For the best daily huddle tips in Lean construction, The Lean Builder is your premier source. Today’s tip is on the power of starting and ending your daily huddles on time by Lean expert Joe Donarumo.
Daily Huddle Tips – Start on Time, End on Time
If you’re still not sold as to why you need a daily huddle, please read this post: “Why Huddle,” and see if we can’t change your mind. If you have switched to a daily huddle, then this blog is to help you understand the importance of starting and ending your huddle on time.
You might be thinking to yourself, this seems trivial, why am I reading about starting and ending meetings on time? Here’s why. Your daily huddle is the single greatest tool you have as a leader to cultivate the culture you want on your jobsite to sustain effective implementation of Lean tools. A culture of trust, accountability, and mutual respect. The tools are nothing if you don’t have the Culture!
Daily Huddle Lesson Learned
Let me rewind a bit and share with you how I learned this lesson. Once I had begun implementing daily huddles on my project site, I was not disciplined in the timing of our team’s meetings. Usually I would start the meeting whenever I (the superintendent) showed up—regardless if it was a few minutes early or late. What I stated to notice was two things:
- If I started early, the trade leaders felt frustrated that they missed something and they weren’t part of the conversation.
- If I started late, often times it was to wait for all the trade partners to arrive to begin, and the ones who had shown up on time would get frustrated that they had to wait for others to show up, often making our meetings run over.
After picking up on these behaviors, I decided to try to be as diligent as I could with starting and ending meetings on time. Fast forward to today, and some of our firms superintendents feel so strongly about the value of this small discipline, that they lock the trailer door at meeting start time.
By starting and ending your huddles (or any other meetings for that matter) on time, you are effectively demonstrating to your project team:
- You respect them
- You understand their time is valuable
- You care about them and their responsibilities
Below are a few more reasons why starting and ending your daily huddles on time is so important.
The creation of a Sense of Urgency
When the project team is given a time window limit for a huddle, attendees will work harder to keep the meeting on pace to finish on time. It forces attendees to focus on the most important topics (workflow that day and any constraints that could impact it).
Better Meeting Attendance
When daily huddles consistently start and end on time, the project superintendent or meeting facilitator will create a reputation of respect and accountability. On the flip side, if daily huddles are not starting and ending on time each day, chances are trade leaders will likely show up late, be disengaged, or may even skip out altogether.
Improved Communication, Collaboration, and Engagement
It’s no secret that when the team is focused on keeping the meeting on track by starting and ending on time, the communication taking place during the meeting will be more meaningful and direct, collaboration will be more efficient, and the engagement of the huddle attendees will be significantly higher as the team will be laser focused.
So, if your current state is that daily huddles are not starting or ending on time don’t be afraid to be the daily huddle time tyrant. As the field leader, set the tone and expectation on how the project’s daily huddles will run! At first, you might get a few chuckles or the occasional pop shot by the trade leaders; however, I promise you the project team will be thankful for how the meetings operate, and they will come to appreciate the effort you put into starting and ending them on time.
More Daily Huddle Tips
For more tips on how to keep your daily huddle on track and on time, please check out this previous TLB blog: The Daily Huddle – Keep It Short. In addition, another great resource on the importance of effective meetings, not just for daily huddles but for any meeting, is Pat Lencioni’s book Death by Meeting. This is a great book that takes a deep dive into this topic in a fun and engaging way to read and is applicable for any project, team, or industry!
By: Joe Donarumo, Senior Superintendent & Director of Lean Application