After starting EOS® a lot of people think that once they have downloaded the EOS L10 Meeting Agenda™ that they’re good to go. The agenda certainly helps, but if you want to use the Entrepreneurial Operating System® to its full effect, you need to learn to use the Level 10 Meeting Agenda correctly.
(This is part 1 of a 2 part article. Click here to skip to part 2)
The EOS Toolbox™ metaphor is an apt one. Sure, if you have a toolbox you could, theoretically, fix a car. But, if you don’t know how to use those tools, you’re mostly going to just frustrate yourself. And maybe lose a finger or two.
That’s why I’ve put together a quick 2-part guide on how to use the EOS L10 Meeting Agenda to full effect. I’m not going to lie to you. These articles alone aren’t going to be some magic pill that make the L10 Meetings go perfectly. But, take 5 minutes out of your day to read this, and you’ll be on the path to success.
First Things First: The EOS L10 Agenda
If you aren’t familiar with the Level 10 Meeting Agenda, this article may feel like a bit much. That’s OK. I’ve got some further reading linked at the bottom that will help you put this article in context.
Whether you’re familiar with the L10 or not the agenda below should give you a quick refresher / introduction as well as a guide to actually using the L10 correctly.
Time: 5 Minutes
Description: Each member shares their best professional and personal news. 1 of each.
Objective: Build trust. Build Community.
The Segue and the Conclusion are the sections of the Level 10 Meeting that my clients tend to want to skip at first. A lot of teams start forming the habit to save time / make up for people being late or leaving early. Or sometimes, they just don’t think the Segue is valuable.
Neither of these is a good excuse.
First, if your team isn’t capable of dedicating 90 minutes a week to the betterment of the company, that’s a problem. Showing up on time and being ready to rock and roll the second the meeting starts is a critical aspect of the Level 10 Meeting. We’re not just starting good business practices, we’re forming good habits for efficiency as well.
Beyond that, this 5 minute segue isn’t just killing time and saying “hi”. This is the time where a group of individuals maintains the relationships that makes them a team. Sharing the business best keeps people up to date, sure, but it also serves a greater purpose. This business best reminds the team members that every member is out there accomplishing big things every week. It gives you a good reason to respect your colleagues.
The personal best then reminds you that this isn’t just the CFA, this is a mother, father, friend, whatever. This is a person who has a life beyond the walls of this company, one they are willing to share with you.
That might sound irrelevant to building a better business. But if you can’t see the person as more than just a job title, how can you expect them to do the same for you?
Time: 5 Minutes
Description: Each person updates the team on relevant EOS L10 Scorecard™ numbers.
Objective: Gather predictive data. Plan for the future.
First off, you need an EOS Scorecard to have a proper L10 Meeting. If you don’t have one, follow our step-by-step guide to build yours.
Now that you’ve got a Scorecard, you need to use it properly in conjunction with the Level 10 Meeting Agenda. That means doing 2 things:
- Sticking to reporting only and
- Capturing Scorecard Issues
These are really two sides of the same coin. During the Scorecard section you are supposed to be reporting on your numbers and nothing else. If something comes up though, people tend to want to talk about it or explain it on the spot.
In a business that runs on the Entrepreneurial Operating System something that needs to be discussed is an Issue. And Issues get solved during the IDS Process™.
When your team members have an issue with their Scorecard numbers, you capture the issue by writing it on the board and wait to talk about it later. The only, and I mean ONLY thing someone should be asking here is “what is the target number? What was your actual number?”
Time: 5 Minutes
Description: Each member reports on the progress of their Rocks™
Objective: Keep track of long term projects.
I’ve written quite a bit about Rocks on this blog. They’re an amazing tool that I apply not only to my business (and dozens of other businesses that I help), but to my personal life as well. I won’t waste your time here talking about how to set good Rocks or how to achieve your Rocks. What I will say is that if they aren’t tracked properly during the Level 10 Meeting, your chances of achieving your Rocks drops dramatically.
While all Accountability is important, keeping track of your Rocks is paramount. So how do you do that?
Each person that is responsible for a Rock (remember, only 1 person can own a Rock. If more than 1 person is responsible, no one is) reports with one of three updates:
- On Track: This means the Rock is going as planned
- Off Track: This means there is a snag
- Done: Pretty self explanatory.
If someone reports in with option 1 or option 3, then everything is peachy. Either it’s done or will be on time. Hooray for them.
Where It All Goes Wrong
The problem comes with someone answers with Option 2: Off Track. A lot of teams don’t know how to respond to this answer. They fall into the bad habit of responding with one of the 4 Rock Killers:
- Lying To Yourself: This happens when a team simply ignores the issue. They lie to themselves and say it will just…go away.
- Not Helping: This happens when a team knows a Rock is Off Track, but does nothing to assist the owner. They just wait for the quarter to pass and the Rock to remain underachieved.
- Blame: When a team isn’t healthy, they are willing to blame each other for failing. This doesn’t exactly ensure a Rock will get achieved.
- No Reporting: This really is the worst case scenario. This is what happens when a team member isn’t being honest. They say it’s On Track, but it is way off.
How To Keep You EOS L10 On Track
Now that you know how to screw it up (and don’t worry, mistakes are part of the EOS process), it’s time to start doing it right.
Step 1: Capture the Issue.
You should be familiar with this by now. If something that needs to be discussed arises, you put it on the board. As soon as that person says “Off Track” you write an Issue on the board and move on.
Step 2: Meeting the problem head on
If a Rock is Off Track, getting it back On Track should be your number 1 priority. Unless your team is in the middle of a crisis or has some other urgent Issue to tackle today, the first thing you talk about during the IDS Process should be this Off Track Rock.
Meet the Issue head on by asking the person directly, “why is this Rock Off Track?” Don’t blame them. Don’t make any assumptions. Just ask. The likelihood is that they will have an answer for you.
Step 3: Actually get it back On Track
Having a Rock Off Track is like any other Issue. You solve it right then and there on the spot by deciding on a defined course of action (a to-do). More often than not this takes the form of providing the owner of that Rock with help.
The main reason teams fail to get Rocks back On Track is that they think that the person who owns the Rock is the only one that should be contributing to it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Owning a Rock means it’s your job to make sure it gets done.
Think about it like a hockey team. The goalie’s job is to make sure the other team doesn’t score goals. But, that isn’t going to be possible if the defenders just let the opposing team shoot at the net unchallenged.
When someone’s Rock is Off Track, it’s the responsibility of the entire team to find ways to help get it back On Track. Divert resources, remove barriers, do whatever it takes to help this person get their Rock done. Why? Because the Rock may be owned by them, but it’s helpful to the whole company. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a Rock.
Time: 5 Minutes
Description: Anyone with important news for the company reports that news
Objective: Keep all decision makers abreast of information that may affect their decisions in the future
I’m not going to spend a terribly long time talking about the EOS L10 Headlines. There is, however, one thing that deserves mentioning: what really counts as a headline.
The only real problem that teams tend to run into with the Headlines is not being sure about what does and doesn’t count as a Headline. The truth is that Traction® doesn’t go into a lot of detail about what these are. You are really only given two guidelines:
- A headline is important news about an event in the company.
- A headline is important news about a customer, client, employee, or other important person.
That’s not a lot to go from.
I like to tell clients that if it seems important and doesn’t fall under Rocks, Scorecard, or To-Do’s, it’s probably worth mentioning at this point. Each company is a little bit different. And, while EOS is designed to work in any business, it can’t account for the minutia of that industry or the people in it. The Headlines section is where you get to bring up news that the other sections of the Level 10 Agenda don’t cover.
The goal here is to ensure that communication is maintained at the top level of the company. We want people to be aware, so they can make informed decisions.
The rest of the Level 10 Meeting Agenda is covered in Part 2 of this guide.
If you’re just getting started with EOS or want to brush up on some of the things mentioned in this article, these articles should be of help to you.
- Are You Pushing Your EOS Level 10 Meeting Down The Ladder?
- How To Rate An EOS Level 10 Meeting
- ABC’s of EOS: Level 10 Meeting Not Helping? Here’s Why.
- How To Use An EOS Meeting Pulse – Answered By A Certified EOS Implementer
- The Traction Book Isn’t Working: 3 Mistakes People Make Self-Implementing EOS
- Want Better Leadership Team Meetings? Learn to Solve Your Issues
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.