“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
Dear readers, last week I shared titbits on how morning huddles can be utilized effectively as a risk management tool. Before I continue, I wish to reiterate that morning huddles are different from staff meetings. Building a morning huddle ritual will help make your team more effective by getting your team to vocalize what they are working on to their colleagues.
In our current dispensation, being a manager is sometimes misunderstood. A manager needs at least two basic skills to be successful: Technical Skill and Cognitive skill. The certificate of a leader does not make one an instant success. It is said that your technical skills will make you get the position, it is your attitude that will take you far. It seems to me that many staff meetings aren’t very productive and are, in fact, seen as pointless by the attendants. Some do not think they are important. There is one kind of meeting, however, that distinguishes itself from other kinds. This is the huddle meeting.
The huddle meeting is quite simple and precise and to the point. It also allows everyone on the team to be on the same page. They get to discuss pressing issues that need to be discussed briefly, and then they get back to work. It is a modification on the traditional meeting in that it seeks to make meetings achieve the purpose for which they were first designed: helping everyone be more productive and making work processes move along more efficiently. A team huddle is a useful alternative to the traditional meeting. It energizes the workplace and gets everyone to save time while still talking about important issues.
Are your huddles becoming monotonous and boring?
There is no fixed list of daily huddle topics you should discuss for your morning team huddle. The specific topics that you discuss will obviously depend on the specifics of your company. The morning huddle is not the time to plan projects or negotiate. It is about the immediate and more relevant issue for the day, so your main focus should be the day’s events. If there are emergency issues, it can be discussed or scheduled for a meeting later.
You need to reflect on whether it’s important to have a team huddle every morning. Since you’re looking for effectiveness, a team huddle every other day may still make as much sense as one that’s held every morning. Remember that the number of days in a week that you do hold a huddle shouldn’t be set in stone. There are, however, some dos and don’ts that you should observe when holding a team huddle to keep it relevant.
Are you short of issues to discuss about at morning huddles? Let us look at a few risk management-infused morning huddles for the month of June. Remember that the month of June is a significant one due to performance standards, appraisal of staff, customer data analytics for research and other purposes, not forgetting the financial status of your branch or company. Why don’t you re-focus your Team’s attention along the following lines:
- Give a catchy slogan for June huddles eg. “Getting it Right!”, “Operation Fraud Prevention!”, “Meeting the Target!”, “ June, here we come!”
- Agree and adopt one and ask each team member what unique strategy they would use to meet the goal.
- Allow each member to speak at every huddle.
- Do not use more than 15-20 minutes.
- Allow the team to go through their daily routine to be ready to meet clients on time.
- Identify the shy ones and ensure they are not left out.
- Any member with a unique problem can be assisted privately after the huddle.
- Remember to criticize in private and praise in public.
- Encourage creativity but legal ideas, so long as they are implemented within the company’s regulations and are ethical, especially when it is related to sales and marketing.
- Accomplishments achieved by the team so far should also be recognized. If any team members have particularly stood out for their efforts and achievements, they are publicly thanked during the team huddle.
- Your morning huddle should be customized for your team and should be whatever works. If the huddle begins to impede productivity, rather than improve it as intended, perhaps it would be a good idea to switch the format and try something different.
- The morning team huddle is the perfect time to get everyone on the same wavelength and to give them some morale for the workday ahead. A team huddle helps to foster a feeling of unity in the team.
- Finally, team members should regularly be asked to raise any issues they have or ask any burning questions. If the question is of a complex nature or applies specifically to a person or group, then it will be sorted out after the huddle. The point of raising it during the huddle is to answer what can quickly be answered and to decide what cannot immediately be dealt with so that it can be addressed later.
The morning huddle as a Team Building exercise
Do you know that morning huddles are actually team building exercises? Find one morning and devote it for the following exercise, called the Survival Scenario: It teaches team members about themselves and each other. Break the group into teams of about 3 to 5 people. Each group is told that their plane or boat has crashed and landed in a deserted location. Each member must make a list of the 12 most important items needed to survive. He or she must then rank the 12 items by importance. Then the group must compare their lists and come up with an agreed-upon list of 12 items. The group will learn about how to compromise and work for the best interest of the group.
Short Role Plays
This method of sharing is my all-time favourite training model. Allow a day for role playing as part of some morning huddles, for example one that may involve a banker-customer relationship, most likely the angry customer. Use ten minutes for role play and allow others to critique the sketch. Valuable lessons can learnt here, which may not always be found in books.
The Fun part in Team Building
Working should be serious but laden with fun. My most memorable banking experiences were when I worked with the branch Teams. We all made use of our various strengths to build a cohesive group. My last branch team still maintains a what’s up group despite the fact we are now scattered across the globe.
Enjoy your working life.
How do you run your morning huddles? Any tips to share on making them effective? Do you do huddles weekly or daily with your team? Share with me on my personal email: [email protected]
For more insights on branch banking experiences, please book a copy of my new book, “THE MODERN BRANCH MANAGER’S COMPANION” which involves the adoption of a multi-disciplinary approach in the practice of today’s branch management. It also shares invaluable insights on the mindset needed to navigate and make a difference in the changing dynamics of the banking industry. Call 0244333051 for your copy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alberta Quarcoopome is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers, and CEO of ALKAN Business Consult Ltd. She is the Author of Three books: “The 21st Century Bank Teller: A Strategic Partner” and “My Front Desk Experience: A Young Banker’s Story” and “The Modern Branch Manager’s Companion”. She uses her experience and practical case studies, training young bankers in operational risk management, sales, customer service, banking operations and fraud.