The secret to a great weekly team meeting

Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about.

Monday through Thursday we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations.  On Friday, I share something we are doing at PCI in our quest to earn a spot of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

As CEO of PCI, I struggled for years to organize an effective and engaging Monday morning weekly leadership team meeting. 

For years, I failed.  At my very best, I would grade my efforts in this area as a B-. 

Then, in November 2017, I learned about EOS or the Entrepreneurial Operating System from a friend.  It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Over lunch he mentioned his firm utilized EOS as a framework to run their company.   I’m always searching for ways our company can get better so I was intrigued.  He suggested I read Get A Grip: How to Get Everything You Want from Your Entrepreneurial Business by EOS founder Gino Wickman and Mike Paton.

I devoured the book. By the end of Thanksgiving weekend, I had finished it.  I often listen to books on Audible or Scribd while I run.  I remember deciding to extend my run another couple of miles so I could listen to more.  This never happens.

Get A Grip is a business fable about an imaginary company.   This genre is difficult to do well.  There are some great books like The Five Dysfunctions of a Team or Leadership and Self Deception but in my experience many of these types of books aren’t great.  

With Get A Grip, it was like the authors were talking directly to me. 

Things happened fast at that point.  My friend connected me with Mark Winters , who is an EOS Implementer.  Companies who utilize EOS can implement the framework themselves or hire a certified EOS Implementer who works with the company’s leadership team to coach, train, and facilitate. 

Based on my friend’s recommendation, we chose the latter path.  A few weeks later, Mark met with our team.  We signed on the dotted line and off we went.

As EOS Implementer helps install the framework over the course of three months.  Once EOS is in place, the Implementer then meets with the company’s leadership team quarterly: once for two-day annual planning session and then every 90-days for a full day to review the prior quarter and plan for the upcoming quarter.

The quarterly meeting rhythm works really well to keep the leadership team both focused on the bigger picture and the immediate priorities.  

That said, my favorite part about EOS is our Weekly L10 leadership team meeting.  L10 stands for “Level 10” because all members of the team rank the meeting on a 1-10 scale at the end of the meeting.  The goal: all 10’s.  Which happens regularly.  Again, a happy surprise to me given our past experiences with a weekly team meeting.

The agenda for the L10 is quite straight-forward:

*Good News (5 minutes) – each member of the team shares something positive from their personal and professional lives.  At PCI, we modify the language slightly to share something that’s on our “hearts and minds.”  (Thank you, Andy Fleming)

*Scorecard/KPIs (5 minutes) – the team reviews the key metrics for the prior week.  We maintain a table so we can see how the current week compares to prior weeks.  If we are at or above our goal, the number shows as green.  Otherwise, it shows as red. 

*Objectives/Rocks Review (5 minutes): We report if we are “on track” or “off track” against our 3-5 company objectives or rocks, which the team selected at the prior quarter’s EOS meeting.  Then, each team member reports if they are “on track” or “off track” against 1-3 individual rocks which each person selects and are agreed to by the team at the quarterly meeting.

*Client/Associate Headlines (5 minutes): This practice keeps everyone on the team up-to-date on what is happening around the company.  I also ask each member of our team to select at least one person from their department who has done outstanding work the prior week.  As CEO, this is a great way to learn about who is doing great work so I can recognize them at our daily stand-up meeting.

*To do list (5 minutes): We review the to do list from the prior’s week’s meeting.

*IDS (60 minutes): IDS stands for Identify, Discuss, and Solve.  This agenda item is the key to why the L10 meeting works so well.  Each week we set aside an hour to discuss the most important issues impacting the company that week.  

At the start of IDS, the team quickly selects the top three issues to discuss from a list of outstanding issues from the prior week plus any new issues that have arisen during the earlier agenda items.  

For example, if one of our weekly metrics is “red” or below goal, the metric goes on the IDS issue list if there is an opportunity to discuss what we need to do as a team to fix the issue.  

Note:  we do not discuss the issue during the Scorecard part of the agenda.  Rather, we decide whether it is an issue to discuss during IDS and then we add it to the issue list.  In my past experience, discussing each metric while reporting them is one way team meetings go off track.  This method works much better because we have time set aside later in the meeting. Then we discuss the most important issues that week.

The same protocol applies to the quarterly objectives or rocks.  We don’t discuss each rock each week.  Instead, the person who “owns” the rock reports if it is “on track” or “off track.”  If the rock is off track, anyone on the team can choose to make it an issue.  If so, it goes on the issue list where it fights for “air time” based on its importance during the IDS section of the meeting.

For each issue that is discussed during IDS, the person who put the issue on the list begins by sharing “W-W-OW” – which stands for “who, who, one word: who is bringing the issue, who are they addressing (one person or the entire team), and one word, i.e. I need a decision, a commitment, feedback or input, or to tell you something.  

We keep a timekeeper who tracks how long it takes to discuss each issue.  Some issues are discussed and resolved quickly.  Others require more time.  On average, it’s about six to seven minutes per issue.

The great thing about IDS is it creates consistent time for the team to discuss the most important issues that week, where people are stuck, where a decision is needed, etc.  

The result is a much more nimble, informed, and engaged organization.

___________________________

Reflection:  How would I rate my organization’s or team’s weekly staff meeting?  Is there anything we could apply from EOS?

Action:  Discuss at my next team meeting.

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