Posts Tagged: Daily Huddle


A “Healthy” Culture

November 19th, 2014

ID-100268432To be healthy and to have energy most of us know that we must “eat right” and exercise. Living a sedentary lifestyle is not good for the body. Getting up and moving is the key to building a strong, resilient, and flexible body. Most of us have a dozen excuses for not working out. We are busy, life gets in the way, kids, commitments in the community, yard work, organizing your sock drawer. Did I mention kids?

We find it hard to set a routine up and stick with it. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I have been exercising like clockwork for 6, 10, 14 months and it was the worst decision of my life. I have lost weight, have more energy, and have less stress in my life. Terrible decision.” Not likely.

I think culture is the same way. In order to have a healthy, energetic culture, an organization and its leaders must do the equivalent of exercising and eating right. The company must have a plan to work at its culture! Leaders don’t time to have a cultural plan, right? I think you don’t have time not too. Your culture, when alive, aligned, and clear, does a very nice job of creating meaning and a bigger purpose for your customers, employees, and key stakeholders. Quite frankly, your culture sends a clear message whether it’s alive and aligned or not.

The great thing about culture work is that I don’t think it matters where you start as long as you start somewhere. Starting will create action and ideas that will keep your culture work alive and vibrant.

Looking for some ideas on where to start?

  1. Define your organizational values with your team. Find ways to talk about them at staff meetings, training sessions, daily huddles, etc.
  2. Reward, recognize, and hold accountable employees to the values.
  3. Meet with employees. Ask them what the organization must stop, start, and continue doing.
  4. Create cultural priorities.

Are You a Sharing Leader?

September 24th, 2014

Being a leader in today’s work environment has it’s share of obstacles. The culture of your company directly impacts how you lead and what you do in your role in every circumstance. For example, let’s take the topic of communication and your responsibility relative to cascading messages. Often times leaders maintain the proverbial upper hand by distributing information (or frankly misinformation) to suit their personal goals and objectives. This does not have to be a nefarious or illegal thing by the way. Sometimes as leaders we are simply overly competitive or selfish. Being the leader that always has to win means you’re going to do anything you need to do to come out on top. That often means controlling what you know. Selfish leaders? Well, they are probably just protecting their job and paycheck. Everybody is doing it right? So what’s wrong with it? It’s like a teenager explaining staying out too late or a bad test grade, “…but Tommy is allowed to.”

Today’s world is about information. That’s why it’s called the Information Age. Why not empower today’s knowledge worker with as much as possible? Why not make it a point to share as much as you can? A group perspective is often more right and more powerful than the views of a handful or the privileged.

To be a sharing leader one must:

  1. ID-100161829Be clear on what their role is as a leader. Is it your job to share what you hear and learn in terms of strategy, vision, or simple business updates with your team? If you’re hearing these messages and you don’t see them in newsletter, town halls, or email updates then I bet it is part of your role. Be a messenger. There is good power in doing this well!
  2. Share it all. Don’t hold back an inch. Employees can sense when your holding back and not sharing. Trust them. They can handle the truth. Of course there is confidentiality. This is not what I am talking about. Stop protecting. Quit isolating staff from business news they can help with. They might even view the problems of the business as interesting new projects to tackle to grow their resumes!
  3. Use all means as possible. Some messages are tactical. Some are strategic. Some serious and some not so much. Pick your forum. Have huddles every day for daily sticks. Do a weekly discussion for businesses. Have a phone call or town hall meeting when you’re dealing with longer term updates or when you want to get some real engagement and feedback.

The key is to make communication a part of your daily leadership plan. It will always take a back seat to your inbox and to do’s if you let it!

Create a Culture Holiday!

June 18th, 2014

How do you reinforce and teach the right organizational behaviors to your employee base? Leaders want their company to have a culture that reflects the values they put in place, but how can you do this from a practical day to day perspective?

Generally, we want to tell stories around our values. We want to reward and recognize values-based behaviors. And then we want to keep repeating and reinforcing. Not so hard in theory, but it can be difficult in a practical sense.

At the Outside-In® Companies, we have established a values holiday calendar. We have quite a few values, so every three to four weeks we celebrate one of our unique values for the day. Employees partner up and work on a value to find a way to bring the values to life. The value gets reinforced at our morning huddle. Legacy stories might be shared. A module of learning might be created. Handouts and visuals placed on desks or in prominent places to reinforce the message. The key is the simple routine and consistency. The challenge is to keep it fresh and changing.  And to make the story and symbolism meaningful.

When you encourage employees to take on a value they must become learners in order to act as teachers. Allowing all to be innovative and unique in how they communicate it is simply part of our culture. This reinforces taking risks and being knowledge-based workers.

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 1.39.32 PMSpeaking of risk taking and holidays. Check out the $9 dollar bill with my face on it. This was the handout on for the Risk Takers values holiday. I always say make $9 dollar mistakes. Involve others when its goes to $99 or perhaps $99,999 or up. Once you bring the values to life in a meaningful way the rest will fall into place as employees live and breathe your culture. Humor. Education. Recognition. Rewards. Repeat.

Happiness Project: Be A Part of Something

March 13th, 2013

Guest blog spot by Kelly Hocutt, Marketing Team Lead

The Outside-In Happines Project

Back in January we kicked off our company-wide annual theme, The Outside-In® Happiness Project, inspired by the best-selling book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. As followers of the business practices outlined in Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish, we choose to establish a theme to motivate our company to accomplish its quarterly and yearly goals. Our company’s goal this year? To promote internal happiness and in doing so, optimize our company culture, Outside-In®.

Another business practice outlined in Mastering the Rockefeller Habits is working in a rhythm. At CBI Group, we have built in some of those best practices into our team’s routine: Annual Theme, Quarterly Kick Offs, monthly leadership meetings, weekly team meetings, daily huddles and so on. All of these things are about communication and being a part of something. All of these things keep us as individuals aligned with our co-workers, leaders, teams, business lines and our company.

Today, I realized that all of these things, each of which may seem like just another meeting are much, much more than that. They make me feel a part of something. And that feeling contributes to my happiness. When I did my job search and found CBI Group, I was looking for that feeling. I wanted to wake up in the morning and be excited about the energy, atmosphere, vibe of what a company stood for. I can manage projects, be part of task forces and committees, design collateral and write at any company. But not every company offers that feeling that you are a part of something.

So today, I recognized one of my “commandments” or “secrets of adulthood”as Gretchen would call it: Be a part of something.

Being a part of something, in any aspect of my life makes me feel happier. I have a close family but sometimes I take them for granted. When I focus on daily texts, weekly dinners or outings and don’t let holidays come and go without focusing on traditions, I truly feel a part of my family – and that makes me happy. I’ve signed up for team sports, shown up for happy hours with friends and RSVP’d to party invites that come my way – but when I truly focus on the rhythm of my time with friends, I recognize the value of my friends and feel a part of something – and that makes me happy.

In the office, maintaining rhythm and recognizing its value makes a huge difference. It can transform a job from being “work” to being a part of something. And the cultural aspect? The culture reinforces that feeling of something greater. With The Outside-In® Happiness Project, we hope that our team’s personal happiness will reflect within our culture, and in doing so, improve our customer’s experience; and in being a customer-centric culture, that is what Outside-In® is all about.

What are you a part of? Does it make you happy?

How do you create momentum?

May 18th, 2010

All of us long for the go go days. We want action. We listen for the hum of the office. Is it a good hum with good action? Or is it quiet? The stock market has rebounded. Profits are soaring. Small business? We are optimistic. We see things getting slightly better. We have customers. We have problems to solve. But where does real momentum come from?

I grew up in sales. I knew momentum came from action. One new customer made the phone weigh next to nothing. I could not wait to get to another prospect or to make an afternoon of introductory calls. Give me a stretch where I have not talked to a live person in a while; where it has been hard or difficult to set an appointment. I lose my way. The phone starts to feel like it weighs a hundred pounds.

Today, twenty years later I look at my company and I talk to my clients. We all wonder where momentum comes from and how you can sustain it once you have it. I think I have the answer and know why many companies never find it. Great strategies are best executed by making small and incremental improvements every day. Just leave your business a little better than the day before and BAM! One day you wake up and your company is like a snowball rolling downhill – nothing can stop you.

That is fine when things are looking up. But when it feels like things have ground to a halt…what can you do?

1. Have a daily huddle. 10 minutes a day where people can get connected, seek help and hear what is going on. Nothing builds camaraderie and momentum faster.

2. Make a change on the team. I do not mean you have to fire someone. New assignments or a new project can really invigorate. If you do find yourself needing to hire, there is something wonderful and dynamic about how teams come together to help the new person come up to speed. (By the way if your culture does encourage helping one another, stay tuned for my next blog).

3. Make something happen. Leadership is about seeing things as they are, analyzing well and then taking action. Are you stuck planning or over analyzing? If your team needs a boost make something happen.

4. Focus on the fundamentals. Teach and train. If staff can do their jobs better or learn something, they have more confidence and that breeds greater productivity and outcomes.

The key? Add value. Show your employees and your customers that you have something of value. Momentum is an intangible. It can be a feeling. If you are from Philadelphia or a sports fan just look to the Flyers, our beloved hockey team. They were down 3-0 in a seven game series and came back to win 4 games in a row. They got the breaks. They worked really hard. They have a great leader in their coach and a great captain on the ice. By the end of the series their confidence and energy were contagious. No one player wanted to let down another. The team played well together and refused to fail. The fans got excited. The city got pumped up. And when they played their next game in the next series? More of the same and another victory.

How does this relate to business? Sometimes there is one event that catapults your business. A major account or a great hire. It is consistently doing the little things all of the time and some breaks along the way. Momentum, will you know it when you see it?

Just ask the Flyers…

A Learning Organization

March 22nd, 2010

Over the years I have done many talks and speeches about culture and the advantages its brings in business. Culturally led businesses outperform those that do not work on culture – it is that simple. What comes up the most? What exactly is an Outside-In® organization? I often start with the story of leaders in a boardroom. The leaders like to make decisions; to decide their own fate right? In fact, it is the role of the leadership team to know what is going on and to make decisions on the strategic direction of the business. As leaders we do make those decisions and set that tone.

A question we should all be asking ourselves is, “how many times are those decisions made with customer input or made based on employee perspective of those that are closest to the customer?”. The answer is: NOT often enough.

As leaders, the real momentum comes when your team knows they can speak up. That they can share what a customer said. That they can tell you when a policy is harmful (or just plain stupid). This kind of environment does not come about about overnight. It needs to be created and cultivated by leaders that believe in it and encourage it with their words and their actions. Too hard? Maybe. I know all of the arguments: Staff won’t see what they are not responsible for or what they are not measured by. It is not their job. They don’t have the training or inclination. We need their production, not their ideas! That is my job as leader. Some of those arguments may be true. However, you should view this as your competitive advantage or secret weapon that other companies won’t bother to implement or think to copy.

Imagine a world where every employee takes a few minutes each day to ask “what did we learn from the marketplace or customer today?”. Perhaps planning and asking the question is the easy part of all this. Imagine also that everyone asks the question and knows that you really want and value the answer. That is an Outside-In® company in its simplest state. Where the front lines run the show. Where good information is not lost; it is cherished and respected. Our job as a leader? Set the tone. Help folks interpret what they hear. Share any knowledge that gives the employee more context on what they observed. Help everyone understand the value. That today’s tidbit is tomorrows trend. And tomorrows trend is a customer solution or product line. Or business unit. Or next business.

Start by asking the question in a team meeting. What did we learn about the marketplace today or this week or this month?

Try this! More help on this in the next blog…

The daily huddle in your business drives the questions that get to the core of your business and how it will compete tomorrow. Most of us in business know enough to realize that our products five years out have not even been considered. Why not start right now? It is cheap – if not free.

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