How to Host Stand Up Meetings

Associates line up on both sides to congratulate outstanding sales associates at Nordstrom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Associates line up on both sides to congratulate outstanding sales associates at Nordstrom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

In the previous post, we spoke about the idea that stand up meetings are needed to keep front and centered important (though not necessarily urgent) conversations that need to be held with your employees. We noted that stand up meetings are brief conversations held daily, focusing on important topics such as improving customer service or better engaging employees in providing that service. Here are the ground rules for hosting effective stand up meetings:

Make it Brief. This is not about long, drawn out conversations. We call them stand up meetings because we want meetings short enough that everyone participating won’t bother finding a seat. Just come together in some central gathering area and hold the event. In order to make these stand up meetings succeed, you will need to have action planning sessions from time to time so that you can meet in a more formal manner to create plans. Stand up meetings are for executing those plans on a day-to-day basis. Going 10 to 15 minutes or more should be the rare exception, not the rule. If you need more time to focus on a particular topic, schedule a meeting. These meetings should go as quickly as 4-5 minutes and should focus on progress being made on important goals.

Make it a Dialogue, Not a Monologue. Listening is a critical component of this time together. Don’t lecture. Don’t just make assignments. Take time to discuss what is working and what needs to be improved. One way to keep it dialogue-focused is to invite members of your team to host those stand up meetings. Involving others also helps your employees to be more engaged.

If nothing else, ask the question: “How can I support you today?” Then listen and act on what they say.

Hold it Consistently. Set aside a time and a place. Stick to it. You will probably spend very little time talking about important matters that are not urgent. Do not let this time be sacrificed to what is not urgent.

Have Fun! Make it something worthwhile to attend. Make it something they enjoy attending. Make it something they would miss if it didn’t happen, or if they were away. Make it a tradition of your team.

In reality, there are many opportunities during stand up meetings:

  • Show appreciation and recognition
  • Seek out insight from others
  • ┬áCommunicate what’s going on
  • Offer informal feedback
  • Share experiences
  • Build relationships
  • Focus on attaining results

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