The Cost Of Daily Huddles, The Second Best Time To Plant A Seed Is Today & Be Useful
22 October 2023 Newsletter
“The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.” Fabienne Fredrickson
Hope you’re Thriving!
It’s been a productive week with meetings, a planning workshop, and a presentation to a group about onboarding.
Also, I watched the new David Beckham documentary on Netflix, which is an excellent insight into the mindset of a top performer.
Look out for his attention to detail around the house and his persistence and resilience in the face of adversity.
The Cost Of Daily Huddles
What does it take to make a business successfully scale?
Most of the time, businesses that come to us fail to reach their potential because they aren’t asking the right questions and aren’t disciplined.
They don’t have a strategy they are confident in and aren’t executing it with discipline. And so we embed a new ‘operating system’ to develop and evolve a strategy and to execute it optimally.
And then the new operating system works. The business scales and succeeds.
Often, the level of this growth means that we aren’t able to hire from within and need to hire from outside the business, bringing in critical executives to fill roles. The challenge is that these new executives often have their own opinions about how we apply our strategic execution system and perhaps think that some parts might be a little unnecessary. This is somewhat ironic because the system has created the growth that has seen them hired!
Of course, one of the things that stands out for criticism is the daily huddle.
A 10-minute stand-up meeting where each team member answers three questions – what’s up, where are you stuck, and a metric update.
Recently, I spoke with an owner who was concerned because an executive hired into the business had decided to drop daily huddles. They were beginning to see less alignment in the team and people not knowing what was happening across the team. Consequently, the operating system wasn’t operating at its optimum.
And so, we calculated the cost of the daily huddle for that team.
Each huddle cost around $56 per day and $280 per week. But all the people were salaried staff, so that was just an estimate.
But, the return on investment for a daily huddle was interesting. In other words, if we spend $280 per week, what would be the return on that?
One other thing: since dropping the daily huddle, the business had made a (rare) loss last month. This was attributed to less output and a series of problems.
It came down to two things. They were executing faster and avoiding mistakes and rework.
We couldn’t get precise figures for that business, but we guessed that for a cost of $1,120 per month, we were seeing a return of tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Yes, it feels a little bit too ‘Ra Ra’. It’s corny and can feel like it shouldn’t be a part of a ‘quiet achiever’ culture. But, when connected to meaningful weekly and quarterly meetings, the daily huddle aligns team members on the most important things, removes blockages and drives better execution and effectiveness.
The Second Best Time To Plant A Seed Is Today
Maybe you’ve heard the Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
At a meeting this week, a client we’ve been working with for a while was reflecting on their journey as an entrepreneur.
We’ve begun to see some early wins translating into momentum, with some changes to the strategy and the execution rhythm building. As they reflected, the owner was remorseful that they hadn’t acted earlier, saying, “I wish I started the program five years ago when I first came across you guys. We’d be so much better today if we had.”
I could only respond by saying, “Let’s do the best with what we have today”. And frankly, people often say they wish they had started earlier, which made me think about the quote above.
Take action. Don’t delay.
This brings me to a book I just started Be Useful: Seven tools for life by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I wanted to share the text from the back cover, which I found both completely aligned with my perspective and motivational. Enjoy.
“If there is one unavoidable truth in this world, it’s that there is no substitute for putting in the work.
There is no shortcut or growth hack or magic pill that can get you around the hard work of doing your job well, of winning something you care about, or of making your dreams come true.
People have tried to cut corners and skip steps in this process for as long as hard work has been hard.
Eventually, those people either fall behind or get left in our dust, because working your ass off is the only thing that works 100 percent of the time for 100 percent of the things worth achieving.”