“There is one indispensable routine; one absolute essential habit more important than any other I can teach an executive team; one discipline that is non-negotiable—and that is an effective daily meeting rhythm,” writes Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up. At Fusion, this rhythm is implemented with our Daily Huddle, a meeting in which all employees gather to prepare for the day’s work. It is an essential part of Fusion’s success because it ensures that each employee has a voice, keeps us focused, and strengthens our commitment to communication. Below find our top seven tips for ensuring a successful huddle:
1. Make Attendance Mandatory. At Fusion OEM, Daily Huddle is mandatory and team members will even step out of meetings to attend. By requiring daily, routine structure, we instill a sense of commitment, buy-in and collaboration. The manufacturing industry today is enduring exceptional challenges. Therefore, there is no better time to reinforce the need for consistency and focus.
2. Pick an Odd Time. Our Daily Huddle begins every morning at 8:07AM. The odd time gets people thinking in increments of minutes and subtly influences the pace of huddle. People do a better job of being on time when the time’s not on the half- or quarter-hour. A musical clip that plays on our office speakers is the cue that it’s time to gather.
3. Start on a Good Note. Fusion’s Daily Huddle begins with Good News, where employees are asked to share good things that have happened within the past 24 hours related to their work or personal lives. The Good News portion of our Daily Huddle enables employees to share their personal and professional victories. For some, it can be a work project. For other employees, good news is about their families or achievement of a personal goal. The Good News portion of the Daily Huddle reinforces Fusion’s belief that individual employee successes should be shared, celebrated and supported. The Daily Huddle allows the employees to share milestones from their personal and professional lives, emphasizing the importance of each employee’s happiness. Additionally, good news always brings a laugh or two – a powerful way to de-stress, slow the brain down to the positive alpha state, and help keep even the most complicated issues in perspective.
4. Display Metrics. Every Monday at our Daily Huddle all employees hear a financial report from our Controller. This report outlines our goal for the previous week and our achievement for that week. The results are rolled in to the yearly budget and the financial performance of the business is transparent for all employees. The financial performance of the company is updated weekly and displayed prominently for all employees to see. Employees are aware of our weekly sales budget and realize their weekly performance impacts financial performance.
5. Invite Customers. At Fusion, we welcome the opportunity to have customers present at our Daily Huddle. This allows them to get a feel for the pulse of our business and further highlights our commitment to transparency. Furthermore, customer visits also provide an immediate sense of ownership for our team. They are able to take pride in their work and learn more about the products we make as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
6. Take Problems Offline. The Daily Huddle is not the time to investigate bottlenecks. Instead, it functions as an opportunity to quickly convey information and guide employees in a given direction. At Fusion OEM, our Daily Huddle lasts for between 6-8 minutes. Daily goals ensure the team stays on track, while open communication creates successful outcomes.
7. End with Inspiration. Inspirational quotes are shared each morning at the end of huddle to embody Fusion’s belief that our employees have the opportunity to achieve their personal dreams every day. These quotes are centered around our Core Values and end huddle on a positive note.
According to Harnish, “teams that huddle daily find they interrupt each other considerably less the rest of the day.” Meeting daily helps prevent unnecessary phone calls or interruptions, gets people’s attention and helps focus employees on their core functions and responsibilities. These short meetings keep Fusion OEM concentrated on strategic goals and provide a forum for questions, while also emphasizing accountability.
Daily Huddle has helped Fusion gain a routine and consistent opportunity for communication. Information is distributed in an easy-to-understand format, and our team feels as if their input is valued. This has boosted our productivity and efficiency, giving us the advantage to stay competitive in the contract manufacturing industry.