Leadership Toolbox: the Standup Meeting

By | April 15, 2018

[April 15, 2018]  Early in my military career I learned about being brief and to the point.  “Don’t waste people’s time,” was said about as often as we cleaned our rifles.  I’m always looking for leadership methods I can put into my personal toolbox and the standup meeting is one of them.

Also called morning roll-call or daily scrum, the standup meeting is exactly that; a short, 5 to 15-minute meeting where everyone must stand as a reminder to keep things short and to-the-point.  I found that when done correctly, it can be both productive and efficient in getting information out and tasks prioritized and assigned to the right team.

There are right and wrong ways to run a standup meeting and perhaps they get a bad rap because leaders don’t run them correctly.  Besides standing up, here are five ways to make it work:

  1. The meeting time and location is planned around the team.
  2. The meeting venue is prepared with visual information (e.g., charts, graphs).
  3. Everyone is prepared to give a short brief on what they’ve done, what they’re working on, and what is getting in their way from doing their job.
  4. It is a team effort with all involved.
  5. Someone takes notes and that is transmitted ASAP to all participants.

Here are four things that are unacceptable to have an effective standup meeting:

  1. Waiting for team members to show up; it always starts at a set time.
  2. Letting people hog the time and ramble on too much.
  3. It becomes a chitchat session to impress the boss.
  4. Introduces new ideas unexpectedly; this is not the meeting to deal with them.

The standup meeting is just a tool, albeit a valuable one, but is not the only tool to communicate with the team.


[Note:]  I have a small mini-series on Leadership Toolboxes here at theLeaderMaker.com.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

17 thoughts on “Leadership Toolbox: the Standup Meeting

  1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

    Readers: On my next “Leadership Toolbox”, I’ll be writing about Checklists or Small Gifts. These are needed by all leaders regardless of position.

  2. Joe Omerrod

    I too went back and read all the previous posts on leader tools that they should have in their toolbox. Very helpful. thanks.

  3. Danny Burkholder

    Good post on this important subject. As a junior leader one time myself, I wish I’d had this information.

  4. Max Foster

    Tools are things that make our jobs easier. A tool for a leader is usually a proven technique that helps them out. Your list is pretty comprehensive. In the future I recommend you write about the “gift” as a tool. Small gifts to new members on the team, those going away, or for special guests are helpful.

  5. Georgie M.

    Good post on leadership tools for those passionate enough to want them. Thanks.

  6. Kenny Foster

    Any leader who has not accumulated “pocket methods” for making their job easier, is not thinking very efficiently or acting effectively. There are many who teach this to leaders for a price. You get it here for free and good storytelling to boot.

  7. Jerry Jones

    I’m a fan of this group of posts. Tools such as these should be taught to everyone, not just to aspiring leaders.

  8. Billy Kenningston

    This series has been very helpful. I consolidated them into a small booklet for the young boys I work with.

  9. Darryl Sitterly

    I never liked meetings but I can see why the military adopted a “standup” meeting.

  10. Tomas C. Looney

    I like this entire series. Very helpful, in particular to the junior-most leaders. I’ll be pointing those I know to your blog.

  11. Army Captain

    Great info for all. Thanks Gen Satterfield.

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