Brian Scudamore

This is a guest post from Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of O2E Brands, the 100M+ company group of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, You Move Me, Wow 1 Day Painting, and Shack Shine

Two researchers at Baylor University recently performed a fascinating empirical study that came to a surprising conclusion.

The best time to take a break is in the mid-morning--not the afternoon.

According to the reports of study participants, breaks taken later in the day were less effective, as they recovered less energy.

This study poses an interesting question: "What should we do during our mid-morning break?"

Here's what every one of my 200-plus employees does at 10:55 a.m. every day.

For the past 15 years, everyone in our company, O2E (Ordinary to Exceptional) Brands, which includes 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and other companies, has taken a seven-minute, standing-room-only break.

We call this the daily huddle (see below to learn how we do it), and it has been absolutely key to helping our company scale to $150 million-plus in revenue. It's so critical that I recommend it for every business or organization.

If you add up the cost of these breaks based on employee salaries, we've essentially paid millions of dollars for this daily routine over the years.

That's a serious investment, but it's been paid back to us many times over.

Here's how:

  • Every huddle saves hundreds of emails and eliminates long hours in less-productive meetings. The huddles get everyone the same page. Also, everyone can connect immediately afterward to get quick questions answered on any issue.
  • Huddles build our culture. They are fun and they connect everyone in our company in a way that technology still can't beat.
  • Huddles make everyone aware of bottlenecks so they can be solved afterward.
  • Huddles keep us focused on our key metrics and goals.

Huddles aren't new. They are indispensable habits for teams everywhere: from Goldman Sachs, Ritz Carlton, and Johnson & Johnson to the assembly floors of Dell Computer to the Oval Office of the White House. John D. Rockefeller famously had lunch with his top team every day.

We have a unique format that I invite you to copy.

10:53 -- The bell rings and people gather.

Every huddle has a trained moderator who keeps everything moving along. The moderator rings the bell at 10:53. That precise time reinforces the idea that every minute counts.

Huddles are mandatory, and there is no excuse for being late.

10:55 -- People volunteer to share good news. 


The moderator asks the crowd if anyone has good news. A few people volunteer to share positive updates like:

  • New sales
  • Goals achieved
  • Individual accomplishments

Every piece of good news gets a clap. Good news and good thoughts help productivity and get people pumped up.

10:57 -- People share new strategic directions.

When there is a big announcement or update in the company, we share it here. People from all positions in all departments share.

10:58 -- The moderator shares key metrics.

At O2E, we use open-book management, the system pioneered by Jack Stack which allows everyone in the company access to the company's financials.

Sharing key financial metrics during the huddles helps in two ways.

First, everyone can see their direct contribution to the bottom line. This facilitates employees working together to cut costs and doing whatever they can to bring in more revenue.

Second, it makes sure that nothing goes wrong for too long. When something begins to slip, it gets brought up at the huddle, people get called out on it, and everyone starts looking for solutions.

We share metrics that are key to our company's bottom line such as:

  • Online traffic
  • Sales calls completed
  • Jobs completed
  • Revenue thermometers (how we're doing against monthly and yearly goals)

Once a week, we do a deeper dive into the numbers so everyone understands the metrics and how they can contribute.

10:59 -- One department shares updates and challenges.

Every department gives updates on a rotating basis. This breaks down departmental silos and ensures we're all rowing together.

Departments share goals, updates, opportunities, needs, and things they're looking forward to. People also share challenges or frustrations so they can be brought to light and others can help.

11:01 -- We do a unique cheer.

For every huddle, we have a unique cheer led by the moderator. Sometimes, someone shares a poem. Sometimes, it's a reflection. Other times, we do a cheer just like you'd see from a sports team. Every time, we have a lot of fun with it.

11:02 -- The huddle ends.

Immediately afterward, many people connect with each other and talk through the issues, or simply offer congratulations.

Here's how to do your own huddle!

Interested in copying this technique at your company? Follow our process and let us know how you did it!

If you ever want to see a cheer in-person, come visit us. We're located at:

The Junktion - 887 Great Northern Way
Vancouver, BC
Canada