Well, just so happened that I had a workplace visit scheduled this morning where a customer of mine (who is also a Talking Story reader) said to me, “Hey Rosa, how much time do you have? I’ve got a huddle coming up in ten minutes; what say we have your talk story this morning with them about Forever as a business strategy? Will you do it with us?”
Now for me, a workplace aloha coach, that is one sweet, irresistible invitation.
Don’s huddles are D15Ms (again, this is a customer story… can you feel my beaming? :) and so all we talked about in that 15-minute window of their morning today, was the USPS decision to release their Forever stamp and what we thought about it. The conversation took a turn a mere three minutes into it, when someone said,
“How much you wanna bet that if I go into our Waikōloa post office on May 13th they will be all out of the stamps and can’t sell any to me? If they plan it right, May 13 can be the biggest sales day the US postal service has had in their entire history.”
… and someone else added,
“Not only that, how much you wanna bet that even if they have them, May 13 will be like every other day at the post office; set up for three postal clerks, but only one of them are working and the other two windows are closed.”
Anyone out there with the USPS listening in?!?!?
… then someone else said,
“I’m not crazy about the idea of buying my Christmas stamps now, but I’d jump for the chance on May 13th. In fact, I’d probably buy even more than I’d need to. I’d be annoyed at them, but I’d stand in the line for the one clerk — ’cause you know they won’t be in the machines.”
At which point Don (their peer, not their manager) said,
“Yeah, those things are so frustrating… That’s 90 days from now… they could do a lot to prepare for it between now and then.”
I asked, “What about you guys? Are you in any kind of sales campaign right now? Do you have something coming up that is similar to this? What could you pull off in 90-days time?”
This is a sharp group, and they are used to working with me by now, so I will admit that the first response I got was, “Oh sneaky Rosa… did you plan this?”
However after they all laughed at me we did return the huddle to that one question: “Just what could you pull off in 90 days?” And not always, but when you know that there is some really big opportunity coming up for you that you’d hate to see slip by you.
By the end of the D15M huddle, the conclusion they came to was this: The best thing we could do, would be to first come to an agreement that out of all the projects we normally are involved with at any given time, that one big opportunity would be thought of as Job One ~ for everybody. That way we’d agree that it was okay for slow-downs with some other lesser things, and we’d also come to any agreement on which projects were the lesser ones, reason being that… “yeah, we do get more done when we all have the same focus at any given time… so we’d probably pool our efforts better than usual.” And as one gentleman put it, “The agreement part is important so no one would think we were just slacking off, using the Job One project as an excuse.”
We ended the huddle with everyone there just stating what they considered their Job One project to be right now, “just so everyone knows.” We also ended with a quick agreement, that in their huddle tomorrow they’d share what stretch they’ll try to take with that Job One project in the next 90 days.
A 15 minute huddle among seven peers. A couple of them are managers, but there wasn’t a single manager there overseeing the rest of them.
Yes, I’m still beaming. This is when work rocks. This is why I urge you, “Let’s Talk Story.” People will tell me, “Yeah, but Rosa, we talk to each other all the time.” I am sure you do, but do you talk story in huddles like this one?
I would love to hear about your huddles too: For the BEST 15 minutes in the workday, Huddle. Send me your story too, would’ya?
Two articles on Managing with Aloha Coaching which may interest you on agreements: Both were part of our Sunday Mālama there.