Thursday, March 26, 2009

Huddle Up

So now that I'm back from the David Baker creative director seminar, I come back with a great appreciation for Third Degree and our culture.  Kind of like when you come back from vacation and are instantly greeted with that smell of home when you walk in the door.  It may not be a great smell, but it's yours.  So my key takeaway... we're not too stinky.


When we were discussing agency culture at the seminar, I mentioned our agency's practice of the daily huddle (that, and our brand book for employees), how it helps our team all get on the same page every day – and a lot of other creative and art directors at the seminar really perked up.  So I dug my huddle clipboard out of my luggage during the break and they sort of flocked to it.  Okay, like a mini-flock.


It was really funny because quite a few of them took photos (with their iPhones of course) of the front and the back of this cute and orderly but otherwise undramatic item.  Well, that speck of some sort of food (maybe brownie) stuck to the back isn't very orderly.  Actually kind of gross.  But, if you've ever been up close and personal with my tidbit encrusted computer keyboard, that should be no surprise.


How the huddle works is every morning at the same time our departments huddle up.  9:00 am for the creative department.   The huddles take no longer than 10 minutes, or otherwise they would become a hassle and no one would want to do it.  There are three steps: 

1.) share one top priority for the day (yes, everyone has 5 million things to do, but just pick one to mention to the group, it really does help give you clarity), 

2.) share one "stuck" but then identify who in the group can help you, and take the problem out of the huddle afterwards (there is no solving of problems in the huddle, just identifying them)

3.) share one piece of news, can be personal or agency-related (this is where we can get a little silly or offtrack, but for the most part we still keep it focused)

And a final rule, you must write down what you are going to share before the meeting.  So you're not just making it up as you go.  Hence, the clipboards.

Serve It Up!

So this is not one of those cheesy stock photos where everyone's hands are in a circle.  That's a real life cheesy photo of our creative department huddle.  At the end of the huddle we chant "serve it up, serve it up, way up!" and throw our hands up in the air.  Since it's sick-season, sometimes we try not to actually touch each other.  That, and most of us aren't really touchy feely.  In fact, some of us don't like to be touched at all.  Okay, that's just me.  And I think Daniel.  And probably Liz and Brian, too.  Okay, we have issues.  But gosh darnit, we know what those issues are – because rain or shine we huddle up every day.

We learned about the huddle from Patrick Thean whose a consultant that does these Gazelles business seminars all over the country.  We caught up with Patrick a year after we first heard him speak, and I think he was really surprised that a.) we actually instituted the huddle and were still doing it after a year and, b.) that we did these nifty clipboards that he hadn't seen anyone do before, I was sure to let him keep one for himself (one without brownie stuck to it, of course).

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