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Running a Daily Huddle

– Evan Rudowski

In my last post I wrote about how we manage our priorities — daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly.

Another important component of how we stay on top of things is the Daily Huddle meeting that we conduct every morning. This has become a really important part of our day — for celebrating good news, tracking our KPIs, discussing our priorities and identifying any issues or challenges that may be standing in our way.

I first learned about the Daily Huddle concept from Cameron Herold, former COO of North American success story 1-800-GOT-JUNK and a favorite speaker at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization where I am a member. It derives originally from Verne Harnish of Gazelles.com and his book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.”

As Cameron describes it, the Daily Huddle was an important part of the culture at 1-800-GOT-JUNK. There is a great video of one of their huddles here.

A typical Daily Huddle lasts no more than five to seven minutes ideally. Everyone stands so that energy is high and the meeting moves quickly. The Daily Huddle follows a set format:

  1. Good News — start by talking about positive things that have happened
  2. KPI update — how are we tracking against our most important metrics?
  3. Priorities — everyone states the top priority they’ll be working on for the day
  4. Missing systems or issues — what’s holding us back?
  5. High note — end with something positive (see below)*

The Daily Huddle is important for sharing information and staying in synch, of course — but probably the most important aspect is that it just gets people talking to each other at the start of the day. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget to talk, and then before you know it people are off on their own tangents. Just by standing together and talking, we reconnect and stay on the same page.

This has become even more important now that we’ve begun to work in multiple locations. We have new regular members of our team who can’t be in the office. They join the Daily Huddle via a Skype video call. This has made a big difference — whereas previously they were somewhat anonymous people we dealt with via email and bug tracking solutions, now we make eye contact, talk daily and connect as human beings.

* Finally, as for ending with something positive — this is an interesting cultural phenomenon. If you watch the 1-800-GOT-JUNK video, you’ll see people high-fiving and joining in a group cheer. Well, we’re British, and over here that kind of North American gung-ho seems awkward. So we’ll end with a joke, or some banter. The main thing is to end the meeting with everyone smiling and feeling good. Then hopefully people take some of that positive energy back with them to their desks.