Meetings, fill our schedules, eat up our time, and prevent us from accomplishing the tasks that we need to get done in order to be productive and successful in our roles. Yet we continue to schedule them – often dozens of them per week.
But is there a better way?
The answer is yes. And it comes in the form of a concept often referred to as the “morning huddle.” If your business has yet to introduce a morning huddle into your daily routine, now’s the time to give it a try.
What is a Morning Huddle?
Let’s start by stating the obvious: Yes, a morning huddle is another meeting. But it’s not just any meeting. It’s a meeting designed to be so efficient and effective that it can replace other meetings and still produce better results.
A morning huddle is basically a 10-25-minute meeting where your entire team gathers together – physically or virtually – to discuss the day’s expectations and goals in a rapid-fire format.
Every company has different goals for a morning huddle, but the overarching objective is to strategize about any potential obstacles that could exist in the day; identify specific solutions to these obstacles; explore new options and ideas; give each team member actionable takeaways to clarify how the next eight to 10 hours will look.
A morning huddle is not a big strategic session where you brainstorm your entire marketing plan for the next quarter. It’s a hyper-focused gathering where the goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible.
The Benefits of a Morning Huddle
A morning huddle is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It does, however, tend to generate some of the same benefits across the board. Here are a few of the major perks:
- Saves time. The condensed nature of the morning huddle adds a degree of importance to it. Because there’s no time for fluff, people are motivated to show up and show out. It’s not uncommon for companies to get more out of one 20-minute huddle than they would out of two hour-long meetings. If that sounds like hyperbole, try it for yourself!
- Improves clarity. Typical meetings include lots of moving parts, small talk, tabled ideas, etc. By the time the meeting is over, many people leave feeling more confused than when they showed up. A huddle, on the other hand, is all about focused discussion. And because it’s so short, people leave with a very clear and concrete idea of their next steps.
- Builds rapport. It’s nearly impossible to get the entire team together for most normal meetings. (Trying to carve out one hour in everyone’s schedule isn’t realistic.) But with a 15- or 20-minute meeting that’s set in stone every single day, you can get everyone on board. And in doing so, you’re able to build better rapport.
As you implement morning huddles into your weekly cadence, you’ll likely discover additional benefits that push your business forward and help your team reach more goals in a more efficient manner.
A morning huddle is different from a meeting in every regard. Here are some tips you can use to generate massive gains:
Always Start and End on Time
Most meetings start late. The host typically waits for everyone to trickle in, there’s a bit of small talk, and then things get rolling. By the time the meeting hits full stride, the allotted time has already passed. This should not be the case with a morning huddle. Start it right away and cut things off at the precise end time. This sets the expectation of punctuality and will force people to take the meeting seriously.
Take Good Meeting Minutes
A meeting that ends without a clear agenda, goals, or decisions, is essentially a wasted opportunity. In order for a morning huddle – or any meeting for that matter – to be successful, you have to take good meeting minutes.
According to MembershipWorks, good meeting minutes include the agenda, date and time, names of participants, discussions and updates from previous huddles, decisions, and achievements. For best results, assign one person the responsibility of taking notes each time you huddle together.
Never Sit Down
Morning huddles can happen virtually or in-person. When it comes to in-person huddles, it’s best to hold them standing up. There’s a certain degree of discomfort and urgency that happens when people stand up. It prevents people from getting comfortable and sends the message that productivity is the goal.
Cut People Off
You have to be brash and bold in huddles. Set the expectation that there will be no small talk or long-winded rants – and then follow it up with action. If someone starts rambling, cut them off and move on. Eventually your team will get the picture and they’ll come with focused talking points.
It typically takes three or four weeks to get everyone on the same page – but you have to be intentional about managing meetings during these first few weeks. If you let something slide once, it becomes harder to rebuke the next time.
Set Problems Aside
A morning huddle is mainly focused on setting goals, assigning responsibilities, and clarifying tasks. This is not the time to discuss big problems or bottlenecks. When you encounter them in the course of a huddle, create an action step in the meeting minutes for the people involved to follow up after the meeting.
Again, just to clarify, a morning huddle is not your only meeting during the week. It is, however, designed to save time and reduce the number of meetings. By clarifying key points in each huddle, the hope is that you can save longer meetings for the real problems that require time to solve.
End on a Good Note
Morning huddles aren’t always bright and cheery. They tend to be fast-paced, pragmatic, and straight to the point. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be encouraging.
A morning huddle sets the precedent for the day – so make a point of always ending on a good note. Have someone share a positive quote, a happy story, or a “win.” Just keep it to 60 seconds or less!
Give Your Business a Boost
Is a morning huddle the answer to all of your woes? No.
Will a morning huddle instantly double your revenue? It would be silly to suggest as much.
But a morning huddle does have the potential to totally transform your business from the inside out. The key is to make it as efficient as possible. Don’t treat this like a normal meeting with a shorter time frame. It’s a totally different beast. The sooner you realize this, the faster you’ll get results.