Even if you feel you have your staff meetings down to a science, you may still struggle with keeping your employees engaged, informed and focused on the company’s goals. One of the biggest challenges in business today isn’t planning or even strategy; it’s the ability to execute company goals. Why? Many companies fail to consistently and openly discuss their wins and losses.
Just as sports teams regularly huddle to keep players focused on executing and winning the game, in open-book companies, teams huddle to keep each other informed about the business and focused on results.
Think about a team huddle in the final minutes of a championship game. What do you see? What are the coaches doing? What are the players doing? How can you create the same focus, accountability, alignment and sense of urgency in your company meetings? Huddles provide a consistent communication rhythm that can eliminate communication breakdowns by simply communicating through the language of business: the numbers. Successful workplace Huddles should include a review of the overall business outlook (the team as a whole) and the financial outlook (the score). This provides each employee the information they need to account for their actions and creates a clear understanding of where the problems and opportunities truly lie and how they can directly impact the outcome.
Here are four actions that will make a Huddle more successful:
Evaluate Game Conditions: Begin with brief remarks from the person leading the Huddle; this will set the tone and establish a theme. Look for a subject to give the team context and perspective; something employees can keep in mind while you go through the numbers. This is a particular good time to share the big picture – where the company is headed, threats, opportunities, how we are progressing on our goals.
Check the Score: Communicate the big picture financial outlook for the company and share the stories behind the numbers. Highlight and openly discuss the wins and losses. Encourage everyone to think about cause and effect, that is, how they can influence the numbers rather than just passively looking at results to date?
Plan the Next Play: Determine what plays the team must successfully run to improve the score. And, make sure the players have what they need to successfully run that play. Identify the deviations from the plan and help each other clear the path so that the team can improve on them. Employees should walk away able to answer this question: What is single most important thing I can do this week to improve the score?
Get Fired Up: Recognize and celebrate every win, big or small. Highlight individual and team accomplishments. Nothing fires up players more than being recognized and appreciated for a job well done – or a game well played.
If you stick to this simple format, your team Huddles will become the catalysts for accountability and driving performance in your company.