7 Things you Didn’t know about Daily Meetings

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Most people seem to have a love hate relationship with meetings.  Not many people seem to like them and sometimes they seem to be a waste of time.  That’s usually because meetings are done wrong.  Daily meetings are meetings that happen 3x a week to 10x a week and are really more focused on the day to day running of a business.  There are a slew of types of meetings and I want to focus on the 7 things you didn’t know about running a daily meeting.   

#1 The main purpose of a meeting is to understand a situation in the same way

No matter how you run your daily meetings the main purpose is to make sense of what is going on the same way.  Working with a pediatric MRI scan team we found that there were 6-7 different groups there were all interacting with each other to get an MRI completed.  What we found was that these groups never coordinated with each other to optimize the flow and so creating a daily meeting for them was critical to be able to see a complete picture of everyone’s challenges.  Once everyone has the same understanding of a situation it’s much easier to move forward together in a coordinated way.  The pediatric MRI team reduced the wait time for the kids from about 1 hour to under 10 minutes with in a 1.5 month span.  This also applies to smaller teams.  It helps set a managers expectation with how to run the operations.

#2 Focus your meetings on one or two keystone metrics

Daily meetings should have a purpose however many times managers will focus on too much.  Be sure to focus on one to two key items that are the most important to you at the time.  From our pediatric MRI unit their key stone metric was patient wait time.  They had other metrics as well but the primary focus was on improving the wait time.  Once it was fixed then the focused moved to on schedule adherence (percentage of scans that start on time).  Another example would be a sales team that has daily meetings might track progress on potential customers.  Keep it simple and remember that too much information can overwhelm a team.

#3 Keep it 70% positive

Most daily meetings tend of focus on what is wrong and over time it can really disengage a staff.  Focusing on mostly negatives actually put people into a stress response and people tend to disengage.  Many times people describe the angst they feel going to the meetings.  Research indicates that have a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative comments (or better impacts the team’s performance.  There will be days where the meetings will be focused on problems but the majority of the time try to build on what’s working well.  A way to practice this is to do an intro roundtable that asks everyone what is going well with them or their work.  Afterwards then review your key stone metrics and talk about what is going well with them.  Spend the remainder of the meeting talking about what could be better and next steps.

#4 Create a safe learning space

Daily meetings are there for you to improve what you are doing and part of improving is to learn.  To create a safe space you need to listen to the inputs from your people, praise publicly, discipline privately, and be a coach.  Fear should not be associated with the daily meetings.  Mistakes may happen and remember that mistakes are part of the learning process.

#5 Stay standing

To keep focused the meetings should be held in a relevant place and standing.  This way you are focused and don’t waste time.  It also helps with keeping people engaged and awake during those early morning meetings.  Usually having a visual board with key stone metrics is a great place to do your daily meetings.

#6 Accept people’s comments no matter how uncomfortable it makes you as a manager

This is important because it ties into several of the other items.  As a manger it’s difficult to take feedback but it can build a large amount of trust with your team.  Trust tends to be a key factor in improving your culture and you can help with leverage the most from people. If there are comments that are disrespectful or out of line then addressing it outside of the meeting is usually the appropriate way to deal with insubordination.  As a manager be careful to know the difference between insubordination and your own insecurities. 

#7 Meeting times should be variable with a cap of 30 minutes

When you schedule your daily meetings realize that you may finish quicker some day’s vs others.  Shoot for a 10-15 minute meeting but allow for some overage on the days where you need more conversation.

 

Daily meetings are a great tool for organizations to use to help run the business and when done properly they can change the course of your organization.  You can create a powerful culture and meet your expectations when you do daily meetings properly.