I like to get on with things rather than talk about them so I’ve never been a fan of planning or meetings. That all changed with the “stand up”. It’s a meeting format that is really quick, productive and is brilliant for team communication.

Here’s how we do it at Clear Books and why.

Quick Update
The purpose of the “stand up” is to give a quick update about what you achieved yesterday and what you are working on today. It takes no more than a minute each and is an excellent way to find out what everyone is working on.

Same Time
Do it at the same time every day. Getting into a routine makes it second nature. At Clear Books we do ours at 10am although we used to do it at 4pm. It works much better in the morning because it sets up the plan of action for the day and is less disruptive first thing.

Stand Up
The meeting is done standing up in a circle. Standing up ensures it’s a really quick meeting. If something comes up that needs to be discussed in more detail it can be explored separately.

Last Person
The last person to join the huddle starts the meeting. Before we introduced this idea there was an awkwardness waiting for someone to volunteer. Now everyone knows the drill and starting the meeting is automatic.

We used to have an awkward moment acknowledging that someone had finished speaking, when the next person should start and indeed who the next person should be. We introduced a really simple system to solve this.

Whoever is speaking holds a mascot (ok it’s a cuddly toy) which indicates it’s their turn to speak. When they are finished speaking they they pass the mascot clockwise round the circle to the next person. This is a really good way of showing that someone has finished and the next person should start.  

Tell a Joke
To wrap up the meeting the last person to speak sends the team off with a joke.

It might sound a bit of a scripted process but it’s not. It’s seamless, easy, useful, quick and something you have to try!

Posted by Tim Fouracre

Tim founded Clear Books in 2008. Like many small business owners he worked from home for 15 months to get his startup off the ground. Today Tim enjoys helping Clear Books, its customers and its growing team innovate and achieve. Tim did his GCE O Levels in Ghana.