How Much Time Does it Take to Implement Huddles in an Organization?

In the fall of 2020, Kaas Tailored hosted a series of Zoom calls unpacking our Daily Management System (DMS). Each month we focused on a different element of our DMS starting with strategy, then discussing daily huddles, then talking about Visual Management Systems (VMS), and ending with Leader Standard Work. In this post, Jeff talks about how implementing daily huddles within an organization doesn’t happen overnight.

What is your current state? 

Before assuming that your organization could use a daily huddle, study how long it takes for an idea to get to action. In a typical organization, information flow takes weeks, months, or sometimes never. The purpose of a daily huddle is to move from a longer time frame (weeks or months) up to a daily rhythm that allows information to be shared and the problems that surface be solved.

When it comes to implementing Daily Huddles, you have to lift your head up before you walk – similar to an infant. It is important, especially for leaders, to ask, “Is it really possible that living a different way can create the kind of results, the kind of blessings that I want my team and my customers to experience?” To me, that is the lifting your head up part. And then, maybe a little bit of crawling towards the direction of “Shall we do it?” I would say working with your team and asking, “What happens if we actually huddled every day?”

One of the things that I want to encourage is doing a little bit of math to say, “What is the current state?” Then you have a story to tell. What I mean by that is to build a culture where the next generation of leaders can go, “Hey, when we do huddles, we want you to know why. The way we worked before would cause about a three-week delay, and we wanted to get that down to three minutes. The huddles allow us to do that.” 

Pick a time, make it sacred

The next part, once you have a basic understanding of the current state, is simple. Pick a time in the morning, make it sacred, and make it fun. The virtual element of our huddle is really important to me, where you can meet and be wherever you are. And so, 7:30 to 7:55 AM, not a minute past, and usually less, and then from 4:30 to 4:42 PM, is now sacred time for us. 

You will have some naysayers in there who will start moaning, “I don’t have time for that.” The truth is, they are probably too busy doing rework all day to realize that they could solve the problem in the daily huddle. So leadership has to be super committed to teaching the principles of eliminating waste, or maybe the 14 principles of Toyota, so that people start to realize, “Oh, my life is getting better.”

It won’t happen overnight

It took our team a while. We had been doing daily huddles for three months when one of our managers said, “Hey, when can we stop? We need to stop.” My answer? “Never.” It took quite a bit of help from our friends at Nordstrom to help us get to the point where we would continue it. And he accepted me being a jerk for saying, “No, we will do this forever.” Even with everything we know about waste, he still thought it was a hassle because it wasn’t good enough yet. So we said, “Well, what would we need to do in the huddle to make you want to be there?” And that’s when he said, “Well, I want to hear this. I don’t want to hear that.” We were able to pull what he needed and build that into the standard work, so he got what he needed out of the Daily Huddles.  

It took us really coming together on the principles of, “How are you going to know and show truth? How do we give our best for our best? How are you going to improve every day?” It was a hard-fought battle to get it across the finish line.

If you would like to learn more about how to implement a Daily Management System within your organization or more about Kaizen and Continuous Improvement, consider signing up for a Kaas Tailored Waste Tour