Hate meetings? You’ll love EOS Level 10 meetings.

EOS Level 10 Meetings

Have you ever been frustrated by meetings that start late, don’t seem to have much direction, and just ramble on and on? We’ve been there. What’s worse is when you cover nearly the exact same issues you covered in the prior meeting. EOS Level 10 meetings are designed to make meetings more productive and companies more efficient. As an organization that has recently implemented Level 10 meetings, we’re learning how this simple approach to meetings will facilitate our company’s success by way of more effective communication and less time in the boardroom.

Level 10 meetings are scheduled on the same day, at the same time, and in the same place each week. They start on time – whether everyone is there or not, and they end on time – whether all the issues have been resolved or not. Following a strict agenda (usually 60 – 90 minutes), Level 10 meetings provide a safe process for each person to be held accountable and for issues to be raised and resolved. Let’s walk through a Level 10 meeting…

We start with five 5-minute sections:

  • Segue – Also known as “Good News”, this is a transition from whatever you were doing before the meeting. Segue is a moment to disconnect from the day-to-day by focusing on the good things happening in your life.
  • Scorecard – A brief review of the Scorecard, which everyone should have reviewed prior to the meeting. Everything in green gets a cursory review, while everything in red either gets a statement that the owner knows how to get it back on track, or it is noted for later discussion.
  • Rock Review – Rocks are quarterly objectives you set to help drive the organization toward its goals, and the most important things you focus your energy on. Much like the Scorecard, Rocks are either completed, on track, or off track; if they are off track and you are not sure what to do, note them for a later discussion.
  • To Do’s – A list of tasks that need to be completed before the next meeting. To Do’s come from both the normal course of business, and the discussions resulting from Scorecard and Rock Review.
  • Customer/Employee Headlines – This is anything from ‘Susie just had a baby’ to a major customer merging with some other company. Headlines may also create issues that need to be noted for later discussion.

Next we come to the real magic of a Level 10 meeting: identify, discuss, and solve (IDS). Known as the Issues List, the IDS portion of the agenda is a list of issues any member of the team can add to. It is also generated from earlier discussions about the Scorecard, Rocks, and To Do’s.

  • Identify. Reviewing your Issues List, identify and prioritize the top three IDS issues.
  • Discuss. Starting with issue #1, discuss the issue as a team until you figure out how to solve it.
  • Solve. Sometimes solving the issue is a multi-step process. If you understand what the whole process looks like and you know it will take some time to complete, the part that can be completed within the quarter becomes a new rock and the rest becomes a rock(s) for the next quarter. If the solution can be completed in a week or two, or if you need more information that can be gathered quickly, it goes on the To Do List with the accountable person named. Then you move on to the next priority.

Work through as many issues as you can until five minutes before your meeting end-time. It doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of an issue – stop and make a note to come back to it, because meetings start on time and end on time.

To conclude the Level 10 meeting, spend the last five minutes pulling everything together to ensure everyone is on the same page, to reinforce accountability, and to identify value.

  • Recap – Someone recaps the To Do List by restating each of the action items on the list and confirming who is responsible for each item.
  • Cascading Messages – The team identifies any information from the meeting that needs to be shared with others in the organization and decides who is responsible for communicating each message.
  • Rate the Meeting – Each person gives the meeting a value rating.

This is where the name “Level 10” comes from. If you’re like most people, you would probably rate most meetings you’re having now as a 4 or 5 on a 10-point scale. The entire objective of the Level 10 process is to have such productive meetings that each week the team rates them a 10. That’s exactly what happened with our Executive Team meetings… while we are not quite yet hitting 10’s all the time, we started from 3’s and 4’s and now we’re consistently hitting 8’s, 9’s and more and more 10’s.

If you’re not having Level 10 meetings yet, you should be. You will walk out of your Level 10 meetings satisfied the time was well spent, providing you with valuable information and support – and you’ll have more time in your day to focus on your Rocks and To Do’s. That increased focus and accountability is what will drive your organization’s overall performance.

Nick Michael is CBE's Chief Information and Administration Officer