Do You Hold Morning Briefings Like a TV Star?

If you are of a certain age you will have Hill Street Blues burned into your memory.  One of the biggest TV shows of the 80’s.  It was horribly schmaltzy.  Admit it, you watched it

Now you might be wondering, what that has this got to do with running a service operation?

At the start of each episode there was an early morning briefing for all the officers; remember?

How would it be if every morning you ran a staff briefing?  Set yourself a fixed agenda, and ran through the things that matter, maybe:

  • Backlogs
  • Staffing levels
  • New marketing initiatives
  • Performance against plan
  • Any other business

Whatever is important in your world

It might sound like a big investment, but it will take 10 minutes, force you to be clear about what is important, foster communication and drive accountability.  Can you afford not to?

For bonus points, do it around a whiteboard, then you can write down any actions, and they will be there the following morning, just in case anybody forgets, heaven forbid

And the best bit?  You get to utter the immortal line

“Let’s be careful out there”

How good would that be?

Read another opinion


  1. I’m of that age when Hill Street Blues was one of the top rated shows and I personally thought it was one of the better written shows on TV at the time. So when I served as the general manager of The Henry – Autograph Collection in Dearborn, MI , we took turns leading the morning briefing, ala Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, announcing the occupancies of the night before and three day forecast, VIP’s and groups and local events happening that week, as well as the guest comments received. I really do believe it made a difference in keeping our team involved and engaged in keeping focused on delivering an exceptional guest experience. The only difference was the change in the tagline. We ended each of our briefings with, “Let’s be GREAT out there.”

    • James Lawther says:

      Thanks for your comment Bill, I’ve seen it work in call centres, factories and shops, glad the same is true of hotels

      I suppose “lets be careful out there” sends the wrong message to your hotel staff, unless of course you stay in hotels in my price range.


  2. Hello James

    Never did watch Hill Street Blues and yet I get the point that you are making.

    We, human beings, excel at connecting and aligning with one another through speaking and listening. What amazes me is how rare this kind of talking and listening is in the business organisation. Look behind the screen and you might just come across a belief: getting together as a group to speak, listen, discuss, share is a waste of time and money. So it just does not get done. The modern organisation does not seriously grasp the question: what makes a tribe a tribe? what makes a team a team? what creates alignment, workability and performance?

    All the best

  3. Hi James,
    I remember that my Dad was a great fan of this show and I do remember the line. For me, I think it was a couple of years too early for me to get interested in it. I, like Maz, am fascinated and surprised that this simple type of behaviour does not happen more often in organisations at the start of a new day, new shift etc.

    For me the finger of blame has to point towards the team leaders and management for not implementing this simple idea. Failure to meet, connect and communicate is responsible for much of the them and us culture that exists in may organisations. I believe a small measure like this can go a long way towards creating a real ‘us’.


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