When an organization starts using the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS® for short) the EOS Level 10 Meeting ™ is one of the first tool they get comfortable with. The clear structure and the proven commitment to a regular timed meeting are part of that. Of course, the fact that a properly run Level 10 Meeting is the first step towards real Traction® helps.
But a perfect Level 10 Meeting for C-level executive teams is only part of the equation. The L10 only works like it’s supposed to when it’s being used at every level of the organization. That means every one in your organization should be part of a weekly L10.
From the person making the 10 Year Target™ for the company all the way to the person that sweeps the factory floor.
So How Do You Push Your Level 10 Down?
Step 1: Make Sure Your Leadership Team Has The EOS Level 10 Meeting On Lockdown
I shy away from using the word “master” when it comes to EOS tools. The Entrepreneurial Operating System is a system of tools that you can almost always learn to use more effectively.
It’s a lot like practicing a martial art or a musical instrument. Sure, you can get to the point where you are very, very good. But mastery means you don’t have anything left to learn, and most practitioners of either will tell you there’s always something to learn.
Anywho, I use the word “lockdown” instead. You’re comfortable enough that you can step away and be certain that it won’t go to chaos the moment you shift attention.
If you don’t get your leadership team EOS Level 10 Meetings on lockdown they can start to slip. You get lazy. You shift your attention to other matters and suddenly you’re skipping half the agenda.
That’s how companies get stuck on these “flavor of the week” business ideas. They lose commitment, not because they are lazy, but because they shift attention before it’s on lockdown.
What counts as “lockdown” in my book? Here’s a quick checklist.
- The L10 Meeting is very week at the same time, same place, and with the same people.
- You start and end on the dot.
- Participation is active and respectful.
- You effectively capture, but don’t discuss, issues during the reporting section.
- You are solving your issues efficiently.
- You are averaging 8.0 or higher for your Level 10 Meeting scores.
Step 2: Get Each Department Doing Departmental Level 10 Meetings
O.K. so you you’ve got your leadership team L10 on lockdown. You know the goal is have the Level 10 Meetings used at every.
But, if using EOS has taught you anything, it’s that taking things in steps is how to build traction.
So, it stands to reason that your roll out of the EOS Level 10 Meeting should be done incrementally as well. Telling the entire organization to suddenly adopt the L10 would cause chaos and even negativity.
Instead you should roll the L10 out by department. Your leadership team should consist of a CMO, CFO, CEO, and other departmental C-level execs, each with a well defined list of responsibilities. (For more on that, check out our guide to building a solid Accountability Chart.)
Task each member of your leadership with holding an EOS Level 10 Meeting within their department every week. Work with them to determine precisely who is involved in that meeting and why.
Every organization is different, but generally you want the top level decision makers in each department. Remember, we are aiming for 4-7 managers, with an absolute maximum of 10 people.
It won’t always be easy to choose who joins. But, if it were easy, they wouldn’t pay you big bucks.
Step 3: Check In With Your Leaders
This shouldn’t come as a surprise.
An organization that uses the Entrepreneurial Operating System knows that “Lead, Manage, and Hold People Accountable” is one the core functions of any member of the leadership team.
Specifically though, you want to make sure that the EOS Level 10 Meetings are going as planned. Just because your top level L10’s are running like clockwork doesn’t mean that every department will have the same success.
Here are some basic issues that a team can run in to while pushing the L10 down (and how to address them):
People aren’t attending
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised.
Members of organizations that are struggling to grow are used to seeing lots of different changes come down the pipeline. Often, they ignore those changes, assuming that if they keep doing their job, all will be well.
EOS isn’t about just keeping your head down and doing your job. EOS is about doing big things.
There are three reasons someone should miss an L10: they’re sick, they’re on vacation, or an act of god.
The people at the departmental EOS Level 10 Meeting were chosen because they’re the leadership team of the department. If they can’t be relied upon to work on growing the department, they may not be the right people.
Be kind. Be understanding. Be unmoving in your assertions that attendance is non-negotiable.
The meeting time keeps changing
This an easy one to slip on. People are busy. Having (what they see as) one more meeting on the books is a pain. People have other commitments, responsibilities, etc.
But, moving the meeting means undermining the commitment to attacking issues week by week. What good is saying, “you have 1 week to finish this,” if you won’t see them for 10 days?
Your leadership team is going to be especially stressed by this as they will have not one, but two EOS Level 10 Meetings to attend that week. But, this is the commitment they have signed up for, the commitment that means the difference between a company that plateaus and one that breaks through the ceiling.
To-dos arent getting done / issues aren’t getting solved
Now, this is going to be your hardest issue to tackle, most likely.
Why? It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason for this. It could be one of a dozen different things causing your team to falter.
In the first few months, missing to-do’s and struggling with the IDS™ process is normal. Your C-level execs took some time to get comfortable with the system, and so will each level of your organization. That’s fine.
If you’re seeing problems in the beginning, be firm but understanding. Let the relevant people know that it’s a process that will take time to get used to, but one you expect them to succeed at.
However, if the problem continues, you may have a difficult conversation in your future.
One of the top reasons that a departmental L10 Meeting struggles is that the person leading simply shouldn’t be. Some people simply aren’t cut out to lead a meeting according to the strict L10 Agenda. That isn’t a failing. It’s just their style.
If a team is consistently struggling with the L10 at a departmental level, talk with the person responsible for running the meeting. Let them know you are an asset to them. And, let them know that it’s O.K. if they’d rather not lead the meeting, but just be a part of it instead.
Leading the L10 isn’t related to leading the department. They shouldn’t have to feel like losing control of the L10 makes them not a leader. It’s common for larger organization to even employ full time L10 leaders who run every L10 in the business.
Step 4: Repeat
Running a business on EOS is all about making the process as natural as possible.
You repeat the Level 10s at the departmental level until it feels as natural and organic as turning a computer on before typing.
Then, when the departmental L10 is on lockdown, you repeat the rollout process. By the time you reach the people on the ground floor, the rollout should be smooth sailing.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.