You may be surprised when I say that there is one indispensable meeting; one absolutely essential meeting that’s more important than any other—the stand-up daily huddle.

I know, meetings can be a real drag. In fact, meetings can by disruptive, wander off topic, have unnecessary people—and can even hurt your bottom line. There must be a million ways to get meetings wrong and only a few to get them right.

That said, there is one mandatory meeting that should be held every day.

What it is

The daily huddle is a mandatory 7 to 10-minute stand-up meeting attended by everyone on your team. The purpose of the huddle is to check in with team members about what their day will look like and to share information with each other and deliver project status checks.

What it is not

Think of a sports team huddle—the clock is running, players meeting together—the objective isn’t to plan or strategize how to win the game, but how to win the next few minutes.

So, the huddle isn’t to plan your week or projects—that’s what all the other meetings are for. It’s not for story-telling or problem-solving—usually because not all team members are involved in solving a certain problem, so take problems off-line and meet with only those involved.

What is done

Everybody must say something during the morning huddle. And if you think about it, it really makes sense: each person should have something to share about what they’re working on.

At the minimum, each team member should report on three things:

  • What did I accomplish yesterday?
  • What will I do today?
  • What obstacles are impeding my progress?

By focusing on what each person accomplished yesterday and will accomplish today, the team gains an excellent understanding of what work has been done and what work remains. The daily huddle isn’t a status update meeting in which a boss is collecting information about who is behind schedule. Rather, it’s a meeting in which team members make commitments to each other.

Another, more dynamic way is to report on these:

  • What you did to change the world yesterday
  • How you are going to crush it today
  • How you are going to blast through any obstacles unfortunate enough to be standing in your way

You get the idea. Vocalizing individual status updates in front of the whole team will lead to greater commitment and task accountability from each team member—and if you want, you can lay it all on the line and declare your intent to the universe.

Additional reporting

Depending on your time and number of team members, you might want to consider the following items for your daily huddle:

  • What do the numbers in your report mean? What’s your analysis? Is there a trend?
  • Review your company’s or your team’s top 3 metrics.
  • Recognize other team member accomplishments.
  • Share personal project wins.
  • What are you looking forward to?
  • What are you dreading?
  • Client updates.
  • One-minute training.
  • How did we do yesterday on our execution of the focused priority set?
  • Were there any significant issues that carry over and still require our attention today?
  • What are our priorities for today?
  • Are there any concerns that require contingency planning now?
  • Do each of you understand and agree with our plan for today?
Who’s responsible?

If you’re not already having a daily huddle, then it’s your responsibility to begin the ritual until it’s a habit. Ring a bell, sound a buzzer, whatever it takes to signal your team that it’s time to meet. Ultimately, it’s the reasonability of every team member to attend and be prepared to participate. In addition, it’s everyone’s responsibility to bring a positive energy to the huddle.

Where to meet

Choose a central location where the team can conveniently circle up. If you’re tracking metrics, it’s good to meet by a metrics board where each team member can write down their daily progress as they report.

How to end

Work to keep your huddle under 10 minutes. Choose a word or value for the day or a favorite motivational quote. Don’t be afraid to make it a cheer.

And now, get back to work!