3 Takeaways:

1. Daily morning meetings increase communication and efficiency
2. Adapt our agenda to suit your business
3. It will be awkward at first but be consistent

Communication is key to relationships. That applies to our professional life, too. Most companies expect all their employees to be on the same page without providing a vehicle for effective communication.

Paul Akers, author of the succinct and seminal “2-Second Lean,” turned the abstract notion of a morning meeting into an actionable tool for businesses. I’m going to tell you how we adapted his model to our business, in the hopes that you adapt our model to yours.

How HLH Does It:

We’ve been doing the morning “drum beat” for over a year. Its evolved into a pivotal part of our office day, and happens every morning at 9:15 no matter who is or isn’t there. Team members take turns leading the meeting (with the schedule posted well in advance). Rotating the leader, which effectively puts that person on the spot, often has the extra benefit of highlighting personal strengths that we didn’t know he or she had before.

It’s standing-only and no longer than 15 minutes. There’s a quick pace so it’s crucial to stay succinct and on topic. Here’s what we talk about:

Our Agenda:

1) Wins/ News/ Things to Celebrate:
A morale builder that wakes people up! Must be kept snappy and no rambling.
2) Partners’ Calendars – due dates and pinch points:
This is anything from the last 24 hours that demands our attention. It’s improved client-services and has made us a more effective rapid-reaction team.
3) Workflow Whiteboard:
Our whiteboard is the office’s visual hub and a pivotal driver for our Process Improvement. More about it here: https://hlhcpa.com/video-resources/
4) Education:
If you’re not constantly learning, you’re falling behind. The daily meeting leader is responsible for an education piece. Whether it’s about the 8 Wastes, a Ted Talk video or demoing new software is up to him or her. This is where our team’s creativity shines through.
5) Continuous Improvement:
Continuous Improvement is about the big impact of small changes adding up over time. A morning meeting is the perfect vehicle for it. Each day, we zero in on one department and ask the relevant person, “what’s bugging you in your department.” “Bugging” is the smoke; that’s what we look for to track the waste down.
We also review improvements made from previous meetings and check in on other ideas people might bring forward.
6) Word of the Day:
Try to end on a light note. The daily meeting leader brings this forward, and while it’s often a term related to the education piece (ex. 5S), it can also just be for fun (did you know “cackleberry” is another word for “egg”?)

View/download a PDF of our morning meeting outline here: Morning Meeting PDF

What to Expect:

mm2smI chatted with Richard Houle about this. He reminded me to add the caveat that the first month or two will be awkward. New habits always are, especially if your team is acclimatized to walking in every morning, saying “hi” and going to sit in their office or cubicle. You’ve gotta work past it, and reassure your team that they’re doing it right when they start to have doubts. After a couple months, the meeting will become indispensable to keeping your team in sync and ruthless about eliminating waste. Richard noted that when a project or problem emerges, the open communication exists for team members to pull together and get it done faster.

Make it Work for Your Business:

We’ve adapted it for HLH, and we love it. For it to work, you need to adapt it to your business. I encourage you to Google “2 second lean morning meeting” and watch how Paul Akers does it, as well. Steal our agenda and adapt it to what your company needs. If a new team member joins, use the meetings as a chance to teach him or her about your company culture. If a major problem arises, channel the team’s collective energy not proactively confront it.