About 90 days ago, we started an experiment at ArcStone.
If you took, Psychology 101 in college, you may recall learning about American Psychologist and Behaviorist B.F. Skinner.
Hypothesizing that behavior could be reinforced to be repeated or weakened to stop, Skinner created the Skinner Box where an animal, usually a rodent, would be given a food pellet or an electric shock. The animal learned to associate the pellet or shock with a certain type of behavior.
Our experiment, takes a play out of BF Skinner’s playbook.
Before we get a bunch of irate emails, no, we are definitely not administering any electric shocks here at ArcStone. Our experiment does however, encourage us to associate certain behaviors with our actions.
Like many agencies, our days are fast-paced and typically spent working on a variety of projects spanning many clients. We wanted a way to reduce email, slack messages, and ad hoc interruptions. We were also interested in fostering better communication,collaboration, and working together more effectively.
Enter the Daily Huddle.
Here’s our hypothesis.
If we gathered at the same time every day to share news, what we’re working on, key metrics, and challenges we’re facing, we’d get better at working collaboratively, and build a more cohesive team.
Our goal: become a well-oiled machine.
It’s super easy in tech (and most industries) to hide behind technology using email, Zoom, or Slack for the majority of team conversations even when it’s not the most efficient method.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against email, Zoom, or Slack, though I do loathe my inbox some days. These tools definitely make us more efficient and offer many benefits. That said, I don’t think they’ll ever take the place of what transpires when people have face-to-face conversations.
Some of the benefits of face-to-face include:
The ability to read body language
Easier, clearer communication with less effort
An environment that supports building camaraderie
Of course face-to-face meetings can be time consuming and they’re not always productive. That’s why we keep the meetings short and use the same agenda every time. Every weekday at 8:47am our entire team gathers at "the big table" for precisely 13 minutes for a meeting.
At the time, we weren’t sure how it would pan out, if it would be a waste of time or if we’d see positive results.
The Daily Huddle is part of the Scaling Up business framework established by Verne Harnish and what we follow at ArcStone. Our coach, Glen Dall from Apex North Business Coaching offers insights, strategies, encouragement, and much more! Here’s what he said in encouraging us to be efficient in our daily huddle.
“Be brilliant, be brief, and then be gone. Each person should share what their ‘ONE thing’ is that they will get done that day that moves them forward in completing their Quarterly Priorities, or ‘Rocks.’ It’s effectively a promise to their peers for accountability.”
The daily huddle is the tactical meeting that supports company-wide visibility, tracks progress, and identifies sticking points that are blocking execution.
The Daily Huddle is simple. Here’s a typical agenda.
Daily metric review. We’re still dialing this part in.
What’s up? Each team member quickly reports their “Top 3.” What are the three most important things you need to do in the next 24 hours?
Blockers. There’s a call for anything blocking team members from executing their top 3. Verbalizing any blockers encourages the group to work together to solve it.
Yesterday, I asked the team what they got out of The Daily Huddle. Here’s some of the feedback I got.