Morning Huddles and why every startup should do them



I wanted to quickly share with you a quick overview of a short 10 minute meeting that has now become the single most important 10 minutes of Seed Sumo’s day…Everyday.

Last month, Seed Sumo Management met as a group several times over the course of 3 weeks for what we called“Kickoff 2015”.  We met with the open question of “How can we make this year 10 times better than last year?”  I’m sure you can imagine, the ideas started to flow.  In fact, by the end of the 3 weeks, we had 3 Trello boards and 4 whiteboards full of projects and action items.  I know what you are thinking…I’ve heard that before.  Look, I’ve started over 12 companies and I’ve seen some pretty crazy yearly plans, but this one was different.  A normal task management system wouldn’t work for this.

That’s when our new staff member Steve Tinkle introduced us to Morning Huddles.  What a slap in the face.  Where have these been all my life?   They get the entire organization aligned in less than 10 minutes a day.  If you want a culture boost like you have never seen, try these for 2 weeks and thank me later.

Morning huddles put simply are 5-10 minute meetings at a set awkward time every day during the workweek that the entire company participates in.  

Here are the rules:

They must take place in the morning and must be at odd times (Ex. ours is at 8:52am)

Music is welcomed prior to starting (we usually start playing some upbeat music around 8:45am)

Everyone must be standing the entire meeting (this keeps them short and keeps everyone involved)

First Question to ask: What did you learn yesterday?  

  • Each person gets 30 seconds to tell the group 1 thing they learned yesterday that might be relevant to the group as a whole (ex. new task management techniques, TED talk, books, etc.)
  • Go around the entire room until everyone is done

Second Question to ask: What is my Top 1 Today?  

  • Everyone in the huddle names one thing out loud they will complete today.  If all they finish today is this one thing, they had a successful day. If anyone hears something that sounds (easy) or hear something that doesn't sound like it is moving the company forward, challenge that person to raise their stakes.  (Ex. Write 1 blog post for startups)
  • It keeps you accountable (especially if someone is writing them down).  We actually keep them in and keep track of how many days in a row we complete our Top 1.  You would be surprised how tough it actually is.
  • Everyone has a ton of stuff to do on a given day (remember that white board?).  Sometimes you have so much to do that you end up not completing anything.  You start several tasks, but never quite finish anything.  This part of the meeting allows you to pick 1 major thing you want to finish today.  

Last Question to ask: Anyone have any “Stucks”?  

  • “Stucks" are anything that you need from someone (inside the organization) that prevent you from doing work.  (ex. need a new key to building, need username password for this, meeting requests, etc.)
  • Make sure that you hear “No Stucks” from everyone in the room.  Stucks are sometimes quick fixes, but can be detrimental if they aren’t fixed.  This allows you to be aware of them.  
  • Create some type of “exit” to the meeting. Be cheesy.  Be fun.  This is your culture in action.

That’s it.  Try it for 2 weeks no matter how small your company is.  Let us know how it goes :)