Strong communication is often one of the most powerful skills an organization can develop. Enabling the efficient flow of the right information, to the right people, at the right time is critical, allowing informed decisions to be made with the best information available at that time. It creates an environment where forward momentum is possible, because there is real time access to the data and information everyone needs to do their job.
Now, more than ever, it’s essential that teams and organizations come together, to enable themselves to thrive in the midst of this pandemic crisis, by supporting each other, sharing ideas and crowdsourcing the collective wisdom.
“In a complex environment, you shift from a knowledge is power economy, to sharing is power and he who shares fastest, wins.”
- Chris Fussell, former Navy SEAL and President of McChrystal Group
Information sharing may sound simple, but in reality it quickly becomes complex, especially in larger organizations. How do you create the culture, environment and forums that enable information sharing to occur and encourage people to openly share what they’re learning, especially in times of uncertainty?
We’ve found the “Daily Huddle” to be a very powerful and effective method to build momentum, share learning and create consistency, especially in times of rapid change and high complexity.
A quick, consistent, daily meeting of core team members works very well to create open channels of communication. Many organizations have this practice implemented as a regular facet of the business. In the times we’re living in today, it is even more valuable.
There are a number of different formats available to serve as examples of how you might shape an agenda. The two keys we’ve identified that make a daily huddle successful are:
- Keep it Short: a daily huddle meeting should be quick and we’ve found between 15 to 30-min. as enough time to accomplish our agenda and short enough to keep the right pace. It’s not the time or place to go into deep detail on any topic or broad generalities. It’s designed as a quick and collaborative forum for sharing focused and specific information. The meeting must start on time, at the same time each day and should follow the same agenda flow. Ending on time is also critical, as it respects everyone’s time and doesn’t permit the meeting to trail off in ways it shouldn’t.
- Build a Cadence: Part of the reason a daily huddle works so well is that it builds discipline and momentum. The fast-paced format is by design to keep things moving and send people off into their days with the information they need and the energy to get started on what matters most. Holding daily huddles every day will help build a new habit and “muscle memory” among your team, which they will come to appreciate and rely upon.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, we found ourselves trying to understand the potential short and long-term impacts on our business. It became apparent that we would need to make changes to our business model and we quickly implemented a daily huddle with our core team. This helped us to understand what was happening in real time and enabled us to make decisions, as well as change and adapt, as the environment around us changed on a daily basis. We were able to share what we were learning from other organizations, our customers and team members.
Here’s the simple agenda we instituted for our daily huddle:
- What’s up: any major headlines or notables that were important for everyone to be aware of.
- What are you learning: what have you learned over the past 24-hours that is relevant to our business or you think everyone here should know.
- Where do you need support: where might you be getting stuck, what critical questions do you have and how can this team help.
Here’s a quick (3-min.) video from Verne Harnish, author of “Scaling Up” where he describes the importance of the daily huddle and another common agenda structure.