As Harvard Business Review points out, not only has the pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work, many companies, including Facebook and Twitter are shifting roles to permanent virtual positions. This comes with both advantages and challenges. A key consideration are relationships - essential to high-performance teams. If you don’t have a mechanism in place to ensure effective and regular communication, you’re already on the back foot. What’s the best way to build connections and relationships with remote teams? The answer is without a doubt, daily huddles.
First put forward by Verne Harnish in his book Scaling Up (a revision of his earlier business classic Mastering the Rockerfeller Habits), the daily huddle is a 5-15 minute meeting to discuss tactical issues and provide updates. Every business should hold them regularly to build relationships, address communication challenges, and make important decisions for scaling up the organization.
The primary reason for implementing regular daily huddles is to speed up the cadence (ie. the frequency, format, and sequence with which a manager meets with their team members) of communication - this is especially important with remote work where people are not meeting around the coffee machine or in the kitchen for a catch-up. Huddles should, therefore, be orchestrated around building relationships and improving communication. The daily huddle tracks progress and brings out sticking points that are blocking their execution. They can help avoid minor train wrecks and quickly take advantage of unforeseen opportunities. Setting up a meeting can often mean more time and hassle than the actual meeting itself. Prescheduling regular meetings acts as a place holder in everyone’s calendar, thus reducing this hassle. The daily huddle can save everyone an hour or so of needless email updates and unnecessary interruptions. You always know that if you’ve been unable to get in touch with a colleague for any reason, you’ll catch them in the daily huddle. Finally, issues that emerge from daily huddles drive the main topics for the weekly meeting. Today, tens of thousands of companies around the world have discovered the freedom and potent power that comes from implementing this simple rhythm.
For my own part, regular daily huddles in Zimbabwe (at the start of my day) with three-quarters of my team in the Philippines (in the middle of their day) and our CEO and others in Australia (at the end of their day), are essential. They’re not seen as a micro-management technique in any way - we are given the freedom and trust to achieve our goals in an adult and mature way. Daily huddles are fun (we often have a bit of a laugh) and they make me feel part of a real team - rather than out on a limb on my own in a different time zone on the other side of the world. Huddles strongly solidify business relationships and strengthen communication. They allow important discussions to unfold around new opportunities, strategic concerns, and bottlenecks. They significantly contribute to highlighting the role I - and all of my colleagues - play in ensuring our business stays on track in achieving its goals. Once you’re into the groove of the daily huddle, you end up not being able to imagine your working day without it.
If you’re interested in working with an offshore outsourcer who will ensure, amongst other things, that daily huddles happen with your remote team, download our eBook, '30 Hints & Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Remote Team’. It will ensure you're informed and have the right questions to ask when considering the next step.