A Much Better Way to End Your Morning Meeting – Ready, Break!

Huddle Up!

A morning huddle (daily scrum or daily stand-up) is a proven way for team members to share information and start the day with a sense of direction and connection to others. It sets a positive tone for the day and links us to a purpose larger than ourselves.

 Teams have been holding these short, focused morning meeting for years. Why? 

Because they work.

So how can you make your morning huddles more successful?

What if we applied a simple technique to our business lives that sports teams have been practicing for years?

Ready, Break!

On athletic fields around the country, teams huddle together before every play to ensure success. The coaches send in a play, and then the team leader in the huddle restates the play to make sure everyone understands their assignment. But before the players run to their starting positions, the group, in unison and loudly, will clap their hands simultaneously and yell “break,” or “let’s go,” or some other chant.

It’s a simple process repeated over and over by athletes and coaches around the world. 

At first glance, it might not appear to be that big of a deal. So what if a couple of players yell a word out loud? But “breaking the huddle” with enthusiasm has some overlooked but powerful benefits.

See for yourself. Stand in front of a mirror and call out a made up football play– “Red right, toss 24 on 3” –as if you were the quarterback on your high school team. At the end say, “1- 2 -3 ….break” and clap at the same time.

Probably nothing all-to-awe-inspiring by yourself.

Now get five of your friends or family members. Have them do the same drill. Make sure they participate with some zeal. 

Six to ten or more people chanting in unison is powerful. 

Here’s what it does for coaches and athletes. Let’s say you’re demonstrating a new technique. You’ve covered a couple of points, and now the athletes are ready to try it. If the coach shouts out, “1 – 2 -3” and all the athletes yell “let’s go,” the coach knows they’re ready to train. For athletes, it’s like hitting a reset button. I’m letting my coach know I’m ready to go.

I’m letting my body know it is time to change from passive watcher to active doer.

Breaking the Work Huddle

We have incorporated “breaking the huddle” from the athletic world into our daily business routine. It’s another way we are building a team culture, doing things differently, and having some fun.

Every morning the department supervisors have a short (typically less than five minutes) meeting to discuss things we should all be aware before starting the day. 

At the end of the meeting, rather than walk away, we huddle up, put our hands together, and break the meeting with a word of the day. Each meeting, someone different contributes the word.

In the attached video, the word was “bloom.” The day was May 1, the flowers are blooming, and it was a gentle reminder that part of our jobs is always to help our students and staff bloom too. 

Every meeting should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Dan and Chip Heath’s Power of Moments book describes how disproportionately important the beginning and end of events are. So, if you want to take your team to the next level, first acknowledge that finishing your meetings on a high note is just as important as starting it correctly. Then do something about it. 

Can you apply this practice to your organization?

Besides, why should sports teams have all the fun?