You’ve heard it before, but communication is the most important aspect of any successful CPA firm or accounting team. Knowing where each team member is on a project will keep you on track and under budget. It’s very easy to make communication errors; emails get skimmed, conversations get forgotten, notes never get revisited. It’s important to allow your team members a chance to speak and make sure they are heard and understood. Introducing daily huddle meetings is a great way to increase productivity, accountability, and team morale.
So what is a huddle meeting?
A daily huddle meeting, also known as a stand-up meeting or standing meeting, is an opportunity to set the plan for the day. It’s a quick (10-15 minutes max) meeting where each team member gives a status report on what they are working on. These meetings are often held standing up to make sure everyone is brief. Need more incentive than a list of rules? Introduce a 5 lb ‘speaking ball’ to up the ante.
This is a time for each person to report where the are in their work, when they may finish, and what they will be doing next. It also gives them a chance to share any roadblocks or areas they need help in. Not only does a huddle meeting let managers know what’s going on, but it also gives other team members an opportunity to step up and help.
How do I run a huddle meeting?
Huddles should be short, but you’d be surprised how easily they end up on a tangent. Then again, maybe you wouldn’t be surprised. Nonetheless, designate a meeting leader who is responsible for keeping the meeting on topic and moving along. People will want to problem solve on the spot or join in on the complaints train, nip it in the bud immediately. Acknowledge their problems and concerns and schedule another time to get into the details.
It’s also important that each team member speaks. Sometimes people are reluctant to volunteer the fact that they are having a problem (who isn’t?), especially the newer members of the team. Create a speaking order, this way each person knows they have to speak and they also know when their turn is coming. If you have more than 12 people on your work-team, break up into smaller groups for your huddles.
Keeping huddle meetings regular is critical, a daily meeting is ideal (weekly is doable, monthly isn’t very effective). Making huddles predictable means people can plan what they need to talk about, and it’ll also make the meetings run smoother as they become routine. If someone is absent, the meeting goes on (even if it’s the meeting leader).
Give them a try
The daily huddle meeting is quick, simple, and easy to implement. Give them a trial run for a week and adapt them for your team needs, just remember the following tips:
- Keep huddle meeting short, 10-15 minutes maximum
- Keep them consistent, daily/weekly, same time, same place if possible. Put it on everyone’s calendar.
- Everyone speaks.
- Do not problem solve, schedule another time to do that.
- It’s about TODAY, not tomorrow or next week or another project.
Huddle meetings are a great way to build a stronger and more efficient team. It keeps everyone in the loop and ensures nothing gets missed. Stay tuned for Part 2 to see how to adapt these meetings for a mobile team.