In football, the huddle is a crucial component of an effective offense. During a huddle, the quarterback essentially sets a blueprint for the offense, creating a short-term strategy for the team with the intent of moving the ball down the field and finishing in the end zone.
As of late, this concept has gained traction in the business world. More and more organizations are beginning to conduct daily mini-meetings designed to move the team down field to set up a touchdown. The business huddle has become popular because it can be customized to fit any organization’s needs, just like a football team’s offense. However, just like a well running offense, business huddles require practice. Below are a few pointers on leading an effective huddle.
1. Keep it short. In football, the offense is given 40 seconds after the end of a given play to snap the ball. If the offense fails to do so, they are assessed a penalty. The purpose of a huddle is simply to update team members on the status of assignments and projects. Huddles are not the place for debate and discussion. Rather, you should save that for your other meetings. In business, your team may need more than 40 seconds, but an effective huddle doesn’t exceed more than 15 to 30 minutes.
2. Get rid of the chairs! When is the last time you saw Peyton Manning pull up a chair in the huddle? A huddle can quickly take on the form of a meeting if everyone is sitting down. People may start to lose interest and focus if they feel as though they are in a meeting. The next time you conduct a micro-meeting, lose the chairs. You may find that the meeting doesn’t last as long.
3. Efficiency is crucial. Football teams are masters of efficiency in the huddle. For example, “686 Pump F-stop on 2,” is a typical play call in an NFL huddle. It’s short and direct, yet everyone in the huddle understands what their role is in the upcoming play. Business huddles should be conducted in a similar manner. Communicate your plan of attack in the huddle, break, and execute the play.