I suggest that all leaders should have daily, five-minute meetings with their teams. No agenda. No sitting down. Just five minutes, every day, checking in with one another about what is going on in their worlds and in the company.
More often than not, the response I get is this: “Every day?”, they ask. “I don’t have time for that.”
For those who take my advice and stick with the daily check-in every morning for a few weeks, the payoff is clear. Here’s how it benefits the team:
It drastically reduces the lifespan of problems. By getting together for a short period of time every day, leaders ensure that issues in the business or among the team will go undetected for no more than 24 hours (assuming, of course, that they have the courage to raise the issue when they are together).
It promotes cohesiveness. Teams that see one another every day develop a greater bond than those that come together once every week or two. It’s true in families, in social settings, in organizations. Frequent interaction and communication make for stronger relationships, which is why co-located teams have such an advantage over virtual ones.
It saves time. When team members know that they will see one another the next morning, they avoid creating unnecessary e-mail chains and interrupting one another with phone calls, deciding to wait until the next check-in meeting to raise the issue.
And so, when a leader objects to not having enough time for daily check-ins, the best response is the question, “is five minutes every day—less than two hours per month—too much to ask for faster identification of problems, a more cohesive leadership team, and fewer interruptions and distractions?” Even the busiest, most cynical leader will recognize the absurdity of his or her objection.
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