The Most Important Meeting No One's Having

In my 20 years as a consultant to the Fortune 500, I saw the same problem over and over again...

The team was disconnected from the vision of the company.

Oftentimes, this was largely due to a surprisingly simple issue. These offices weren't holding the most important meeting of the day. In fact, many of them had never even heard of this meeting before.

I'm referring to what's called the Daily Huddle, and it's one of the most effective tools for building and reinforcing culture that a manager can have. This group meeting creates connection and alignment through consistent sharing of key metrics, accomplishments, goals and organizational direction.

If culture is a set of shared experiences and values, the Daily Huddle is where this sharing begins. Every day, the company collectively hears the same reports and feels the same energy. This is important because a company whose departments aren't focused on the same goals and priorities will quickly find itself in challenging positions.

How the Daily Huddle Works

One of the primary goals of the Daily Huddle is to create a contagious energy. Teams should leave this meeting with a sense of purpose, and that energy should carry throughout the day.

Here's what your Daily Huddle should accomplish:

Consistency

The Daily Huddle should always be at the same time and place. My company holds ours at 9:17 a.m. The idea is for this to become a ritual. If you change up the meeting place or time, team members can begin to see the huddle as something impermanent or unimportant. Having a consistent time and place emphasizes that the Daily Huddle is an established part of the day.

Sharing

Transparency is extremely important in the Daily Huddle. Whether it's sharing metrics and progress toward goals or reasons behind company decisions, the Daily Huddle unifies the team by keeping everyone informed.

Acknowledgement

Acknowledgement is a valuable element of team building, and the Daily Huddle provides a way to leverage that acknowledgement. People work for more than just money. They need recognition and to know they're contributing. When you acknowledge a team member in the Daily Huddle, you're leveraging that recognition by doing so in front of all their peers. Praise becomes magnified when shared in front of a crowd, even if it's only a few people. In my company, for instance, we have a section of our Daily Huddle called "Who got caught being awesome?" in which all team members are encouraged to point out something positive a fellow team member did the day before.

What the Daily Huddle Isn't

The purpose of the Daily Huddle is to create energy, connect with vision and show forward progress. And that means some topics should be avoided for the sake of alignment and productivity.

Problem Solving

Although it's important to bring up critical company issues in the Daily Huddle, it's not the place for lengthy debate. Any problem solving that needs to take place should be done (with only the necessary team members) outside of the Daily Huddle.

Grievances and Complaints

Team members should leave the Daily Huddle inspired. That means any complaints should be brought up directly with a manager or a leader so that the issue can be evaluated and solved expediently. Complaints are often a distraction in a company-wide setting and can lead to a team disconnect.

Goal Setting

The Daily Huddle isn't the place for goal setting. The company's goals should be established in a separate meeting specifically designed for that purpose. Because the Daily Huddle will involve all team members, it's paramount that it have a well-defined structure to maintain focus. The larger the group, the greater the chance for distraction.

Although your Daily Huddle should have a well-defined structure, it's important to remember that this structure is up to you and your team. Co-create the Daily Huddle with your team and refine it over time so that everyone involved can passionately support this daily meeting. Once you have this meetings fully ironed out, developing a strong, unified company culture happens automatically. And the leverage this provides will increase your productivity and efficiency by leaps and bounds.