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Home » Blog » Business is Like an Airplane Step 5 (Part 4): The Body (Your Overhead & Operations) – The Department Stand-Up Meeting – Teammate Priorities Clarified Daily

Business is Like an Airplane Step 5 (Part 4): The Body (Your Overhead & Operations) – The Department Stand-Up Meeting – Teammate Priorities Clarified Daily

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Do your Department Leaders provide clear visibility for the individuals on their Teams to ensure they are working on the proper priorities for department success?  If you’re not sure, or it’s not systematic within your company, then establishing the Department Stand-Up Meeting inside each of your departments will provide that guidance daily and ensure that all personnel know that they are working on the most important stuff.

It will help the Department Leaders stay aware of their Teammates’ individual priorities and remove any roadblocks to getting them accomplished.

In this Series, we’re reviewing the 6-Step Plan to run your business from Donald Miller’s latest book, How to Grow Your Small Business, and the online platform at

The analogy of an airplane helps describe the 6 Steps and this week, we’re continuing with our fourth installment in Step 5, the Body, Your Overhead & Operations.  In this part of Step 5, Don introduces the third meeting in the Management & Productivity Made Simple Playbook: The Department Stand-Up Meeting.  The primary purpose of the Department Stand-Up Meeting is to ensure that each Teammate of each Department understands what role they play within their department.

Establishing the Department Stand-Up Meeting of the Management & Productivity Made Simple Playbook will reduce your need, as the overall Leader of the company, to try to manage the activities of each individual contributor within each of the Departments.  It establishes a clear method for the Department Leaders to track the individual priorities of their Teammates, receiving and discussing updates on each priority.  This dialog allows Department Leaders to manage their Teammates so that you, as the overall business leader, don’t get bogged down as the company grows.  The Department Stand-Up Meeting Template will ensure the meeting is well-structured and an effective use of everyone’s precious time.

Step 5 – The Body (Your Overhead & Operations) – Teammates with Clear Priorities – The Department Stand-Up Meeting

Do Each of Your Teammates Clearly Understand Their Priorities Each Day?

For most meetings, the Leader sets the agenda and does the pre-work to ensure the meeting is successful.  The Department Stand-Up Meeting flips that norm around, as each Teammate has a responsibility to show up to the Department Stand-Up Meeting with their own individual template filled out.  In the template, each Teammate will list his or her top five priorities.  Obviously, to list their priorities means they must clearly know their priorities!  Unfortunately, in too many organizations, it’s rare that Teammates clearly know their priorities, let alone have them reviewed on a daily basis.  The open communication among department members also helps them work more closely together toward the top priorities of the department.

It’s natural that sometimes priorities might be unclear for individual Team members, particularly as situations change within the business.  The opportunity for each department to stay agile when conditions or overall business priorities shift, is another benefit of the daily Department Stand-Up meeting.

Updates & Next Steps – How Projects are Completed and Everyone Stays in the Know

Once the Department Leaders and their Team members are on the same page regarding departmental and individual priorities, the Department Stand-Up Meeting creates a daily rhythm that does two important things:

      1. Each Teammate shares the latest progress and most recent step completed towards each of the priority items.
      2. Each Teammate identifies the next step on the path to completing each of the priority items.

Few priority items are as simple as a single step.  More often, they are important projects that are made up of a series of steps.  Using the Department Stand-Up Meeting Template to execute the meetings, the Teammates each report to the Department Leaders their most recently completed step and their next step for the priority project.  Identifying the next step is an important way to keep forward progress going, as sometimes big projects can seem daunting if they aren’t broken up into smaller steps.

Overcoming Roadblocks – Department Leaders Can Facilitate Progress for the Team

The final aspect of each Team member’s priority review is to identify what, if anything, is blocking progress on that item.  Whether the Department Leader’s involvement is needed to overcome any roadblocks to their Team’s accomplishment of priorities or not, it’s certainly helpful for the Department Leader to be aware of what might cause delays or limit successful outcomes.  Coordinating activities within the department is easier when the entire Team is aware of other Teammates who need help to complete tasks.  Even more important for the Department Leader is to know when the Team is limited by resources from other departments.  Being aware of those situations during the daily Department Stand-Up Meeting allows the Department Leader to make a timely request from other Department Leaders, as needed, to resolve challenges for their Team members.

You’ll be amazed to discover how using the Department Stand-Up Meeting from the Management & Productivity Made Simple Playbook will engage the Team members of each department.  This daily management opportunity for Department Leaders can remove the need, or temptation, for you, as the overall business Leader, to try to micromanage everyone throughout the company.

business made simple

By creating a formal process for managing departments, it frees you up to lead and scale your company. 

As each Team member identifies the five biggest priorities on their list for their Department Leader, it will be clear to every single Teammate how important he or she is to the success of the department.  Using the Department Stand-Up Meeting Template will ensure that meetings are well-run, and that daily progress is made on the most important departmental projects.  Department Leaders will have daily insight into the activities of their Team and can help remove any roadblocks that are slowing down progress within the department.  The departments will be energized, as will you, by the feeling of knowing that everyone is focused together on important priorities that are being managed systematically across the company.  Each department can be effectively managed to keep the entire Team on the right path towards success.

Final Thoughts

Step 5 from Donald Miller’s book, How to Grow Your Small Business, is the Body – Your Overhead & Operations.

The Department Stand-Up Meeting is the third of the five meetings that make up the Management & Productivity Made Simple Playbook.  Installing the Department Stand-Up Meeting for each of your departments will prevent you from trying to personally manage everyone in the company, which will limit the company’s growth potential. 

Once you have more than 10 or 12 Team members, your ability to effectively manage your growing business bogs down. Even more importantly, each member of your company will establish his or her most important priorities daily, discussing them with the Department Leader, and then acting to complete those priorities.  The template for the Department Stand-Up Meeting is available to download so that you can implement it in your company. After you fill out your information, you will receive the link to a downloadable PDF.

business made simple

Step 5 will ensure the Body of your small business airplane, your Overhead & Operations, can be managed effectively so that it won’t limit the altitude you can achieve.  The biggest part of your Overhead is the people on your airplane, and those people are one of the biggest reasons you have a plane in the first place.  You want your business to be able to fly them far and high, soaring to new heights of success.

Next week, we’ll introduce the fourth meeting in the Management & Productivity Made Simple Playbook, the Personal Priority Speed Check, which sets up your Department Leaders to coach their Team members by providing the direction and feedback Teammates need to be sure they are working on the right things each week.