If you could speed up the pace at which your people implement and execute your ideas and plans, what would that be worth to you?
For years, I’ve looked for catalytic mechanisms to do just that and have found few. One of the few ideas I had heard about was the idea of holding a daily meeting or daily huddle–which I simply resisted as impractical and unsustainable. Now, if you’re my age range or older (I’m 48), you might remember watching LA Law or Murder One and seeing the actors conduct their daily meeting. Or maybe you read Patrick Lencioni’s 2004 book, Death By Meeting (you’ve got to love the title :-) and thought about the idea (I know I did).
However, for me, the person whom I’ve heard harp the most about it is Verne Harnish of Gazelles (the author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits). When I attended Verne’s two day conference on Mastering the Rockefeller Habits this past June, I anticipated that he’d talk about it–and I anticipated that I’d pass on the idea once again. However, while I was right about the former, I was wrong about the later. Let me explain how he won me over.
Verne began by discussing John D. Rockefeller’s daily habit that he and the other leaders of Standard Oil had. They would walk together to work, go their separate ways, and then at noon they’d reconvene and have lunch together. And they did this EVERY DAY. Remembering that John D. was/is, using current dollar amounts, the richest man to have lived, I thought, “That’s a pretty powerful argument for a daily meeting.”
Then Verne asked, “How many of you have the discipline of this man?” (which led to a slide of T. Boone Pickens). He said, “Here’s the daily routine of T. Boone. He has two analysts meet at 5:45 a.m. every day. They review the data from yesterday and overnight and then meet with T. Boone at 6:15 a.m. to present him with their findings. At 6:30 a.m. T. Boone works out and mulls over what they’ve told him. At 7:30 a.m., T. Boone meets with his top executives for breakfast (again every day) to talk strategy. Then at 4:30 p.m. they reconvene and he asks, ”What did we learn today?“
He then went on to talk about other companies like Goldman Sachs, where they convene for meetings twice a day, this time at 6:00 a.m. and again at 6:00 p.m. What was interesting about the Goldman Sachs reference was that, not only do they meet twice a day, their profit per employee is about two and a half times that of their competitors like Merril Lynch ($251K vs. $95K).
Sold! However, Verne had one more nail to nail in my coffin. He then asked, ”If you only meet once a month with your executives to discuss your business and review your metrics, how long is your decision cycle? If you meet once a week, how long is your decision cycle? If you meet daily, how long?“ Then, came the killer close, ”So, in a volatile market, who do you think wins–the team that meets monthly, weekly or daily?“ Doubly Sold!
Now, if you’re like me, you have all kinds of questions like,
- ”How long should we meet?“ (no more than 15 minutes)
- ”When should we meet?“ (whenever you want–just make sure it’s daily)
- ”What should we discuss?“ (Verne suggests, What’s up? What are the metrics? Where are you stuck? But you can use any questions you want–fixed or not)
- ”What if we’re not all available?“ (Everyone who can, should. If you can’t, bring a doctor’s permission slip :-)
- ”What if we’re not all in the same physical location?“ (phones and conference calls work)
However, rather than get bogged down in details, I’d simply encourage you to give it a try for the next sixty days. You’ll figure out the best formula in your organization. But this much I’m convinced of, if you and your team would touch base daily, focus on moving your key initiatives forward (that would be the metrics part), and help each other get unstuck–there’s no question in my mind that you’ll speed up the process of executing your plan and generating more business.
No one likes showing up at a meeting and having to say, ”I’m sorry, I didn’t get that done.“ But when you’re only meeting once a month or once a week, it’s a whole lot easier to swallow than when you’re meeting every day. The accountability of meeting every day is a very powerful tool.
So, when can you start? Today or tomorrow sounds about right!
To your accelerated success!