Kerry and I had a couple of friends over recently to watch our beloved New England Patriots play NFL football (yes they won but I’m not some sort of crazed fan who trashes every other team fan – our record does that 🙂 ).
Before every play I would watch Tom Brady bring his players together for a huddle and after communicating the intended play, they would go to the line, execute it with success (or not), then start the process all over again. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
I got to thinking about that as it pertains to the workplace. Kerry’s work has a daily ‘huddle’ where the team gets together. Now the good news is that I don’t really know how the meetings run so what I say has no reflection on what her work does.
I think that the ‘huddle’ can be the difference between a ‘touchdown’ or a ‘fumble’ in business. How your team views and uses the huddle is the tipping point between success and failure. Here are 5 things that will make a great huddle and launch your team towards the winning the game:
1 – Reset. Huddles are not the time to discourse overarching issues of the company, your team, why things aren’t working, etc. It’s a time to look forward. Not backwards. Lay out your plan and get your team on the same page. You will have other times with the right people to talk about making things better. Get in. Get out. Get it done.
2 – Praise publicly. Critique privately. Huddles are not for pointing anyone out for what they are doing wrong. The moment you do that, you make everyone on the team suspect of whether or not ‘they’ will be pointed out next. Do that outside of the huddle privately. I’ll write about that some other time. That said, it’s a GREAT place to say “great work”, “good job”, “way to get that new client Bob” etc… Make people want to come to the huddle.
3 – Define your immediate goal. “What’s the play?” Lay out your goal (SMART) based on how often you meet with your team. Use whatever metric you want to define success or failure in order to encourage your team if they accomplish it or else reset and redefine your next goal for the next huddle you have. Make sure it is clearly communicated and understood by all. Figure out the best way to do that based on how your team operates.
4 – Reinforce each person’s responsibility. It’s painful to watch a quarterback throw the ball to open space simply because the other player ran the wrong route. Make sure that everyone on your team understands clearly what their part of the goal is and what they need to do to ensure it’s success. Chances are if they don’t know what to do, you haven’t clearly articulated your expectations.
5 – Leave the huddle instilling confidence. If your team leaves the meeting uninspired to produce you’re probably about to watch subpar performance and a mediocre morale in the team. Find the right way to instil confidence and excitement for the immediate future. I will write about some suggestions in other posts to come.
Put these five steps together and you’re on your way to success. Remember, ‘momentum’ is simply a succession of ‘moments’ (good or bad). Focus on making the ‘moment’ count. Tie moments together over the course of your huddles in order to make a winning team.