If you want your huddles to be productive and keep your trade partners engaged, it’s important to establish daily huddle practices. Here are 10 daily huddle tips to increase the productivity of your meetings and improve collaboration on the jobsite.
10 Daily Huddle Tips
- Use first names: Using first names in a daily huddle can foster a sense of personal connection and familiarity among team members. Addressing each other by first name creates a more inclusive and friendly atmosphere, promoting open communication and collaboration. It also helps to build stronger relationships and a positive team culture, as individuals feel acknowledged and valued when their name is used.
- Start with an icebreaker: Including an icebreaker activity in a daily huddle can have several benefits. It helps to break the ice and create a more relaxed and comfortable environment, especially if team members are new or unfamiliar with each other. Icebreakers can encourage team bonding, improve communication, and foster a sense of camaraderie. They can also inject some fun and energy into the huddle, boosting engagement and setting a positive tone for the rest of the meeting.
- Facilitate, don’t present: Effective huddles involve a shift from presenting to facilitating. While presenting typically involves 80% telling and 20% listening, facilitation requires 20% telling and 80% listening. In the context of a huddle, the superintendent’s role is to create a space where trade partners can openly discuss their tasks, locations, constraints, and their adherence to the commitments outlined in the Weekly Work Plan. A skilled facilitator asks pertinent questions to extract critical information and motivates the team to make dependable commitments, promoting accountability and collaboration.
- Keep it short: Limit your daily huddle to 15 to 20 minutes. This helps maintain participants’ attention and ensures the meeting stays focused on the essential topics. Consider using an egg timer to help everyone get accustomed to the shorter timeframe.
- Start and end on time: Valuing your attendees’ time is crucial. By starting and finishing the meeting promptly, you foster productivity and show that you follow through on your commitments.
- No phones or distractions: Encourage active engagement by prohibiting the use of phones or any other distractions during the huddle. This ensures that everyone is fully present and attentive to the discussion.
- Stand up: Remove chairs from the meeting space and have everyone stand. This simple change helps keep participants engaged and focused on the matters at hand. Sitting in comfortable chairs can lead to disengagement and distract from the meeting’s purpose.
- Establish a routine: Encourage trade leaders to answer specific questions during the daily huddle. These questions can include: What are you working on? Where are you working? How many crews/workers are on-site? What are your constraints/needs? What material deliveries are coming up? By consistently asking these questions, you promote collaboration and enable efficient coordination among trades.
- Stay on track: Without intentional focus, daily huddles can easily veer off course. It’s important to identify which problems or discussions are not critical to the huddle’s progress. To maximize the value of the meeting, introduce the following terminology:
Two Minute Rule / ELMO: If a topic has been discussed for two minutes or longer, or if it can be resolved outside the huddle or without involving the entire team, any participant can call the Two Minute Rule or ELMO (Enough, Let’s Move On). This allows for a swift transition and prevents unnecessary time wastage. As a lighthearted gesture to signal the end of a topic, consider playfully tossing a stuffed animal named “Elmo” to break the tension.
The Parking Lot: Once the Two Minute Rule or ELMO has been called, place the items or topics in “the parking lot.” This means noting them down on a whiteboard or other visible space to address them in a separate discussion with the relevant individuals after the huddle. This ensures that important matters are not forgotten while maintaining the focus of the huddle.
- Involve the entire team: To enhance productivity, invite the general contractor’s project manager, assistant project manager, and/or project engineer to attend the huddle. Their presence can provide valuable information and contribute to faster resolutions, especially for constraints involving the design team or owner. When the trade partners see the entire team actively participating, it fosters a sense of ownership and cooperation.
By implementing these daily huddle tips, you can promote efficiency, collaboration, and accountability in your meetings while keeping your trade partners engaged and productive.
If you have any Lean Daily Huddle tips, suggestions, or questions, we’d love to hear from you.
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