Combating the Negativity of Success

I recently received a report from an EOS® company leader who said their team has been feeling a bit “bummed” lately. They felt this way  after perfectly good Level 10 meetings™, even when a lot got done!

Their concern was that the Level 10’s seemed to focus on “negative things,” like problems, barriers, obstacles, ISSUES, thus leading to a feeling of general negativity.

I did some correspondence on this with my “Honey Badger” tribe of fellow EOS Implementers, and they, too, noted that this is not uncommon. I’ve done a bit of online research, and it turns out that it is quite normal for high-performing teams to experience this occasionally.

And there seems to be a common approach to battling it.Meeting Negativity

The ways to combat this negative funk involve an intentional refocusing on the positive and recognizing how far you’ve traveled in the right direction.

It’s Completely Natural! 

First, let’s review the nature of the EOS Tools. The Level 10 Agenda focuses on:

  • Our big targets (Scorecard)
  • Our big projects” (Rocks)
  • News – good and bad – about our key people (Customer/Employee Headlines)
  • and Our promises to each other (To-Do’s)

All of the above is to identify barriers, obstacles, problems and opportunities, before spending time on:

Thus, the best news is that we are truly “on-track!” We know that we ARE achieving our Vision as long as we are achieving our Scorecard numbers, progressing on our Rocks, knowing what our People are up to, getting our To-Do’s done, and regularly solving our routine problems permanently.

Bringing the Focus Back to the Good 

Here are a few tricks others are using to relieve any negative feelings that may be in the air at the end of a Level 10 meeting.

1. Add a “Best of” Poll to the Conclusion Item on the Agenda

Do this similar to how you do Good News at the beginning of the meeting. Go around the table and invite each person to share positive results that came from the meeting. Ask questions like:

  • How will something we solved today result in gains/less pain in the future?
  • What was most useful takeaway today for you?

This helps us refocus on the victory of what we’ve gotten DONE.

2. Hold a “Clear the Air” Meeting 

In our EOS Toolbox™ under “Trust Builders™” we discuss calling a meeting anytime it starts to feel a bit funky, essentially asking “What’s ____-ing you off?”. That’s a basic tactic you can use when needed to relieve tension, get things out in the open, get to the root cause of the malaise, remind ourselves of what we’re all about, and get refocused.

3. Stick to the Meeting Pulse

Remember that the Meeting Pulse is more than just the weekly Level 10. It includes Quarterly Pulsing™ days and Annual Planning Retreats. Level 10’s are like tactical “time outs” in a football game. The Quarterlies and Annuals are like 1st quarter, halftime, and 3rd quarter breaks before the post-game. At the Annual, when we review the game that just ended, we prepare for the next one, and celebrate the wins! If you’re skipping Quarterlies and Annuals, you’re missing opportunities to rest, reflect, celebrate and recalibrate.

4. Do your Quarterly State of the Company Address 

This meeting has a basic agenda:

  • Where we have been.
  • Where we are.
  • Where we are going.

This helps focus on the progress we’ve made, acknowledge that what we are doing is hard, celebrate the wins, and look forward to more of them.

Next Steps

Improve Your Leadership Team Meeting. Download our level 10 meeting agenda


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