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A look back on 2014 - Sunrise Meetings

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I have spent quite a bit of time this year working on Sunrise Meetings.

These are of particular interest to businesses that have expanded, or changed, rapidly during the past three years. Growing pains are inevitable. How do you ensure that your staff work on the right things, at the right time?

Sunrise Meetings are particularly effective because they get the right people together; people who can make a difference. Their remit is to review how the business is functioning.

Sunrise Meetings, are, as the name suggests,early gatherings. They have been seen as a 'shop floor' thing, but work equally well for administrative or senior management too.

Think about how a plane flies.  An important job for the pilot, before he/she even takes off, is to take into account the myriad variables that need to be managed, to keep the aircraft flying in a straight line. But don’t worry! Pilots are good at this, they are well trained!

Well, it’s the same for a business. Each morning sees the arrival of another journey, with all the challenges – and opportunities – which that entails. The business managers, like the aircrew, face all manner of sudden squalls, turbulence and diversions. A Sunrise Meeting can help a business to navigate, to plot a steady course ahead.

To construct an effective Sunrise Meeting you need to review your key business processes, and devise a simple set of questions, for the attendees. The answers should, preferably, be a 'yes' or a 'no'. This will focus people's attention on whether that process is right or not. We are trying to avoid any ambiguity here!

These questions will most likely - indeed they should - require preparation. I have witnessed so many Sunrise Meetings where people just turn up and give bland answers that don’t lead to action or decision. A small amount of assessing a process, in order to give feedback, is how we check if a process is on track or not.

The gatherings also helps engender accountability: The people responsible for particular processes have to report on results. Internal communication and information management is also aided, greatly. I’m a great fan of face-to-face (though that doesn’t mean face-in-face!) It is far more effective than just submitting a report. And remember, people don’t have to be at meetings in person. Conference phone calls, Skype, are all options if you operate in different geographic locations.

The main benefit of Sunrise Meetings is keeping business processes on course. After all, good days lead to good weeks and eventually to record breaking years.

As I said earlier, most businesses have some kind of daily meetings. My question to you is this, could yours benefit from a review, and beefing up, as I have described in this blog post?


If the answer is yes, then perhaps that is a good place for you to start your 2015 Continuous Improvement activities.


Giles Johnston
...optimising MRP systems and re-engineering business processes