportunity to brainstorm, reward, and collaborate. They need not be limited to your own immediate team either. I've used a combination of weekly, bi-weekly, even monthly huddles with executives and other directors to keep a finger on the pulse of the rest of the organization and their priorities.
Have some fun with your huddles - give them code names, have everyone stand up instead of sitting down, go outside (weather permitting of course), have guests join from time to time - mix it up. One of my peers and I called our weekly huddles our PIAG (poop in a group). Agendas are optional, but when you are first starting it may be helpful to build a brief simple agenda until the rest of the huddlers get the rhythm.
5 tips for effective huddles:
I was reviewing some materials in preparation for an upcoming appointment and ran across this short gem on leadership that was written with some collaboration from CEO, Larry Andrus back in 2010. I think it still has a meaningful message, please let me know if you agree:
Leadership – Creating an environment for developing optimal performers (September 2010)
We have long supported the idea that if your employees are not performing it is probably the leadership that is not performing. In order to get the best out of your team you need to be sure you are providing the right environment for them to develop in.
Assuming we have provided our employees the right environment, we have found that there are six characteristics of optimal performers:
1. They are able to transcend their previous levels of accomplishment
2. They avoid a comfort zone, that no-man’s land that feels too much at home
3. They do what they do for the art of it and are guided by compelling, internal goals
4. They solve problems rather than place blame
5. They confidently take risks after laying out the worst consequences beforehand
6. They are able to rehearse coming actions or events mentally
When evaluating your team, review them against this list and then ask yourself:
1. Who are the most likely to be optimal performers?
2. Do I have my performers aligned with their talents – i.e. “Are the right people in the right seats on the bus?"
3. Am I, and my leadership team, creating an environment for these performers to flourish and excel?
What does that environment look like? Certainly it may vary by company and industry to a certain extent; however, there are several commonalities. There are many methods to research this topic - one of our favorites: ask your employees! Three simple questions can go a long way when it comes to determining what your employees feel would help them to succeed and thus the company:
1. What are we doing well?
2. What could we be doing better? and...
3. If you were CEO what might you do differently?
Recently we worked with a company where the leadership of the organization wanted to control all decisions and none of the employees were empowered to make a decision without running it by the CEO first. The consequence of course was that no one really wanted to take a risk for fear of being rejected by the leadership. Staff members were hesitant to look forward or innovate because all of that was either discouraged or basically done for them. Needless to say, they had fallen behind in many respects in their technology and perhaps in the desire of their teams to transcend their current state. The right environment was clearly absent.
With a decade plus of experience as a brand ambassador and chief sloganista, I am fascinated with customers and their customers. Ever curious, I love to analyze data, talk to people and seek to know "Why?"