By David Henzel, Co-Founder of How We Solve—an umbrella company for services and tools that help you solve your startup’s growing pains.
From start to finish, there is a format you can follow when holding staff meetings that will ensure you start off strong and end in the best place possible. Leading productive meetings can have great results at the moment, but it doesn’t stop there. Consistently leading productive meetings can result in an aligned and satisfied team which, as every leader knows, is the true face of the company.
As the motto goes “happy employees equal happy customers,” thus any operation head knows they must ensure their staff members are always motivated and engaged in their work. The Japanese term kaizen, which roughly translates to “continuous improvement,” is a business philosophy that, in practice, is both a gradual and methodological process that encompasses every individual at a workplace. The entrepreneurial operating system (EOS) that I use very much mirrors the intentions set forth by kaizen, which can basically be considered as an inclusive small-step approach to progress in the business.
When I was with my previous organization, there was a time, especially while we were expanding, when it felt like we were all over the place and no one knew precisely what needed to be done and by when. We began creating our own format for meetings, but then we found the EOS Level 10 meeting template which excelled in its format and practicality. The moment we began putting the format into operation, we saw the accountability issue we once faced had lifted and everyone on the team left meetings with clearly defined to-dos for the following week.
What Is A Level 10 Meeting?
One of the main ways to impart your company’s mission and vision, fortify teamwork and ensure continuous traction is to hold regular and highly effective staff meetings. The EOS Level 10 meeting template provides a series of guidelines on how to maximize time spent with your team to solidify the brand’s vision, ensure productive traction and demonstrate healthy leadership. Every Level 10 meeting should end with a show of hands rating the meeting from one to 10, to express how they felt the meeting went. If anyone has a less-than-perfect rating, they should express why it is they felt any aspect was lacking.
Weekly meetings should be held to ensure continuous, yet gradual, accomplishments are made. Ideally, every Level 10 meeting is held at the same time every week, and it begins and ends on time. You’ll want to establish a familiar format with your employees so they are prepared for the topics to be tackled. Personally, I like to write clear agenda topics in the order they will proceed, which is accessible and available for staff members to go over beforehand.
Making The Most Of A Level 10 Meeting
For any staff meeting, it’s important to start off strong and end strong. I have my staff members list their wins for the week prior to the start of the meeting so that when the meeting gets going, each member is ready to share their good news or reasons they feel gratitude in their lives. By starting with a win, the meeting proceeds in the same upbeat and sincere tone.
After discussing our wins, we move into reporting weekly key performance indicators (KPIs) in which each member of the team discusses the progress they have made and what they plan to tackle in the week to come. From there, it becomes easy to switch into “error log mode” AKA problem-solving, and everyone is encouraged to discuss any obstacles they face. For my team and me, there is no such thing as problems, every challenge is considered an opportunity to question how we can fix it. I always tell my staff they will never get in trouble if they make a mistake, but they will get in trouble if they don’t add that mistake in the error log.
We keep a list of all errors in a spreadsheet with all the details about what happened, who was involved (team member and client), and how the issue was resolved. Including problem-solving in the standard operating procedure (SOP) of a staff meeting is critical to ensure the topic becomes easily approachable to home in on. By encouraging accountability and offering up the opportunity for fellow team members to suggest solutions, a problem can quickly become a win-win in both improving operations as well as teamwork.
IDS, which is short for identify, discuss and solve, is then where we spend the bulk of the time in our staff meetings and we have an agenda set up that each member can list discussion points as they come to mind, either prior to or even during the meeting. Not only should you, the team leader, clearly recap each staff member’s defined to-dos for the week, but the discussion should lead into cascading messages, the section of the meeting in which you also go over whether there are any final messages that need to be communicated to others.
The entire Level 10 meeting plan is designed to create an environment of positivity, productivity and momentum. You start with a win, end strong and get work done in between, all while engaging in constructive and clear-cut communication. An aligned staff in which everyone knows their respective duties results in genuine accountability. It’s these values of transparency and strong teamwork that will drive a company to the top.