L-10 Tips, Part 2: Issues Section
I’ve been running L10s for almost 10 years now, and I would like to offer you the tips I have learned and the things I do a little differently to run a really effective L10™ meeting.
My previous blog, Part 1: The Reporting Section, explained how to run the first portion of the meeting, in which the LeadershipTeam gets completely up to date on what happened last week, on company news and team accountability, and on the status of quarterly Rocks.
They are now ready to solve Issues, so we will focus now on the next and most important part of the L10 meeting, the IDS section.
If you’ve stuck to the agenda during the Reporting section of the meeting, then you now have a full hour for the most important part of the meeting: solving Issues! In EOS™, we don’t just discuss things; we solve things – once and for all, so that we never need to revisit them.
Over the course of the quarter, you will find that your Issues List can get stale. There could be old Issues that were never addressed and are no longer relevant. When the Issues List is getting too long or too old, go through it with the team and do Keep, Kill, or Combine. Review each Issue and decide whether to Keep it, Kill it (because it is no longer relevant), or Combine it with another Issue. An Issue that you want to postpone beyond the current quarter can also be moved to the Issues List on the Vision/Traction Organizer ™, where the Team will review it again at their next Quarterly Meeting.
Before you start solving any Issues, ask for any new Issues that need to be added to the Issues List. Then it is time for the team to decide on the first three Issues to solve. This means selecting the three Issues that would do the most to move the company forward that week.
Don’t spend a lot of time on this. Every minute you spend voting or choosing just takes away from your solving time. Just shout out your selection. Do not worry about being selfish. If there is an Issue you really want to discuss, then call it out!
Then start with the first Issue. Take as much time as necessary to get through that Issue. When that Issue is done, go on to number two, and if you still have time, go on to number three. If you get through that one, then pick three more Issues.
As you tackle each Issue, follow IDS™ relentlessly. We have all seen this: You are in a staff meeting, and an issue comes up. What follows is generally a period of aimless rambling, several trips down rabbit holes, and perhaps one or two side discussions on tangential issues. After 20 minutes, the group collectively shrugs their shoulders and moves on to another topic without making any decisions or assigning any follow up items!
That will never happen if you follow the IDS process:
Identify – I always ask the person whose Issue it is to state the Issue in one sentence, but most people cannot do that. So I let them instead give a little bit of background, and when they are done I say, “Thanks, now can you summarize all of that for us in one sentence?” At that point they usually can.
Next, ask the team if the Issue is clear and whether this is really the Issue. Perhaps this is a symptom and not the cause. Take all the time necessary to clarify the Issue so that you do not waste time solving the wrong issue. Only when there is agreement on the real Issue is it time to move to the next stage.
Discuss – I usually start the Discuss stage by asking a background question, like “When did this problem start?” or “How has this problem been attacked in the past?” That gets the discussion started with facts and gives everyone a common history to work from.
Then let the group discuss and debate. It is important to avoid tangents. Do not be afraid to say, “That sounds like a different Issue. Let’s put that on the Issues list and stick to this Issue.” Keep people focused on the Issue at hand.
Do not let anyone propose a solution yet. That comes when the discussion has played itself out and we are ready to move on to the next stage.
Solve -- It is now time for one brave team member to propose a solution. When the team has agreed upon a solution, the person who brought up this Issue is asked if this solve works for them. If not, go back to the Discuss stage and try again. If so, you are ready to move on to the next Issue on the list, but not until you assign some action items to execute the Team’s decision.
When your 60 IDS minutes are up, you stop, even if you are in the middle of an Issue. Make a note, and you can pick up with that Issue again next week if it is still the top priority.
Start by reading the new To Dos and wait for a “Got it” on each one so it is clear the Team member knows what is expected of them. Ask if there are any messages to cascade to someone not in the meeting.
Then ask the team for a rating. The criteria I use are: started on time, ended on time, followed the agenda, and worked well as a team. The scoring I suggest is: 7 or below – we did not do so well, so tell us how we can improve; 8 – we did all right; 9 – we did really well; and 10 – almost unachievable.
Ask for a volunteer to go first, and comments are always welcome. Remember, never criticize anyone’s rating. Doing so might cause them in the future to just give an 8 so they do not have to say anything else. Everyone’s rating is valid; we just want to understand their reasoning.
I hope this helps you turn your weekly L10s into world class meetings!
If your L10 meetings need help, reach out to me. I have been a fractional Integrator for five years and have run hundreds of L10s for my clients in a variety of industries. I have helped my clients reach their goals, starting with holding more effective L10 meetings. I can be your L10 Ninja! You can reach me at email@example.com or 651-247-1993 or my LinkedIn page.
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