EOS® provides business leaders with the tools that can help improve structure, discipline, and accountability in their organizations. Yet when business leaders meet with their direct reports, these things often go out the window. However, I’ve noticed that when my clients run their 1:1s like mini Level 10 Meetings, they have more productive conversations with their people.
What Is a Level 10 Meeting?
Level 10 Meetings keep your leadership team focused on what’s most important every week. By using a specific agenda, the meeting ties several foundational EOS tools and concepts together. The Level 10 Meeting helps you smoke out and solve issues effectively and keeps your team connected and aligned.
Named for a rating scale of 1 to 10, Level 10 Meetings are the most productive and best use of everyone’s time. The Level 10 Meeting is held on the same day and at the same time each week. It uses the same agenda, starts on time, and ends on time.
Preparing for a Great 1:1 Meeting
Much like my coaching sessions, when a supervisor meets with their direct reports, it helps to gather topics for discussion. These can come from things you’ve read, realizations during Clarity Breaks™, or interactions with other team members. Anything important but not urgent belongs on the list.
Encourage your direct reports to write down all their challenges, roadblocks, and areas where they’re feeling friction in achieving their goals.
Finally, carry forward any issues or topics from the prior discussion. This can be touching base on action items, determining if an issue was solved, or discussing how they may impact future goals.
Cadence, Objectives, and Agenda
I meet with leaders for 60 minutes each week. Establish the frequency and duration that works best for you and each of your team members. At the start of each meeting, we state the objectives and agenda for the meeting. The objective is one simple statement that doesn’t vary much, and the agenda always stays the same.
Inspired by Level 10 Meetings, the agenda for 1:1s is simple:
- IDS® (Identify, Discuss, and Solve)
1. Segue (Check-in)
The Segue is a brief (five minutes or less) transition from working “in” the business to working “on” the business. This transition is a time for you and your direct report to share a meaningful personal and professional highlight since you last met.
Examples of a segue include:
- Personal or professional progress
- Accomplishment or milestone achieved
- Celebration of a win
The segue is good news, wins, and highlights only. Save any challenges for the issues list.
2. The Issues Solving Track™
Solving issues is the most meaningful and important part of the meeting. To have a high-impact IDS session, you and your report must bring meaningful and important topics to discuss together.
At the end of each meeting, I remind leaders to bring meaty issues to the next session. They should keep an open mind and challenge everything.
Start by building the Issues List: add all the items you both have to the list. Then pick the top three high-impact issues and solve them, one at a time, following The Issues Solving Track.
The Issues Solving Track involves three steps. They seem simple at the surface, but each is critically important to solving the issue.
Many issues appear to be one thing at first glance. But as you dig deeper, you’ll discover that the root issue is something else altogether. When you’re digging deeper, it’s important to come to an agreement on the root cause of the issue.
Share all the relevant information about the issue. You and your direct report should hear each other out, practice active listening, and consider tangential matters.
Agree on a next step or action plan. Write down who will do what and by when. By default, the to-dos are due at the next 1:1.
Continue solving issues until you run out of time or issues, whichever happens first.
Save five minutes at the end of the meeting to wrap up using these three quick steps:
1. Recap the To-Do List
Ensure you write specific to-dos with due dates. Obtain your direct report’s commitment to getting them done.
2. Cascading Messages
Add a to-do for any issues to be added to other meeting issues lists (like the team’s Level 10) or communicated to other team members.
3. Rate the Meeting
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being best, rate the meeting based on doing good work and starting and ending on time.
Before you wrap up the meeting, confirm the next meeting date, time, and location. Also, remember to carry forward any issues you couldn’t address in this meeting. Soon you’ll increase efficiency and productivity by running your 1:1 meetings with your direct reports like a mini Level 10.