When running a business, there is a thought that financials should only apply to the “higher-ups” in a company, while everyone else should execute on the recommended strategy, no questions asked.
The problem with this methodology, though, is that team members rarely feel personally responsible for revenue, nor are they empowered to make changes to move the needle towards meeting specific goals. Every team member should be responsible for the company’s success, and feel like what they do matters in the long run.
So how do we get every team member to feel both responsible and empowered to own and talk about results? How do you get your team to work together to solve departmental problems?
One option is to move away from the old way of doing things (the “we say, you do”) and towards a more transparent process in which team members feel responsible for the department’s (and company’s) success. An easy way to implement this idea of ownership is through team huddles and DOR boards.
Team Huddles, DOR Boards, and How They Work
At One Click, we use a DOR (Departmental Operating Report) board along with team huddles to empower and motivate team members. Adapted from Zingerman’s, a huddle is an interactive team meeting where the team discusses metrics on a DOR board.
These huddles are not a one-person-speaking-at-the-team type of meeting, but rather a time when every team member reports their specific “line,” or metric from the board. The tone can be casual, but it is extremely important that each team member actively participates, whether that’s asking questions or sharing obstacles they are facing.
The DOR board itself displays specific metrics that the department tracks. These metrics are number-based, with anywhere from 8-25 metrics on the board. The board should be large enough to display all the metrics (we use a white board) and must include a line for each number. Each line reports a metric and an acceptable range, and belongs to one team member.
Every week, the board metrics are updated, and the team will meet for its huddle. Each metric has a goal, and updated metrics are written in green (beat the target), black (right on target), or red (failed to meet the target) on the board. During the huddle, the line owner (the team member who is responsible for that metric) will report on their metric and explain why the goal was or was not met for the week.
Why This Methodology?
From building responsibility to encouraging team problem solving, team huddles and DOR boards have proved to be incredibly beneficial. Not only do they engage the entire team, but they’re also a time for everyone to talk about what’s going on in the department. Ultimately, DOR boards and huddles build responsibility, promote continued learning, encourage team problem solving, and ensure your department stays on track to meet success.
Each team member begins to build responsibility by owning a line on the DOR board. When given a line, the team member is expected to update the board weekly and talk to the team about what is happening in the department relating to that goal.
As the weeks go on and the more huddles you have, the more comfortable team members begin to feel when talking about their lines. This is the really exciting part! When digging into why the goal was or was not hit, other team members in the huddle start to gain a deeper understanding of each individual metric. Suddenly, individuals are able to have meaningful conversations about topics that stretch beyond their day-to-day responsibilities, and can effectively drive change across entire departments and eventually, the entire company.
Another benefit of using team huddles and DOR boards is that team members are reminded weekly about metrics that are important to how your department functions. Just like anything, if you don’t practice consistently, it’s easy to forget what a certain acronym means, or how you find a certain metric.
For example, let’s say Tony works in the marketing department as a videographer. He probably isn’t going to be the person tracking ROAS (return on ad spend) from pay per click Google ads. But because he hears the line owner talking about this metric weekly, Tony now understands a little bit more about ROAS, why it may be up or down, and why it’s important to the marketing department’s revenue. And most importantly, Tony will begin to understand how his work may impact ROAS.
Group Problem Solving
After the team member is done explaining the number, the rest of the team can ask questions and provide suggestions. This promotes cross team collaboration and problem solving.
For example, let’s say that for a specific week, Kendall’s metric was not hit, and she explains what the issue might be. After she is done explaining, other team members may step up and offer new suggestions or action items to help Kendall raise the metric so that it is within range of the goal. In many ways, it’s a little bit like a quick consultation in which people can provide a bit of insight. Any action items that surface during the meeting are noted, and an owner is assigned to report back on the progress of the action plan during the next meeting.
Staying on Track to Hit Goals
It can be difficult to stay on top of every important metric in a department. If you forget to check a certain metric for a couple of weeks, that metric could slip dramatically. DOR boards and team huddles help prevent this from happening.
Because DOR board are updated weekly, they make it pretty obvious when the team is missing their targets. During each huddle, you not only see this week’s number, but you can also see trends in previous weeks, as all the numbers live on the board for multiple weeks or months (we make quarterly DOR boards). If a number is red (meaning it’s not within goal range), team members will discuss next steps to actively improve the number. This, in turn, helps the department stay on track to hit quarterly and yearly goals.
In any company, it’s important for all team members to know which metrics are important for their department’s success. Through DOR board and team huddles, each person feels like they are important to the team, and that they can have an impact on improving company results. Not only does this empower team members to own specific metrics, but it also encourages them to help others who might be facing roadblocks.
Angie Stocklin is COO and Co-Founder of One Click.