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Harness the Power of a Daily Morning Meeting

One firm’s standing 9:49 a.m. staff meeting sets the tone for the whole day. Here’s how it could work for your business, too.
June 22, 2015

Raise your hand if you’re a leader who thinks, “The faster we grow, the less time we have for meetings.”

At one time, my hand would have shot up, since I used to think this way. But I had it all wrong. As Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm, claims, it should be the exact opposite—the faster you’re growing, the more meetings you need to keep your people in sync, since everyone is running around like crazy.

But these meetings shouldn't be hour-long, slog-through-an-agenda kind of meetings. Instead, you should keep them quick and on point—get your business covered and move on.

At TINYpulse, we decided to try a standing, daily team meeting at 9:49 a.m. While that start time may seem arbitrary, it’s not a fluke. Picking an odd time to start a meeting helps keep the meeting top-of-mind and memorable. Now we’re addicted to the daily meeting, and we love it.

The following are six key lessons we learned through trial and error:

Stand

We all gather around our daily check-in board and remain standing. When people grab a seat, they can get too comfortable and might start getting chatty. Standing keeps our meetings quick and punchy.

Use the Gong

We start with a positive vibe by having everyone hit a gong if we’ve closed a deal since our previous check-in. And if the client subscribes for a year instead of month-to-month, we double-gong to make it more fun.

Point Out the Wins

Next, we discuss any positive developments, or “wins,” since the previous check-in. This can be something big, like landing a valuable client, or something small, like creating a tracking calendar to improve an existing process. Big or small, wins like these help move our company forward, and everyone should acknowledge and celebrate them.

Review Previous No. 1

Everyone then declares if they accomplished their No. 1 goal from the previous meeting. If they did, they put a green check next to that self-written goal on our check-in whiteboard. If not, they give themselves a red check. Of course, no one should be berated for not completing a No. 1. Emergencies arise, and some tasks take longer than expected. But reviewing previous goals allows the team to see how we’re progressing and where we’re slipping.

Share Today’s No. 1 

Each employee then shares the No. 1 goal that he or she will accomplish before the next huddle. In one or two sentences, each team member commits to a task publicly and writes it on our check-in whiteboard. We try to enforce the SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound—methodology to keep folks focused on making their goal.

Discuss "Blocking"

Finally, it’s time to bring any “blocks” to the team’s attention. These are the things that one individual on a team needs from another employee to complete a task. This could include needing the illustrator to finish images for a guide or waiting on a manager who has to review a pitch before the PR team does outreach. Bringing light to these issues in a friendly way draws attention to them and generally helps keep the project rolling along.

To keep our meetings effective and on task, we have a designated check-in point person who runs the daily meeting. He also has the delicate, yet important, job of cutting people off if they’re rambling or trying to dive into non-essential or off-topic issues during the check-in. We've found it’s most effective when the person in this role is not the CEO.

If you’re interested in giving a daily morning meeting a try at your company, introduce it as a two-week trial. Then ask for employee feedback so you can customize the huddle for what works best for your team.

Read more articles on business growth.

This article was originally published on August 28, 2014.

Photo: iStockphoto