Huddles are a hybrid of typical staff meetings, not unlike what you might see during downtime at any athletic event. Their purpose is to share information while motivating and inspiring employees.
What is a Huddle? For us at Great Game™, a Huddle is a structured meeting designed to keep the players focused on, informed about, and feeling involved in The Game.
While the concept sounds easy enough, the Huddle must be carefully planned and executed in order to be both effective and efficient. Because of the changing work landscape (commuters, multi-location business units, diverse company cultures, etc.), the Huddle process is the one aspect of The Great Game of Business® that companies have to modify most.
However, regardless of how you modify the overall flow of your company Huddle, there are several basic items you must always cover during your Huddle.
1. Evaluate the Game Conditions
When an athletic team steps to the sidelines to Huddle up, the first thing they do is discuss what’s happening out on the field: what’s working, what isn’t, and the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent. This isn't any different than what you should cover in your team Huddle. Take some time to discuss current operational status and ensure that everyone in your Huddle is informed about the company landscape.
2. Check the Score
Take time to succinctly update the company scoreboard with your team and discuss the results. One caveat: resist the urge to focus on history or status quo during your financial discussion. While these benchmarks are important, you can’t do much about where you were or where you are. You can, however, use that information to make accurate assumptions on where you will end the month. Focus your financial discussions on where you plan to be, not where you have been.
While this portion of your Huddle should be fairly succinct (individuals should come to the Huddle ready to report their numbers, not calculate them as the meeting progresses,) be sure that everyone on the team understands why the numbers are what they are and what that means for the company.
3. Plan the Next Play
Help the team get focused on how they can contribute to the company’s success in the upcoming days. Address any financial deviations and allow the team to troubleshoot (outside of the meeting) ways to get back on track. By discussing what’s around the corner, you’ll create alignment among the team and foster an environment where everyone is able to independently consider their impact as well as create opportunities to drive the score.
4. Get Fired Up!
This is the element that will truly set your Huddle apart from other business meetings. If your intention is to have everyone working together as a team, you must take some time to get the team fired up. This doesn’t mean you need to high-five every associate as they exit the meeting or pour a cooler of cold water over a manager’s head after a big win (though your employees might get a kick out of such actions). You should, however, take time in your Huddle to highlight personal and team wins. This includes supporting members of the team that have made life accomplishments such as earning a college degree, participating in a 5K or adding a new member to the family. This is your opportunity to show your associates that you value them for not only what they do, but also who they are.
Of course, you can (and should) also celebrate team wins and milestones, such as signing a new client, earning a bonus, or hitting a workplace safety record. But, the achievements you recognize and celebrate will typically get repeated. Remember, if you want to drive positive behavior, you must also reward it – even by simply taking a moment to cheer and applaud during your Huddle.
Again, your company Huddle should be formatted to fit the culture and landscape of your company. However, in the spirit of effectiveness and efficiency, be certain that your Huddles always include time to evaluate game conditions, check the score, plan the next play and to get fired up.
This blog was inspired by Get in the Game, the step-by-step approach we use every day to implement and sustain The Great Game of Business inside organizations all over the world. Click here to access the complete chapter on Huddles and forecasting:
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- The Huddle: Where the Action Happens (Even Virtually)