Lessons from the Ground- The Stand Up Meeting

(Series Intro) Last fall, we launched Jubilee Ventures in South Bend, IN. The hope was that our work on the ground would inform the way we direct the future of CovEnterprises, and vice versa. We wanted to create learning loops that allow us to not only champion best practices across the denomination but to apply innovative concepts and approaches on the ground.

All that sounds very exciting, but I’m learning that no matter how refined your concept, the work is always harder because it deals in real life (part of the reason we wanted to launch this anyway, to resist trafficking in ideas!). 

Recently, we’ve embraced the standing 5 minute meeting to start most of our work days. As I mentioned in our previous post, this allows us to cover any issues that might come up and plan out our day in an efficient manner (we aren’t prone to rabbit trails if we are literally standing in a circle). But we also see this meeting as a way of keeping tabs on, and building into, the culture of our organization. This is a space to refresh vision and mission, to highlight the values we espouse and chart a new course as needed. 

As an example, we value creating a sense of real family and mutuality as a team. This is hard to do when you add job titles and responsibilities into the mix. But here is a space where we can resist the temptation to pull rank and wrestle with things together. The other day I had on my to-do list a major piece of a marketing push and I asked the team for their feedback on a major question related to that project. In the course of 2 minutes, we talked through the various issues and they all agreed on a certain course of action. That course of action was the exact opposite of what I had chosen in my mind to do. Because we had this stand up meeting, I conceded that I was wrong, the group was right and I changed course. This wasn’t just a better decision, it was a reminder to us all of the kind of team we want to be. Our stand up meeting created the space for such a reminder. 

What about your context? How could you use a stand up meeting to help create culture? Not in a top down, let’s all repeat after me, kind of way, but in a genuine expression of team building and culture creation?

About Adam Gustine

Adam Gustine leads CovEnterprises for Love Mercy Do Justice and the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is also the founder of Jubilee Ventures; an economic incubator in South Bend, IN. He and his wife, Ann, live in South Bend with their three kids.

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