Improve Communications with a Daily Check-In

After reading Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni, I changed my meeting schedule to follow the meeting format presented in the book. The change was beneficial. It opened us up not just to more useful meetings, but also to more effective communication and teamwork.

“Effective teamwork begins and ends with communications.” – Mike Krzyzewski

Of the four meetings in Lencioni’s structure, the one that impacted us most was the Daily Check-In.

  • The Daily Check-in is a short meeting set for the same time each day. Its purpose is to provide a daily forum for information exchange. Lencioni specifically designs it to be for sharing schedules and activities.

Particularly important for us, as a geographically dispersed team, was the opportunity to touch base with each other. We verbally communicated and personally connected each day. As a result, we were better aligned and had a stronger sense of belonging.

The Check-In was structured around what we called The 4 What’s:

  • What happened yesterday that needs to be reported?
  • What is happening today that needs to be communicated?
  • What are my top priorities for the day?
  • What help do I need?

The answers were short and focused. With a round robin format, all team members spoke to apprise others of what was going on and request support as required. Any points that needed further clarification or more depth were either addressed on the spot or sidelined for follow up. If sidelined for follow up, calendaring occurred during the meeting.

The Daily Check-In I led with my team followed the Daily Check-In led by my boss, our CEO. Many on my management team followed my Daily Check-In with one of their own. This cascade of Daily Check-Ins opened us up to regular communication from the top down. In our culture, it was an important way to exchange information, share priorities and rally around our shared purpose and team priorities.

How might a Daily Check-In serve your team or your culture?

For more information on the Daily Check-In and the other three meetings (weekly tactical, monthly strategic or ad hoc strategic and quarterly off-site), I recommend reading Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni.