Hybrid Huddlin' Guiding Trio

As one of the more recent additions to my menu of Video Calls That Sell 'modules', I've noted a current trend affecting Sales huddles at the moment.

Before I illuminate that, it's worth noting generally what they entail.

A kind of tentacle of this century's software development 'agile' movement. A 'huddle' being their label for the quasi-impromptu code team meeting. Initially for specific issue resolution. Latterly also for general catch-up and news share, often semi-scheduled daily.

The name seemingly taken from sport teams leaning (term used deliberately, software vets) in together, arms around each other in a circle before play or during a pause in game time.

The term and activity in this form didn't take long to reach tech salesteams.

Adoption pace quickened by collaboration apps adding in 'huddle' buttons. To explicitly convene their instant, ad hoc presence.

Before entering mainstream, I myself witnessed these take place IRL.

Back in the mid- to late-90s. I spent quite the time selling to telesales outfits. They weren't yet universally called call centres. Although boiler room was a known warning.

I would see a team leader gather their charges. Headsets unplugged, all standing, usually at the end of one of the line of desks. Supervisor to deliver a rapid-fire five minutes of spontaneous focus reminder and peroration.

The contemporary switch I'm noting is a consequence in part of employment contracts being amended to stipulate a hybrid working balance. A specified number or range of days split between home and office working.

As I can attest from popping into city centre coffee shops, on Mondays and Fridays, England's towns are drained of white collars. Overall footfall lower than those days of the 2010s.

WFH enshrined as a right. An entitlement now spooking both bosses and anyone involved in proactive pitching.

How to ensure productivity doesn't stagnate, or worse, a live and loud leadership conundrum.

One answer, involves the humble huddle.

Flashback to embracing internal video meetings.

I'm being asked to help shape, refine and add to such forums. Including purposely for days when perhaps most are 'out of office'.

Even for some organisational types where these are more ingrained than others - for instance if you've a culture of HQ-to-branch dispersal or embrace 'remote first' - there's still progress to be gained from looking at them afresh for 2023.

I maintain a list currently with over thirty proven headline huddle sections. Many with multiple sub-heading choices besides.

So, want to get more out of your own multi-location Sales set-up? Acknowledging that there's no one-size-fits-all solution, here's my entry trio of vibes that I've already seen help make these now more productive and lasting;

Key up-front, is that these are not mere replication of the normal, regular, formal internal get together. A worthwhile sales huddle is not a traditional team sales meeting taken online.

They are two different beasts.

For instance if you take an agenda from a Sales Meeting of the past, you can likely strike almost all of the numbered items from it. Leaving say, one timely issue which can form the basis of your huddle.

This brings the next guiding principle. One manifestation of this difference is in duration.

I struggle to envisage any sales huddle that lasts longer than half-an-hour. And really, they often ought be less than half that length too.

You needn't be inflexible on timings. Vary the five-minuter with the twenty.

And for third framing feature, I would remind that such gathering can/should have at least one section which is not a manager-to-workers one-way.

Beyond the simplest template of a general round-the-room, for but just one example, consider the classic wail of the anti-Remote exec. That people no longer bump into each other to gain an idea anew with big impact. Such serendipity with a little effort can be given chance to flower online.

And you won't need a forced virtual watercooler to let it flourish.

Don't let it be dismissed as mere gossip factory either. Try more often than not to build-in a short workshop style task. The best format being what the trade call dyadic. Two people. Solving a puzzle together. Generating options. Finding a favourite.

When you engineer such breakouts, make them snappy, allow for a mini bit extra in the allotted slot [eight minutes appears the present-day limit], and swap around the twosomes over time.

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