My Thursday column for Lifehack.org today is an update of an older Talking Story post which was originally called Another Take on Meetings: The 5-Point Plan. It came back to focus for me recently while bringing the communication module I have for SLC within the MWA3P program to a local management group: When I’m asked to help “improve communication in our organization,” one of my early questions in response will be “tell me about the meetings you regularly schedule.”
When meetings are held well, you can really engineer a dramatic turnaround in the allover effectiveness of communication and productivity, because people feel they have a predictable, reliable and valuable way to bank the knowledge currency they need for all subsequent work. The football analogy I reference in my 5-Point Meeting Plan is a good one to think about, for the inherent messages within a huddle are:
You’re part of this team for good reason, and
You’re part of this huddle for good reason— the time to perform is now
No one else is playing your position, so listen up
We only have so much time to huddle, and
The information we share within it is crucial
This information is knowledge which will help you engage with the rest of us better
This knowledge that we alone share, will help us win
The rest of us are counting on you to help us execute the entire play
We can’t do this without you
However together, we can do this, and we will succeed
Everyone understands how vitally important those huddles are.
KÄ“ia manawa is a Hawaiian concept that lives within Ka la hiki ola. It means right now. This is the time. This is it. The here and now. There was a fitting football analogy that Kahu Billy Mitchell would share with us when he felt we needed more trust in ourselves and in the positive certainty of Ka lā hiki ola, the dawning of a new day. He’d point out that once the game is in play, it becomes time for everything you’ve practiced for. It’s time to perform. Once the quarterback calls the play in the huddle and you take your place on the line, you had better be ready to go, to perform magnificently. Kahu would open his arms wide and bellow out at us: “The blackboard is not coming on the field!” In the quiet seconds that followed and he leveled his gaze at each of us, we knew the thought of his unspoken words were, so what are you waiting for?
—Managing with Aloha, page 225
Huddles are generous because players are acknowledged, valued, and trusted. It’s a generosity they thrive on.
If you’re a player on the sidelines, chances are you are aching inside for the coach to look your way and send you out on the field to join in. Think of the value of Kākou: inclusiveness, and the Language of We. It’s a privilege to be included, and it’s an affirmation of the talent, energy, and team-player reputation you have.
Different from football, huddles can take all kinds of shapes and forms in a workplace because of the many team dynamics that are in play. Everyone can be involved.
And make no mistake about it, meetings can indeed have all the generosity of huddles.
On Lifehack.org today: Huddle up; Meet Well.
Our Ho‘ohana this month is on Lokomaika‘i, the giving and generosity “of good heart.”