Morning Meetings: 15 Tips to Be Effective

The following Morning Meeting Lean Tips is my view
(from a good deal of experience) and is intended to be a helpful list of guidelines
to be able to hold useful Morning Meetings that engage the workforce and move the facility operations forward.

Let us start with one video I like on Morning Meeting Lean and then let us leave the word to George Hare (Operational Excellence Expert)

# 1 – Morning Meeting Commitment

Before you even start this process ensure that EVERYONE in the organization is aware of the meeting(s) and understands what the process is intended to accomplish.

You as the leader are responsible and accountable for its success and/or failure.

You must COMMIT to this process.

If you aren’t absolutely committed and don’t have the boss’s approval and backing do not start this process.



# 2 – Time and Presence are not Negotiable

Pick a time (preferably before or as close to the start of the shift) and
stick to that time from now on.

It is non-negotiable, that EVERYONE in that particular department/area is there when the meeting is scheduled.



# 3 – Never Postpone the Morning Meeting Lean

You as the leader can never miss or postpone a meeting for any reason.

If you (as the leader) are out for any reason have a qualified backup that can facilitate the meeting in your absence.



# 4 – Everyone Involved

Involve EVERYBODY, leave no one out of this process.

If it is truly important, everybody needs to be in attendance and participate.

You will need to be interactive to draw folks into the process.



# 5 – Good Area and Whiteboards

Have the meeting in the area where the folks work, with standardized whiteboards.

This means you may have more than one meeting each day depending on the size and complexity of the organization.



# 6 – Metrics

Have both overarching plant metrics and work center specific metrics,
customer complaints, etc.

The specific area is responsible for and have the previous days / weeks / months / year to date performance placed on the board (before the meeting) so that two things happen.

(1) Your folks know the information is important enough for YOU to commit to having up to date info available.

(2) Your folks know that the info as part of the process is important. Trust me they will know when you or the info are not up to speed or the info is not up to date.



# 7 – No more than 15 minutes

Make the meeting no longer than 15 minutes,
ensure the meeting starts on time at whatever time you designate and (again)
make it a job requirement to be there on time and to be an active participant.

If it is supposed to start at 7:30 am ensure its starts at 7:30 am (not 7:31 am).

Because 7:31 am becomes 7:32 am or 7:34 am etc. by the end of the week.

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# 8 – Red & Green

Now that you have actual, timely information to disseminate use only red and green markers to note (1) green is at or better than plan or (2) red is below plan.

There is no yellow zone.



# 9 – What went well

After you cover the metrics ask that group for (1) “what went well” yesterday and (2) “what needs improvement”.

The “what went well” is easier to list and you should celebrate successes, acknowledge people, and let the folks know you are appreciative of the good things that are happening.



# 10 – What need improvements

The “what needs improvement” is trickier to manage
as there should only be 3 or so items that the group comes up with to improve as the whole point of this exercise is to fix the process.

So pick items that can be fixed in a day or week at the latest so that folks can see that progress is, in fact, being made.

On longer range more complex systematic fixes to the process commit to the date and report weekly on the progress.



# 11 – Fix what is wrong

Bottom line is make fixing the “what needs improvement” items a priority during the rest of your day so that the folks see there is useful purpose to the meeting.

Make sure this mindset / environment exists in your company.

Do not make this a maintenance only fix it list, this is for process improvement.

There are some maintenance issues that can be brought up in this process but ensure you steer this process to 90% operational improvement tasks.



# 12 – No back of the roomers

You will have to engage the “back of the roomers” who just sit and watch to be an active part of the meeting.

A good way to do that is to (after a while) have guest / rotational meeting leaders.

When you see folks not paying attention, ask them questions about the topic being discussed.

Less engaged folks become more engaged as they know that they have to be leaders on occasion.



#13 – Informal Meetings

Make the meetings fun as well as informational.

Acknowledge when a process changes and results in better performance in creative ways.



# 14 – Be Prepared

To be appropriately prepared for the morning meeting you will have to get representatives from all your departments to have their information available much earlier than they are normally used to as most support groups start at 8 am or later and most operations at 6 am or 7 am.



# 15 – Never give up

  • Good luck
  • Be prepared
  • Have fun,

and never ever give up the job of being the leader and the owner of the process!


Written for what is lean by:

George Hare