Wanna improve your huddle meetings?
Daily Huddle Meetings
Wanna improve your huddle meetings?
Our daily mood data shows that huddles are a great way to encourage daily conversations around improvements, and actions.
But I’m not here to convince you that you should hold these meetings, or why.
You’re probably already a believer as you see the benefit of aligning your team on a daily basis.
Instead, I’m here to throw 18 questions at you!
These should help you (and your team) reflect on how to improve your daily huddles, and increase productivity.
1. Are you standing up?
Standing up instead of sitting down means people will be:
A) brief and
B) stick to the point.
It’s too tiring to stand up for too long! And hey remember, time wasted, is money wasted.
Perhaps: Use the last 2 minutes to Do the plank (I just wrote this to look cool. There’s no way I would do this myself 😉 It does reduce injuries though.)
2. Do you wait for everyone to arrive?
Just start and make them feel like they missed out on something important.
This way they are likelier to respect everyone else’s time for tomorrow’s standup meeting.
Needless to say, FINISH on time too.
If your daily huddles start to drag out, you can appoint someone to be the time tracker. Keep the role going, until you as a group get back on track and finish when you should again.
If you allow coworkers to arrive late, they will just keep doing it. And if you’re one of the people who are punctual, waiting for others annoys you. Every. Day.
Needless to say, don’t hold standup meetings until AFTER everyone has clocked in.
Perhaps: Play a snippet of a song to indicate that the session is about to start? Let your coworkers choose the music each week.
3. Do your daily huddles take longer than intended?
Again, standing up is good, and you can appoint someone to track time.
When discussions start getting out of hand (time-wise that is, not fistfights :), you can:
A) schedule an additional meeting with relevant staff only
B) appoint a group to look into the subject or possible solutions
Stick to the agenda, and use 10-15 minutes max.
There is also a growing trend of No Meeting Wednesdays.
Perhaps: Beep a horn or use a funny sound when someone speaks for more than 2 minutes.
4. Do leaders talk more than the team?
Are you as a leader doing all the talking? What are the upsides of that? And the downside?
Who decides what you talk about? What NEVER comes up?
When team members speak, are they looking at you, or at their coworkers as they speak?
“We have slowly started to change the leaders of the tier meetings so that it is someone else speaking every day. This way, it doesn’t turn into a one-man show”, says Martin Minaric, Production Manager at Metzeler.
Perhaps: Put all the names in a box and randomly select who leads the daily huddle? Start with team managers, then include the rest.
5. Who talks the MOST of your employees?
Does it tend to be the same people talking during your daily shift meetings?
Even if they have good opinions and make valid suggestions, a team consists of more people. What opinions, suggestions, or dynamics are you as a leader, or the company, missing out on?
It also makes it boring for the team to always listen to the same person. It doesn’t matter if that person is super clever, funny or annoying. Let more voices be heard!
Lower the bar to get more coworkers involved.
Take small steps.
Get them talking about something non-threatening. The idea is just for employees to get used to hearing their own voice in front of the group.
It could be a Yes/No question, anything to involve them, so they say SOMETHING. “Danny! Did you try the new safety gear?”.
Next week, raise the bar and ask a question that can’t be yes or no. Like, “how was your weekend Manuel?”.
Think about what subgroups you have.
How is this affecting your daily huddle meetings and your workplace?
What are subgroups based on? Tenure? Gender? Religion? Language?
Are there hidden rules between them? Would they tell you if there were?
Perhaps: Think of creative ways to interrupt those who “always” talk, so other coworkers feel it’s safe to step up and talk.
6. WHY do you do daily huddle meetings?
Have you (clearly) defined the purpose of your shift meetings?
Would your team members define it the same way?
How do you know if you’re achieving what you set out to do? If you’re continuously tracking employee morale, you can measure the impact, over time.
Does the WHY change over time?
And do you adapt quickly enough? I.e. when there’s a lot of ‘red’, dedicate more minutes to ask open questions about what’s happening. Actively listen to your team members.
Was it your idea to use daily lean meetings? Or did management make huddles mandatory?
Perhaps: Ask your team WHY you do team meetings. Don’t judge. Just listen.
7. Do people always stand next to the same person?
For your upcoming five daily huddle meetings: Check if the same employees tend to stand or sit next to each other.
What happens if you actively encourage your staff to stand next to someone else? Break your group dynamics!
It doesn’t have to be obvious, give it a fun spin.
– Ask your coworkers to stand next to each other in alphabetical order, using their names.
– If they go back to standing next to the same workmates at the next meeting, mix again, using surnames.
– Next meeting: Get cat people on one side, and dog lovers on the other.
Group dynamics need to be shaken up every now and again. What roles do people play? We often recreate patterns and behaviors in groups.
Some associates might speak up who otherwise wouldn’t. Perhaps because they’re standing next to someone who is “boycotting” your initiatives, and is miserable at work.
Or because they simply want to get on with their workday, so they can finish their job tasks on time.
Perhaps: Actively involve other coworkers to answer business questions that come up. “Neil, perhaps you have some ideas to solve problem X?”.
8. Do you focus more on people who WANT to be here? Or those who don’t.
Who tries to make things better in your organization? Who is willing and interested?
Focus on those employees.
Not just during your huddle, cause positivity is contagious!
If you’re struggling with this, ask fellow business leaders for help.
Perhaps: Create a ripple effect of kindness. Here are 7 challenges for line managers when kindness doesn’t come naturally. Challenge them, or yourself, to do ONE of these 7 Acts of Kindness before the end of next week.
9. Have you adapted your physical space?
“As huddles became more of an important part of our contact centre life, we had to adapt our environment accordingly. We brought in furniture that was more suited to this type of gathering”, says James Revell, Director of International Contact Centres at Air France-KLM.
“For example, high tables for a shorter huddle where time and efficiency is of the essence. Huddles have developed into a social tool, helping to keep teams together during a tough time.“
“They also present a great opportunity for line managers to assess how their colleagues are faring from a mental health perspective, as well as still fulfilling the traditional information sharing brief”, he finishes.
Perhaps: Allocate expenses for your upcoming budget.
10. Do you use screens to visualize?
Similar to adapting your physical space: Are you making the most of technology to enhance your daily huddle meetings?
Do you use huddle boards?
Do you clearly show your shift huddle’s agenda?
It doesn’t have to be fancy, and you don’t have to use it every day. But it’s a great way to make things more dynamic and visual. Show a KPI on a screen as you discuss the number, like today’s Employee Mood KPI.
You can also visualize phrases on screens.
“Use starting phrases that people can fill in like “So that I can start, I need …” or also ask it as a question to all the meeting participants. Or “What are you taking responsibility for today?”, he continues.
Perhaps: Use APIs to automatically display the latest KPIs.
11. Do coworkers feel energized after the huddle? (Or the other way around..?)
Juhi King, Portfolio and Program Director, mentor, and coach, has used daily huddles for the past 6 years.
She’s seen various versions of them:
“The daily meetings I found most effective were the ones where teams knew the difference between a traditional status update meeting and an agile collaboration huddle that focuses on the highlights – achievements and hurdles.”
“The ones that I saw got the best outcomes were the latter and were high performing teams that were connected with each other.“
“A great huddle would always feed excitement and teams leave with motivation to pursue the goals they’ve set out to achieve. And above all it kept the team glued together, through hard and happy times”, she concludes.
Perhaps: Write down when your team is most motivated, or check your daily mood data. What can you do to repeat that feeling?
12. Are you asking WHY enough?
“What works for us is to talk about our employee mood on a daily basis as a part of the SQCDP meeting (Safety, Quality, Cost, Delivery and People).”, says Martin from Metzeler.
“We support and are grateful if people let us know how they feel even if it is not good, as it’s not a chase for points. We generally talk about the mood at our monthly meetings where we sit with the employee representatives and look at the results of the past months.”
“We try to understand what caused the mood swings and what we can do about it. I believe it’s a lot about asking and really listening to people and the willingness to create an open culture. Sometimes you know you will face tough days but you have to believe it’s worth it in the end.”
Perhaps: Just for fun, at tomorrow’s daily huddle, phrase every sentence like a question, beginning with the word Why.
13. Are you thanking your employees? And celebrating?
“What I would like to add with time is a gratitude ritual at every meeting, where people in charge have to say what are they grateful for”, Martin continues.
“It can be however small. Because you cannot be grateful and frustrated at the same time and I believe it can even be contagious.”
Of course, showing gratitude ‘should’ already be happening in your business during Gemba walks, weekly meetings, etc.
Research by the American Psychological Association shows that 93% of coworkers “who reported feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best at work and 88% reported feeling engaged”.
Get everyone to say something positive about the person standing to their left.
Have a box of hand-written post-its if team members are stuck during the huddle.
- “I like that you’re always so positive, even when things are stressful”.
- “You’re the quickest maintenance dude I have ever worked with”.
Another easy thing to do is to mark birthdays on your agenda and celebrate with a box of chocolate.
Perhaps: For the next two weeks, tell your coworkers what you’re grateful for. You’ve got 30 seconds. Then challenge others to continue.
14. Do you use surprises?
Reward those who attend your standups and those who arrive on time.
It can be a small thing. Don’t announce it, unless there is a substantial reward. You’ll risk building expectations and employees might feel it wasn’t worth the hype.
Do something small, without announcing it. You’ll get a bigger impact.
Hand out protein bars or smoothies!
Are you managing night shift workers? Give blue light-blocking glasses (to block their eyes from the sun while heading home after the night shift).
Think of stuff that works in your company culture. Add some fun!
Got some budget? If you and your team have been joking about the price of fuel lately, hand out vouchers worth 20 bucks to the first 5 to show up for your daily huddle. Or those who consistently arrive on time, or whatever behavior you want to encourage.
Just, eh, watch out for those employees always yelling FAVOURITISM!
Perhaps: Organize a Popcorn Day?
15. Do you look people in the eyes?
Try it. I swear to god it makes SUCH a big difference. It builds trust and you can also easier see how staff react during your sessions.
Also, if you don’t look at them, they are less likely to look at you.
But perhaps you’re an introvert? Or simply feel embarrassed to look people in the eyes?
Try the lighthouse exercise. Hold a coworker’s gaze for 3-5 seconds, then continue to the next.
Perhaps: Take a short public speaking course, perhaps one adapted for business use.
16. Do you invite others to your huddle meeting?
Mix it up!
Great way to avoid silo mentalities in your business.
Does your finance department know that you do daily huddles? Do they know why you do it? And what it feels like?
Invite them over to give a 3-minute intro to what they do in your company.
Or find someone from the HR department to inform your team about the holiday procedure changes. Or have a rotating schedule where employees who just joined your business pop in for your standup meeting.
Again, keep a close look at the agenda and give them 3 minutes tops. If your team has questions, or if the person starts rambling, kindly interrupt them so you finish on time.
It’s a great excuse to tell them to catch up later during the day, or to grab a coffee together to discuss more.
Ask people to read the company memo, etc to catch up on the rest.
Perhaps: Get the CEO or other top brass to join your lean meeting. 3 minutes max!
17. Have you thought about noise, temperatures, and air pollution levels?
Is there a meeting room you can use every now and then if you’re in a very noisy environment?
Or mix it up by holding the daily team huddle meetings outside, every two weeks?
Do coworkers from other teams interrupt by pulling staff away?
Or makes noises/disturb as they walk by? Is it crowded as the space is small, even standing up?
Too hot during Summer? Smoky?
Choose your location carefully.
If people can’t hear you well due to sudden noises, or a constant noise level, that will obviously affect the quality and efficiency of your sessions.
If you move around, think about how you can keep visualizing your KPI’s in an easy way.
I.e. bring a whiteboard with you, or use a projector.
Perhaps: Don’t move around too much or you’ll never start and finish your tier meetings punctually.
18. Do you show your human side as a leader?
Share something that made you have a good workday this week.
If you’ve got staff satisfaction buttons, share what made you press the green smiley yesterday. Start by sharing something small. Something that’s true, not some corporate mumbo jumbo about “aligning strategies”. Be honest.
Preferably it should be something that meant something to you personally. Something that made you happy as a leader, or those little irritating aspects that drive you nuts at work.
“Someone had filled up the coffee capsules by the time I got back to grab another, it totally made my day!”.
Or “I didn’t think we would fix the assembly line on time but thanks to Maggie, John, and Pieter’s effective work – we did! I was so happy I didn’t have to tell our client we would deliver late again”.
Perhaps: Ask “How did we do as a group yesterday?” and see how people feel about yesterday’s workday. What could you start, stop, continue doing?
Those were our 18 questions!
Let us know which of these huddles ideas you’ve tried, and if you saw any difference in your Celpax data
The Celpax device:
A simple and effective way to quickly react to keep employee morale high.