Huddles go along way towards establishing a routine within your company. That being said, your company’s trajectory and progress will rarely be routine, especially during disruptive times like the present. You may experience meteoric rises and sharp declines on your scaling up journey. This is even more true as the Coronavirus outbreak forces businesses to close their offices and employees to work from home.
Rather than conduct business as if everything is normal, it is important to address these fluctuations in your daily huddles.
Whether things are going great or poorly, you need to make sure your team is aware of any pressing updates. If you are not meeting your goals and are behind where your company should be, making sure the team is well informed allows you to either restructure your goals or refine the way the team is working so they can improve progress.
Things that could be easily addressed in the office become more difficult to address when everyone is working in separate places. When team members are isolated for much of the work day, the only progress they may be aware of is their own. Reminding them of the company’s progress validates that hard work and reinforces the importance of working hard.
Update critical numbers every huddle, make it a routine
Every business should have one or two metrics serving as critical numbers. These numbers are a base indicator for how your company is doing. Every huddle should begin with an update on the critical numbers, so if those numbers are particularly good or bad, announcing them will be part of the routine. Good or bad numbers should be eye-popping to employees if they are used to getting the critical numbers every day. This way, you won’t need to make a big show out of whatever positive or negative progress you are making. The employees should be able to use these metrics to make their own interpretations and quickly infer whether the company is on an upward or downward trajectory.
Keep bad news short and simple
As we mentioned in another blog, huddles aren’t meetings. You need to be quick and concise. Lecturing the whole team about how much they need to do better for 30 minutes doesn’t add any additional motivation. Lingering on past failures or successes can damage future goals and objectives. Regardless of what your company achieved last quarter, there is still work to be done moving forward. If you spend too much time hammering home how great or poorly your team performed last quarter, that takes away focus from what still needs to be accomplished. Knowing where your company stands is important, but you can’t move forward if you’re too busy looking behind.
Expect the unexpected
Being stuck working from home will be a burden on many employees.Whether it’s because of children, living space, or even a faulty internet connection, unexpected obstacles will arise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some will struggle more than others, but you should anticipate running into problems you wouldn’t normally encounter in an office setting.
If a single individual is struggling at home and is falling way short of what is required of them, a huddle is not the place to address that. If the whole team isn’t meeting their goals, then individuals shouldn’t be singled out. It is important to say “We are falling short,” as opposed to “You are falling short.” As the leader of this company you are also part of this team, and part of the responsibility lies with you. Reminding everyone you are a part of the team will help them trust you more.
If things are good, celebrate, but don’t dwell
Recognizing the good work your team has done is rewarding for employees who have worked hard through a difficult period. Achieving goals should be celebrated and met with praise. After a monthly or quarterly goal is reached, lead off the meeting talking about what a great job everyone did. This will energize the meeting and remind the team members why all their hard work is valuable.
If a single individual has been performing outstandingly, he or she should be recognized. Even if the team is succeeding, individual employees may not feel like their work is recognized or appreciated. This is your chance to validate everything they’ve worked so hard for.
Praising the team for their successes is critical for maintaining a healthy office environment outside of the office. But just like with bad news, don’t spend too much time in the huddle focusing on this. Keeping everyone away from their work for 30 minutes to celebrate what they’ve already accomplished can hinder productivity. Employees may feel as though they are at a party instead of work, and take a longer time to get back in the groove of working hard. Celebrate the good news to start off the huddle, but then get back to what needs to be done.
Adjust goals as needed
Projecting your anticipated numbers was already a tricky task, but with the uncertainty brought upon by COVID-19, it’s impossible to truly know what your business’ reasonable expectations should be. Don’t be afraid to shake up your goals and reassess what the company is capable of during this pandemic.
If the team is significantly behind pace on reaching a long-term goal, it may help them to stop worrying about that goal. Employees may feel like the walls are closing in and work under intense stress. Focus them on the weekly objectives and let the rest fall into place. Relax their environment so they can focus on one deadline at a time without trying to speed up the usual process. If a team exceeded expectations and met a goal early, don’t let them slack off just because they are ahead of schedule. Keep the urgency they had to reach that goal early by moving another goal up, or challenging them to complete another task. So long as you don’t overwork them or give them outlandish tasks, these new goals can help carry forward the momentum of their previous achievements.
Making sure everyone in the company is on the same page is a large part of being aligned, but you should also make sure everyone in the company is also aligned with where the business currently stands with regards to reaching its goals. Employees need to always be aware of how close or far away they are from significant progress. The huddle is the one time you have every employee present, and you need to clearly establish where the company is. Thriving or struggling, knowing on what footing you stand will help team members work to propel the company out of the red or further into the green.
Without the ability to be in the office and communicate daily, your company’s communication and flow will be greatly disrupted. Huddling is an effective way to keep everyone on the same page while not taking away too much time that could be spent working. If your team is ready to work on huddles, check out our free Huddle Tools if you haven’t already.
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