The morning JOLT.

When I first entered the field of traffic management, the agency I joined held a production meeting first thing every Monday morning. All employees were required to attend. As our workload (and staff) grew, so did the length of the meeting.

At one point, just for the sake of argument, I calculated the number of potential billable hours being lost during the Monday morning meeting. I was amazed to learn that we were losing nearly $2,000, each week, talking about deadlines that were obsolete by the time we left the conference room.

At yet another agency, our team preferred a twice-weekly format (Monday and Friday); again, we lost an exorbitant amount of potentially billable dollars.

In more recent years, I’ve learned of one agency that’s moved to a daily production meeting called “JOLT.” Not to be confused with the carbonated soft drink of the 1980’s.

Pure genius. [The meeting format, not the drink.]

Each morning, at 8:43 a.m. — an odd time so everyone has to pay attention to the clock — 25+ employees gather in the Art Studio. The President (or another team leader) announces, “It’s 8:43!” and everyone hushes. One by one, employees run down their own respective “to do lists” for the day and discuss what’s needed of other team members, if/when they’ll be out of the office, etc. Conversations requiring more than one or two sentences are held immediately after the meeting, which wraps promptly at 9:00 a.m. If someone rambles, during his/her time to talk, other team members say, “That’s something to chat about after JOLT,” and the next employee speaks.

Within a matter of mere minutes, everyone in the room has an accurate picture of the agency’s workload for the day. And, only a few minutes of potentially billable hours are lost!

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