Standing Together: Why the Regional Partnership Team Spends 15 Minutes Together Every Morning

By: Vanessa Hurtig on August 1st, 2019

Standing Meeting Celebrates Company Culture

If you show up at the Regional Partnership’s office between 8:45-9 a.m., you will not find team members at their desks, refilling their coffee for the morning or preparing for a meeting. Instead, you will find our entire team standing in a circle talking about priorities, aligning calendar appointments and discussing items important to our culture. That’s just who we are. We call this our Standing Meeting.

For us, Standing Meeting is an opportunity for us to look our teammates in the eyes, say good morning, share important announcements and start our day. We connect about the day ahead of us and iron out any wrinkles that may exist in our planning. We also have themes for our weekday Standing Meeting including History and Culture Monday, Talking Points Tuesday, Scorecard Wednesday and Thankful Thursday. We don’t host Standing Meetings on Friday because it’s our one day a week to catch up from the past week and prepare for the next week ahead.

It has taken us several years to refine the structure and function of our Standing Meeting, but it now plays a significant role in knitting us together as a team and driving clarity across the organization.  While it is only 15 minutes, strictly observed, it is a surprisingly important step in creating a connection between team members; a critical element to engagement and team performance.

In this blog, I will review the daily theme of each Standing Meeting and discuss why it is important to our team. 

History and Culture Monday

After going around the human circle and highlighting key appointments and priorities for the day, we set aside 5-7 minutes on Mondays to discuss an item related to history and culture. Typically led by our President and CEO, John Sampson, these brief glimpses back remind us where we came from, how far we’ve come and what’s possible when we live out the principles that have built the Regional Partnership and the region. These insights instill a sense of pride and familiarity with the organization in our team members, which builds their confidence when speaking on behalf of the organization with a new team member or stakeholder. 

Topics we have covered include the founding board of directors, the adoption of the Code of Ethics by the local economic organization council (LEDO), lessons learned from key site selectors, the founding of Vision 2020, creation of the Mayors and Commissioners Caucus, landing $20 million from the Lilly Endowment for the Talent Initiative, creation of the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority and winning the $42 million Regional Cities Initiative grant and many more. If you’d like to hear John Sampson personally address some of these stories, I’d encourage you to listen to/watch his interview with Jon Myers.

We also use this time to celebrate key events in each other’s lives—work anniversaries, birthdays, engagements and more—and to support each other through difficult times of loss or health concerns. 

Talking Points Tuesday

On Tuesdays, our Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Communications Kate Virag leads us through compiling our top 3-4 talking points of the week. Every team member interacts with stakeholders on a daily basis and can use the opportunity to highlight key messages so everyone is aware and aligned. This has driven clarity and consistency not only in our messages but in our appreciation of the accomplishments or challenges of our team and individual team members each week.  

Scorecard Wednesday

On Wednesdays, we review progress against our scorecard, which tracks economic growth indicators for the region and our organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs).

This includes the three Vision 2030 goals of population growth, increasing per capita income against the national average and education/credential attainment as well as key regional economic indicators from the LEDOs. Most of the attention is given to the Regional Partnership’s KPIs given that these are what we are most directly accountable for in driving impact to the other areas.

These are organizational metrics, not owned by any single department or person. Through this exercise, we can learn if one area is suffering and we can consider how we could re-direct resources or re-prioritize our work in order to make movement on our goals and KPIs.   

If we are making great progress against one of the KPIs or receive positive news on the region's movement toward the Vision 2030 goals, we take this opportunity to celebrate that moment together.

Most recently, we have begun reviewing how our individual scorecards contribute to impact the overall Scorecard to reinforce our personal impact on the mission.  Once again, this is instrumental in clarity of roles and alignment to organizational metrics and contributes to engagement by each team member.  In reporting to fellow team members, it causes us all to think about how our daily work contributes to and aligns to making a difference in our collective results.

Thankful Thursday

We end our week of Standing Meetings with Thankful Thursday. After describing our meetings and priorities for the day, we take some time to reflect on and thank each other, recognize our partners and stakeholders and for contributions made to the team or to voice personal victories in our own lives. 

Voicing a Thankful Thursday comment is not mandatory, which makes it even more thoughtful and meaningful when someone pipes up with a comment.  Research has shown that words of appreciation in the workplace have a direct impact on job satisfaction, happiness and engagement. The purpose and outcome of Thankful Thursday Standing Meeting is much more than just making everyone feel good. This is about appreciating each other for the work we do to support one another day-in and day-out. For us, it really matters.

Tying to Vision and Mission

We learned on a regional leadership trip to Denver that the vision for the region lies in the hearts and minds of the team members. Our vision is that working together, Northeast Indiana is a magnet for the best businesses and talent and is recognized as one of the nation’s most prosperous regions.

Our Standing Meeting process is one demonstration of how we are “working together” in order to drive our region forward to that vision and achieve our tenacious goals as a team. We know our stakeholders rely on us to wake up every day thinking about and driving our mission forward to build, market and sell Northeast Indiana to increase business investment. 

Standing meeting is where the rubber meets the road of moving this region forward one day at a time. Together.

Categories & Tags Business Innovation culture