Morning Check-In Meetings – Maybe the most powerful management tool there is

Ok, maybe morning check-in meetings aren’t the most powerful management tool there is. But they certainly improved the culture and productivity of my team. I started morning meetings after reading “Death by Meeting” by Patrick Lencioni.   Making a simple addition to the daily schedule ended up having quite an impact.meetingsI’m sure the idea of starting another department meeting is not on the top of your list. I don’t blame you, who likes meetings? Dave Barry, the humorist saidmeetings would be a lot better if the people running them would just say, ‘Everybody who is still working on what he or she is supposed to be working on, raise your hand!’ If you did that, you’d all be out of there in five minutes, even allowing time for jokes.” He’s poking fun, but in truth, that’s a pretty good description of a check-in meeting.

Here is how you run a check-in meeting:

  1. Hold them the same time every day.
  2. Size matters. They don’t work if your group is bigger than 15 people.  Break your group up if you need to.
  3. Everyone stays standing (unless that is difficult for someone, of course).
  4. Keep the meeting short – about 5 to 10 minutes long.
  5. The agenda – “What are people are working on today?” And when appropriate – discussion of any support needed, announcements, and/or recognitions.
  6. Never cancel, even when the boss is not there.  Once they develop a pattern, the check-ins will become fixed and people will miss them when they don’t happen.

Here is what morning check-ins will do for your group:

  • They will improve communication. They’re a quick way of letting everyone share what they are working on.
  • The structure of the day’s work is laid out. Check-ins make it easy to prioritize what needs to get done, and by whom.
  • People are held accountable.  If you have to tell the group what you will be doing that day, you better get it done.  Also, it becomes obvious when you have someone that’s not clear on what they should be doing.
  • Issues are identified.  If there is a problem getting something done, it will come up.
  • The sense of team is reinforced. Just the simple act of bringing people into a huddle everyday does amazing things for your culture.
  • Relationships are strengthened. Check-in meetings are a great way of promoting engagement and keeping staff from becoming isolated.

You will get pushback from some.  Your staff member – “Aggh, I really don’t have time for this, I’m too busy.” You – “The meeting is mandatory and I need you there.” My experience is that those who think these meetings are a hassle don’t like to play as a team or being held accountable. For me, this is even more of a reason to have them.

Have you had morning check-ins and how did they work for you?

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  • Amen Jim. They were huge for me. They sucked at first but got better over time.

    The key is to stick with them…for a long, long time!

    • That’s the trick. Once you get them to be part of the routine your golden.

  • I started the same way you did, after reading “Death by Meeting”. I think the big benefit has been team building, it has definitely brought the team closer. It has also saved several emails/discussions that got taken care of quickly because everyone was there.

    • jryan2445

      Sent from my iPod

    • Great comment Wade. You cannot beat face-to-face discussions. You can save like 10 emails.

  • Great management practice. Unfortunately, they are rarely utilized. They provide a excellent opportunity to get everybody on the same page, extract ideas from staff, and reinforce a sense of team. Thanks for the blog post.