I have turned entire businesses around with this tactic and I encourage you to at least try it for one week and notice the positive difference.
Stand outside an Apple Store 10 minutes before they open and you will see a team meeting. Have a look at your favourite sports team before they play, they are having a team meeting. Every army command has a briefing before they do their mission. Every successful team, or team trying to win, has some sort of team briefing before they start a game. In a business environment, the “game” is that days trade. And its critical to the success of your business that everyone going into that day is armed with all the information and motivation to help you achieve your goals.
One of the biggest positive impacts in my career was the consistent use of morning meetings to inform and motivate my team.
What is a morning meeting or pre-game huddle? It’s an opportunity to brief the team on the upcoming days events, goals, challenges and generally getting everyone on the same page. There is a lot going on in any given day. Bringing everyone together for 5 minutes is healthy, easy and tremendously effective.
How do you conduct a morning meeting?
Just call everyone together. Time limit the brief to no more than 5 minutes (although you should be able to do it in less than 2) Let everyone know how things are progressing against the goal. Pick someone to congratulate for something they did well yesterday (be genuine, if there was nothing then skip this step, although if you talk to your team there is always something cool or interesting they did or achieved that moved things forward) Let them know or remind them of upcoming challenges and opportunities. Squash any rumours floating around. As long as you squash them with fact. Conclude the meeting with a reminder of what todays goal is. I used to mix things up (I was in a retail environment) and would set challenges for the day — things like ‘an extra 20 minutes lunch break for whomever sells Widget ABC first or first person to sell 10 of this Widget can finish work 30 minutes early today” etc etc. Competition is good. And Healthy. And you get some great observations out of it as to who is really hungry.
So why do morning meetings/team meetings/huddles work?
They keep team members involved. This is huge. A disengaged workforce will not work to help achieve your goals. They will simply do the minimum required to achieve their own — getting their weekly/monthly pay check. Involving them, making them feel part of the process has a massive psychological impact and their buy in will make them truly part of the team. There is no day to day ambiguity on what is expected. If you set a target to achieve X today, then everyone is aware. No need to speak to individuals. No need to send out a seperate memo. Everyone collectively knows what today is about. You can show your disappointment if things aren’t going well. A manager who is locked in their office lamenting and upset about poor results is significantly less effective than a leader who stands up in front of the team in the morning and states their disappointment at the results coming in. The important thing here is to balance that out with hope and tactics to turn the situation around. Being open that targets aren’t being met is a lot better than not talking about it, sticking ones head in the sand and just ignoring the problem. High performers in sales (although I’m sure in most other fields too) have egos that need stroking. They love the spotlight and the occasional mention of their great results in public will motivate them even more. You have an opportunity to talk about decisions and tactics you have made. A lot of teams are informed of a new policy via a memo without understanding the reasoning behind the decision. Your ability to put a human face on the policy will be very effective. Can this be used in any workplace?
YES! I believe so. Every business is trying to achieve something at any particular point in time. A factory needs to produce a certain amount of Widgets. A service shop need to see a certain amount of clients today and get a certain amount of new ones. The sales pipeline always needs filling. And if full, the output needs to be processed. There is always a target. If you haven’t been used to working with a target you need to put the thinking cap on (ideally involve your team) and come up with some. Once you do, start measuring and talking about it each day.
What if I only have 2 staff?
Two is a team, and you need to huddle :) It’s not hard. It may be quicker and may involve nothing more than reminding each other about some stuff coming up that day and when to best get lunch breaks out of the way.
What if its only me — 1 person?
Well you’re in luck. Obviously no meeting for you. However — I encourage you to take 5 minutes before you start work and think through how things went yesterday, and what the plan is for today. The effect will be the same. You will have anticipated problems and given yourself that little psychological kick to achieve something.
If all this stuff sounds too hard or likely to be ineffective I can assure you it is neither. Like with any skill it requires practice. When you start, some meetings will seem awful, fake and boring. But over time you will get into your groove and be able to conduct them quickly and efficiently. You will know you’ve nailed it when the team claps and cheers at the end, pumped and motivated to smash todays goals.