The 15 Most Important Minutes of Your Operations
It goes by many names, some call them daily stand-up meetings, some daily huddles, scrum meetings, or quick pull-ups. Despite the name used to reference them, they are meetings where teams meet on a daily basis with an established agenda, everyone participates, and they are short in length of time (typically 15 minutes). They work well in any industry, in most environments, and with people at any level of seniority.
They are so simple on the surface that leaders often overlook their significance, and when 'tight' on time, opt to cancel the daily stand-up. In fact, they are so simple, and probably seem so basic, that some may believe that the topic shouldn’t warrant an article written about it. I believe so much in them, that I would even be willing to make the bold statement that these are the 15 most important minutes of your operations.
When implemented correctly across an organization, they are mandatory, become a habit for the team, and eventually becomes engrained into the culture of the way the business operates. In this article, I am calling out that come from the implementation of daily stand-up meetings.
You Quickly Disseminate Information
We can make up for bad practices in the business by holding daily stand-ups. What I mean by this is, often organizations do a poor job of communicating policy changes, process changes, announcements, and major issues the entire business is facing. We tend to send some email communication, post the information on a wall, post it to our internal internet, or we hold formal meetings where we give everyone an information dump all at once.
One major advantage of a daily stand-up is that, when executed on a regular basis, we can use it as a tool to quickly disseminate information. Often information can be relayed the same day or in worst cases with a one-day delay. During that stand-up, the manager or team lead can state something like, “there is a new policy change on how we document our notes in the system for customers from the state of Texas, you need to include these characters as well.” When this is announced, if there are any questions, the employees pose those questions right there and there is an opportunity for an immediate response. If the team lead doesn’t know the answer, then the information is rolled up in the next level daily stand-up where it is answered. The following day, an accurate answer can be provided to everyone. This message is incredibly fast and precise versus the .
You Create a Culture of Transparency
The fact that managers, front-line employees, and sometimes guests meet on a daily basis face-to-face, creates a dynamic of transparency. This dynamic is generated by the fact that when there is disagreement, agreement, questioning, or basic suggestions, everyone in the team sees and hears it. The structure may force some uncomfortable situations, but that is exactly the point – everyone on the team knows that they all have access to the same information.
This culture of transparency, eventually turns into an environment where people are not afraid to bring up issues they are facing or not afraid of bringing up important that everyone should know. Despite the discomfort initiated in that moment, it brings great comfort to the health of the team and this ultimately translates to the health of the business.
Access to On-the-Fly Problem Solvers
The nature of the daily stand-ups, not only at the local team level but also with the fact that all teams are having daily stand-ups, means that leaders have access to everyone. Often what happens when there is an issue, one to a few people are placed accountable for finding solutions to that issue. These people are likely highly-skilled, but again they are only a few people.
What if that issue was placed before 100 people, and not only to a random group of 100 people but 100 people that have different perspectives, speak with the customer daily, and know how the operations works better than most people. The outcome would be a higher volume of solutions which will ultimately lead to a higher-quality solution. The way this is done is, the person responsible for the issue would pose the question to the daily stand-up team leads and that same day, the team lead would pose that same question to the group. What typically happens is an outpour of ideas come back relatively fast.
We All Want to be the Part of Something
When people meet together physically, repeatedly, and discuss important things, something magical happens. A unity forms and then teams ‘feel’ like they are truly the part of something bigger than themselves. That ‘feeling’ translates into camaraderie, teamwork, truly looking out for well-being the business, and then ultimately employee morale is lifted.
A sense of motivation is generated and the business ultimately benefits from this intangible element often missing in organizations.
Now, I hope that you now understand that even though daily stand-ups seem incredibly basic and maybe even monotonous on the surface, they are extremely valuable. Not only are they valuable, they don’t cost anything, and don’t take much time. Again, I will stand by my statement that the daily stand-up is the .
Does your organization do daily stand-ups?
What are some interesting variations of them?
Any examples of you, your team, or your business benefiting from them?