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Improve execution and accountability with a Daily Huddle

I’m in a terrific new program that networking guru Keith Ferrazzi (Never Eat Alone, Who’s Got Your Back) is running and a recent exercise asked participants to describe ways they’ve kept their teams (and themselves) accountable.  My submission got some positive feedback and it’s pretty simple, so I thought I’d share it.

I had a team of account executives in remote offices, each of whom managed a number of alumni-association partners. We weren’t always their highest priority so executing on a long list of initiatives wasn’t always easy. I started a 20-minute Daily Huddle (first thing in the AM-if you couldn’t make it, no problem) and gave each person two minutes to list their biggest accomplishment of the previous day, what they wanted to accomplish that day, and what they needed from me or someone else on the call.   I kept track of what each person wanted to accomplish and asked the next day (and for a number of days after, if need be) what was getting in the way of completing that task.  One benefit of the daily call was that other team members often  offered advice based on having dealt with a similar problem with another school and very often someone would volunteer to role-play or help in some way to get the goal accomplished.   In addition, having to outline your goals in front of others led to more tangible goals that would have a real impact on the team’s results.

As a result of this and some other execution-focused  initiatives, we renewed 100+ relationships (with no losses), protecting $250 million in revenues and significantly reducing the sponsorship fees we were paying, while increasing group-satisfaction scores by 20%.  We also surpassed our goals for launching our Affinity Checking product by 200% (endorsements and accounts).  All because we spent a little bit of time every day focusing on initiatives that would move the needle.

Interestingly, someone in the class responded to my submission with the observation that people probably worked that much harder to complete tasks and come up with good objectives for the day because they didn’t want theirs to pale by comparison to other team members.  I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it’s probably true

To be effective: Keep it short. Keep it focused. And try to have it at the same time every day — first thing in the AM.

How do you help your teams — or yourself — be more accountable and execute more effectively.  Please share!

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