How to Hold Effective Meetings
By Catherine Juon, 87Plus
How would you rate your staff meetings on a scale of 1-10, 10 being best? If your rating was lower than you’d like it to be, you’re in good company.
For example, Harvard Business Review recently surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.
Here’s the part that might be more surprising--it doesn’t have to be that way.
Each week, thousands of companies around the globe run something called a Level 10 Meeting™, aiming for each of their meetings to be rated a 10 by all attendees. The Level 10 Meeting is one of the foundational tools in the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®), a business management system used by over 100,000 companies worldwide.
The formula for a Level 10 Meeting agenda isn’t rocket science; it’s a way to manage meeting time effectively so your team can be more productive. Without further ado, here’s the formula:
- Ground rules matter. Hold your leadership team meeting at the same time, on the same day, every week, no matter what. Start on time and end on time. 90 minutes each time.
- Begin with a segue. (5 minutes) The Level 10 Meeting is a time to step back from working IN the business and start working ON the business. The segue is designed to help your team shift gears. In a rapid-fire round, share a personal and professional best, practicing celebrating your wins. (This is also helpful because teams are often prone to focus on everything that needs fixing, frequently neglecting to credit progress.)
- Report out. (20 minutes total)
- Use a Scorecard. (5 minutes) Companies running on EOS keep a Scorecard of the 5-15 most important Measurables (i.e. metrics) in their business, with each Measurable having a goal as well as an owner who is accountable for keeping it on track. Each Measurable owner simply reports “On Track” or “Off Track”, and any narration is “Dropped Down” to the Issues List later in the meeting to be prioritized as needed.
- Use Rocks. (5 minutes) Select between 3-7 priorities (less is more!) to focus on each quarter. Each Rock has an owner who is accountable for keeping it on track. As with the Scorecard, each Rock owner simply reports “On Track” or “Off Track” and any further discussion is “Dropped Down” to the Issues List.
- Share Customer and Employee Headlines. (5 minutes) Got a customer that needs extra TLC? Let the team know here. Have an employee in your department that did something amazing? This is a great opportunity to let the rest of the leadership team know. Building a habit of regular appreciation will start a ripple effect in your organization that will help take your company culture to the next level.
- Track To-Do’s. (5 minutes) Any action steps agreed on during the previous Level 10 Meeting are tracked as To-Do’s which are due within seven days. Each To-Do has an owner who is accountable and reports simply “Done” or “Not Done”. 90% of To-Do’s should be To-Done at each meeting. And if the dog ate someone’s homework, simply drop it down to the Issues List in the same way as for off-track Measurables and Rocks.
- Solve Issues. (60 minutes) This is the heart of the meeting--where you solve issues once and for all for the greater good of the company. Get ALL of the issues on the list, even if it’s a long list--it’s good therapy. Once the list is complete, prioritize the top three issues to be discussed. Select three, and only 3, of the most urgent and strategic Issues to be tackled during this meeting and number them in order of importance. Starting with the first issue, Identify, Discuss, and Solve (IDS) each issue.
- Identify. Dig into each issue until you have identified the root issue - not just the surface symptom..
- Discuss. Once you have the issue identified, discuss possible solutions. Ask for input from the team, and stop discussing when you start repeating yourselves.
- Solve. A key component that makes Level 10 Meetings different from other meetings is the focus on solving issues. To solve an issue usually requires specific actions be taken, which you will record as To-Do’s. When taking To-Do’s, keep them “bite size”, so they can be completed within 7 days. The discipline of consistently making forward progress each week on strategic and important issues creates an infectious momentum that will help you reach both short-term and long-term goals.
- Lather, rinse and repeat. Once you’ve solved the first three issues, select three more and continue for 60 minutes, being sure to leave adequate time to conclude the meeting on time. Practice ending a few minutes early rather than trying to sneak in “one last issue” and risk running late. When you’re doing a good job of solving the most important issues, whatever is left can wait for next week--and you’ll start to create space for your leadership team to breathe between meetings.
- Conclude. (5 minutes)
- Re-cap To-Do’s. Though it may seem redundant, you’ll be taking a step toward greater accountability in your organization by being crystal clear about who is responsible for what, and by when. No excuses.
- Determine Cascading Messages. Is there anything you decided in the meeting that needs to be shared with team members outside the meeting? Assign To-Do’s accordingly.
- Rate the Meeting. One a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best, everyone rates the meeting in rapid succession and provides feedback to the meeting facilitator if their rating is an 8 or less. With open and honest feedback, the facilitator will learn where to adjust and move the Level 10 Meeting to consistently higher ratings over time.
Now you have the not-so-secret formula for running meaningful meetings your team will actually start looking forward to each week!
MMA member and 2018 Michigan Manufacturer of the Year, Jim Richards, said, "When we started using EOS at Total Security Solutions, I wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea of holding weekly 90-minute meetings, but I trusted the process. Now I look back and wonder how we managed without them. As we've gotten better over time at solving issues in our meetings, more of my time--and that of our whole team--is devoted to serving our clients and growing our company.”
For more hints and tips on Level 10 Meetings and EOS, visit the EOS Worldwide blog at http://www.eosworldwide.com.
About the Author:
Catherine is an experienced entrepreneur with a passion for helping people get what they want from their businesses. As a Professional EOS Implementer at 87plus, Catherine uses the Entrepreneurial Operating System® process and tools to help entrepreneurial leaders learn how to run their businesses more effectively, build healthy teams, drive growth, and live a balanced life. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Business:
Since 2005, 87plus has been helping entrepreneurs and their leadership teams to get everything they want from their businesses. With over seventy years of combined experience as entrepreneurial business owners, we are passionate and ready to help your team implement EOS to get the most from your business.