Anyone reading this has probably sat through countless meetings that could’ve been an email. People go on tangents, the organizer lacks any real agenda, and people walk away wondering why the heck they went. It can feel like death by 1,000 hours of pointless meetings. Enter the Level 10 Meeting.
What’s a Level 10 Meeting?
As part of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®), the Level 10 Meeting (L10) creates a standard structure for productive meetings. No, really. EOS lays out a template for team meetings to focus on the most important things each week without the nonsense.
On a scale of 1 to 10, most people would rank their current meetings at a 4 or 5. In some cases, even that’s being generous. In a Level 10 Meeting, attendees focus on the most important topics to spot issues before they become bigger problems. But that doesn’t come naturally (as evidenced by the prevalence of crappy meetings). To get there, companies Running on EOS™ use the standardized L10 agenda.
What Makes a Level 10 Meeting So Effective?
Because Level 10 meetings operate at a repeatable, strategic level, they provide a solid framework covering material that matters. Opinions and politicking have no place in a meeting that focuses strictly on objectives and metrics. Teams also learn to minimize tangents and sidebar conversations to cover only what matters.
In addition, the same two individuals (or their proxies during vacations) serve as the facilitator and the scribe for every meeting. This removes the question, “Who’s leading this meeting?” The same goes for the scribe role: Everyone already knows who’s taking notes. Removing this ambiguity saves precious minutes discussing and agreeing to roles in each meeting.
How Many People Should Attend an L10 Meeting?
While opinions vary, generally, six or seven appears to be the ideal number for optimal Level 10 Meeting effectiveness. Fewer than four may not result in meaningful dialogue. More than seven become a crowd, making it difficult to hold discussions or add value for everyone attending.
The facilitator should look for context clues to gauge whether an L10 has the optimal number of attendees. Does everyone seem engaged in the discussion, or do some people look like they’ve checked out? Does the Issues List carry more and more items week to week? This can signal too much discussion or too many people attending and adding new issues.
The Level 10 Meeting Agenda
The L10 meeting agenda keeps a team focused and moving through a consistent process based on human nature. Developed through real-world testing, it serves as the most effective and efficient way to get a handle on a business. The team can get more done in just 90 minutes a week than in dozens of one-off meetings.
Teams should hold L10 meetings at the same time on the same day each week. Most importantly, they need to start on time and end on time. Attendance is mandatory, with the exception of vacation or death.
In addition, every L10 meeting has both a facilitator and a scribe. The facilitator moves the team through the agenda to keep on schedule. The scribe records updates, takeaways, and any items for the To-Do List or Issues List.
The agenda consists of the following sections:
|Scorecard Review||5 minutes|
|Rock Review||5 minutes|
|Customer / Employee Headlines||5 minutes|
|To-Do Lists||5 minutes|
|Identify, Discuss, Solve (IDS™)||60 minutes|
We cover the specifics of each section below.
As people gather for the weekly meeting, the segue creates the time to disconnect mentally from other distractions. To start the meeting on time, everyone should arrive early and be ready to go at the appointed start time.
No matter what happened just before the meeting, the 5-minute segue allows everyone to refocus. Each team member shares good news (both personal and professional) from the previous week. This helps remind the team that they work with real-life humans with other responsibilities and outside passions.
The quick cadence of these weekly “bests” keeps the agenda moving into the next section: the EOS Scorecard™ review.
During this 5-minute report, the team reviews the 5–15 most important metrics to track. The Scorecard review provides objective proof of whether the team is hitting its goals and helps identify issues early.
Each number’s owner reports whether their specific item is “on track” or “off track.”
Most importantly, team members should provide only one of these two responses, resisting the temptation to launch into any explanations.
Any off-track numbers or items that require additional discussion should drop to the Issues section. By the way, “drop” means to add the item to the Issues List for discussion later in the meeting.
Again, this quick cadence moves the team to the next measurable section: the quarterly Rock review.
Every team member has accountability for completing approximately 3–5 quarterly goals (or Rocks). These quarterly Rocks represent the most important actions to achieve in the next 90 days for the team’s greater good. Each Rock can have only one owner.
To keep the discussion to a minimum, this 5-minute section again uses “on track” or “off track” responses from the Rock owner. Any questions, explanations, or further discussions belong in the Issues section.
Team members now have a good understanding of their current standings based on the Scorecard and Rock reviews. Time to move on to the next section to share Headlines.
This brief section shares any employee or customer news, good or bad. The facilitator will ask each member for any headlines to share with the team. This allows the team to celebrate good news and potentially drop any bad news for later discussion.
Expect to spend 5 minutes max on this section before heading to the To-Do List.
While Rocks represent 90-day priorities, the To-Do List captures action items to complete within 7 days. They represent actions that typically a team wouldn’t capture. But once on the To-Do List, the team holds the responsible owner accountable for completing it.
Here, To-Dos fall under either “done” or “not done.” No conversation, no explanations, and certainly no whining. Any not-done items can carry to the following week or drop down to the Issues List.
This exercise should take around 5 minutes to complete. Then the team can get to the actual meat of the meeting: Identify, Discuss, and Solve (IDS) all those issues you’ve recorded!
Welcome to the magic (and the secret to the success of L10 meetings)!
Here the person raising the issue will clearly Identify it. Then the team Discusses the issue until they get to its root cause. After every detail has been laid out, the team will determine the best way to Solve the issue forever.
This meeting section will take the longest – around an hour if you’ve timed the other sections correctly. During IDS, the team discusses all the issues raised earlier. Typically, the Issues List contains 5–15 items. But sometimes, a few will carry over from the previous week.
With all these issues listed out (on a whiteboard or digitally in EOS One™), the team will rank the three most important issues to tackle right away. They start with the top issue, working to understand its root cause. From there, they focus solely on solving the issue. Once it’s solved, the team goes on to the next issue.
They continue to identify the next three most important issues to solve until 5 minutes remains in the meeting. Regardless of how many issues remain on the list, the facilitator moves to conclude the meeting.
This vital section pulls the whole meeting together, ensuring no loose ends need addressing. In these last 5 minutes, the facilitator quickly reviews all new items on the To-Do List and any resolutions that require additional communication outside the meeting.
Finally, each team member ranks the effectiveness of the meeting before the facilitator ends the meeting on time. Every time.
Level 10 Meeting Template
By repeating this agenda, you create the foundation for your company to finally have productive meetings. It may take a while to get everyone used to the pace of the shorter sections and hold their comments for IDS. But keep at it!
When your team starts solving the average 3–5 Issues per meeting, they solve them forever. You’ll often find that other items on the Issues List disappear because they were symptoms of the root cause.
Ready to get started? You can download a free copy of the Level 10 Meeting Agenda if your team prefers to work from a printed agenda.
Or, for a faster digital experience, sign up for a free trial of EOS One. EOS One offers better ways to manage your Level 10 Meetings, EOS Scorecards, Rocks, Accountability Charts™, and other digital tools.