What Does a Perfect Level 10 Meeting™ Look Like?

One of the most important skills a leadership team develops is their ability to run an effective “Level 10 Weekly Meeting”.  My friend and fellow Implementer Ken Dewitt just published an outstanding blog (below) on this subject.  Thank you, Ken!

I would add that one of the most effective ways to keep “IDSing” succinctly and getting to the root cause quickly is for the L10 Facilitator to insist on everyone following these four steps:

  • WHO owns it – Who is teeing it up?
  • WHO are you talking to – Everyone or the one who can fix it?
  • NEED – What do you need?
  1. We need to decide……
  2. I need help
  3. I have information to share
  • WHAT – State in one sentence without commas what you believe is the root issue. (Other team members may challenge until you all agree on what the root issue is before discussing.)

What  Does a Perfect Level 10 Meeting™ Look Like?

In EOS® Quarterlies, I always ask teams, “What kind of scores are you giving your weekly Level 10 Meetings?” If I hear low scores – sixes, sevens, eights – I ask, “Where are the 10s?!”  People often respond, “We don’t give 10s. There’s always room to get better.”

Such sour scoring misses the point that the Level 10, if done properly and by the book, should be scored a 10.  I’m going to tell you what a perfect 10 looks like, and how to get better scores in your Level 10 Meetings.

There are four earmarks of a perfect Level 10 Meeting™:

  • The meeting starts on time.
  • It ends on time.
  • You stick to the agenda properly.
  • You solve issues.

THAT IS A TEN, FOLKS!  It really doesn’t get any better than that.  If there isn’t enough time to IDS your pet issue, or if there is some other reason you don’t get what you personally want from the meeting, you should still score it a 10 if the four items above were accomplished.

Not giving 10s reminds me of that now-infamous Olympics where one of the gymnastics judges was so out of step with the others that it was obvious they had an entirely different way of thinking.  Did they just all three see the same performance? The scoring philosophy is to look for the exactness of the routine and deduct for missing the mark.

While it is the responsibility of the L10 facilitator to conduct a tight meeting, it is just as important that the participants speak up during the meeting if there are violations going on that will result in lower scores if not corrected.

As you know, I occasionally observe a Level 10 Meeting and offer my own suggestions.  Most teams tend to need help in the same areas, so I tend to make the same suggestions frequently.
Here are my top four ways to improve your Level 10 meetings:

  1. Watch the clock. So often people get chatty and give too much commentary during the first five items on the agenda (the first 25 minutes): Check-in, Scorecard, Rock Review, People Headlines, and To-Do Review.  Each person should offer nothing but a brief commentary.  If an issue is identified, then drop it down to the issues list for later possible discussion.  If your meeting starts at 9:00, you should be beginning IDS by 9:25.  Consider appointing a clock-watcher to hold up a “Watch the Clock!” sign so the meeting facilitator knows to keep things moving.
  2. Drop it down, drop it down, drop it down! See #1 above.  It is so tempting to ask questions during the first 25 minutes. Resist!  Here’s a good rule of thumb: if more than 10 or 15 seconds of discussion starts, raise your hand and say, “With all due love and respect, do we have an issue we should put on the Issues List?”
  3. Speak up and speak out! Almost everyone sees the above violations happen except, of course, the violator and meeting facilitator who enables them.  It is the responsibility of other team members to butt in, if necessary, and suggest that we “drop down” an issue.  You may be meek and secretly wish you had an electric seat button you could press quietly, but really there is no other way than to gently, but firmly, interrupt.
  4. Really follow the IDS / Issues Solving Track. Your first order of business is to prioritize the issues list with 1, 2 and 3.  Don’t debate and don’t ask, “What’s that Issue?” Come knowing what issue you think needs to be solved now. Your second order of business – and every team really could get better at this – is to strive to identify the real issue. * It takes disciplined effort to identify before doing a lot of discussing.  Go to your Toolbox – it is I, then D, then S – and avoid tangents.  Identifying and agreeing on the real issue is the hard part; avoiding tangents is the second hardest part.  If someone goes on a tangent, call out, “Tangent Alert!” (see #3 above) and write another issue for later.

When you score the meeting, ask yourself, “Did we start and end on time? Did we follow the agenda?  Did we solve problems?  Were we brave and focused as a team?” If you can answer “yes” to all those, that’s a 10.  Now try that team chest bump!

Reference: Ken DeWitt’s Blog

Contact me if you want to know more or just have a discussion about EOS and your organization.

Wayne