The World of Work Project

Huddles: What Makes a Good One?

Good huddles can add huge value to teams but poor huddles can hinder and demotivate teams. To ensure your huddles are helpful, keep them brief, focused, well chaired, inclusive, fresh and engaging.

Summary by The World of Work Project

What makes a good huddle?

When huddles are good, they’re really good. However, when they are bad, they can be really bad. To be on the right side of that divide, there are some key things that you need to get right.

Here are simple things that will help ensure that your huddles are effective and that they deliver the outcomes and benefits that they are capable of. This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good starter.

Short

Good huddles last no more than 15 minutes and don’t over-run. Their brevity keeps them focused and to the point, helping to ensure that that conversations are adding value.

Well Chaired

Huddles are always led by a chair and the effectiveness, preparedness and confidence of the chair makes a huge difference to the success of the huddle.

We would recommend that the role of chair rotates between all team members on a weekly basis.

Fixed (time and location)

Good huddles feel routine. They just become part of daily life. They take place every day, they occur at the same time every day, they’re in the same place every day (physically or virtually) and and they’re attended by roughly the same people every day.

Mandatory and Inclusive

Good huddles are attended by all team members, and also welcome any reasonable visitors who wish to attend. They’re inclusive and welcoming meetings that people feel comfortable in, and all attendees get a chance to contribute to them and feel valued through them.

Focused

Good huddles are focused and fact based. They are lean and to the point. The pace is fast and unhelpful or side-conversations are challenged. Every minute of the meeting should be adding value to the team. If conversations are not adding value, they should be challenged.

The best huddles are fun and lift the spirits of the team.

Engaging

Good huddles engage everyone who attends. The discussions that take place should be interesting and relevant to the attendees, the chair should engage with everyone and each attendee should speak at least once in each huddle.

The best huddles include an opportunity for each attendee to be asked how they feel that day. The very best ones are also fun!

The World of Work Project View

The two key things about huddles is that they depend on the information center that they discuss, and that they need to constantly evolve and develop to meet the needs of the team. If you get those bits right, the rest will probably fall into place.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

The information in this post comes from our professional experience and conversations we’ve had in our working lives. There are no source materials to refer to.

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