Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Morning Huddle

I'm probably not alone in my struggles to make meetings more productive. How can we strike the right balance between meetings that have the necessary exchange of information yet do not drag on and waste everyone's time?

Inc. magazine has an interesting take in "The Art of the Huddle: How to run a prompt, productive, and painless morning meeting." Daily huddles are short (no more than 15 minutes), start and end on time, and allow leaders to ensure that the organization is aligned. Problem solving is forbidden (i.e. deferred to a different meeting that does not take the entire group). The meeting is entirely focused on what people are doing...not how.

Morning huddles should produce the following results:

- Keep people focused on strategic goals

- Provides timely answers to hot issues

- Ensures team members are accountable to each other

- Identifies issues that require more detailed follow-up

- Validates and synchronizes top priorities

Does this sound like something you need? The article suggests that this is a no-brainer for small companies to maintain an entrepreneurial culture and to maintain momentum on strategic goals and objectives. But I should also add that I first learned of morning huddles in Rudy Giuliani's book (Leadership) and know that this is certainly value-added in large organizations (as it was for the Mayor of New York City).

Some of the techniques in the article - keep everyone standing, start before lunch, rotate responsibilities for leading the huddle - all sound like great things to try. If you're like me, your meetings need some improvement. Let's try some of these techniques and see if they help improve communication and yield higher levels of productivity. I look forward to hearing about some of your successes! I'll let you know if my meetings get any better as well!

Huddle up, team! This is Leader Business! Hooah!

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