3 Tips for Self-Guiding/Facilitating your EOS® Journey

3 Tips for Self-Guiding/Facilitating your EOS® Journey

I was recently in a conversation with a visionary who asked about facilitating their own quarterly and ‘graduating’.

I did not hide my joy, and reminded him that they had ‘graduated’ a long time ago so it only makes sense for them to try facilitating their own quarterly. I reminded him that the whole plan of the EOS Journey is to graduate in 18 to 24 months which is the time it takes to:

  • Master the tools
  • Get to 80% strength in the 6 key components
  • Make progress toward 100% of right person in the right seat

But his next question really made me think. It was, “What do we need to do to facilitate ourselves effectively?”

It made me think because sometimes I take for granted what I do during a session. While I do lots of writing, asking questions, and moving around post-it notes, I see my role as a guide/facilitator. The simple language I use to describe what I do is helping teams have a productive conversation. I expand on ‘productive conversation’ with my mantra of having productive conversations that lead to thoughtful actions and improved performance. I have had this belief since I started my business 10 years ago (my anniversary is October 1).

Here are three key things that, if you are committed to and skilled at, will make self-facilitating a 9-10 quarterly a reality:

  1. Set the agenda and kick off preparations 2 weeks before the session: Look back at the emails I send and copy the message. Part of being a member of the leadership team is preparing for planning, which includes reviewing the SWOT, gathering issues and feedback from your team, finishing Rocks to 100%, and spending time THINKING about the key issues that need to be put on the issues list during the day.
  2. Prepare to manage as a ‘team’: The key things that have to be done are bringing the documents, leading the different parts of the agenda, and managing the conversations so they stay on track from a time perspective and are productive. Ultimately you want to hit the objectives for the day and meet the expectations of the team.

The two key roles are: 1) Preparation (email, copies of all documents, room/food) and 2) Tracking To Do’s in the session. Generally, the Integrator can decide how the agenda will go, but here are the three key phrases everyone on the team needs to be willing to say during the conversations to share the ownership in a 9/10 day:
a. Drop it down – Said whenever we get into IDS on something that needs to be solved in the Issues Solving Session that is always after Rocks. Record it on the board and keep going.
b. With all due love and respect – Said before anyone delivers feedback on a behavior that is holding the team or planning back. When delivering a truth that could be hard to hear, start with this to make sure LOVE is part of the equation.
c. All that being said . . . – The #1 thing that makes a session ineffective is getting off-track from the topic or not getting to the point with comments. It happens most in IDS time and Rock planning, so be ready to say this followed by:
i. What’s the issue?
ii. What’s the Rock?
iii. What does Success look like?

3. Enter the danger: A key thing I think about as an implementer is how to be ready to enter into the hard discussions a team needs to have and most often will avoid if I am not there.

This hit me in a recent moment of reflection from some feedback about the value I provide as a guide/facilitator of the EOS journey. Enter the danger is simply this: when someone is not being honest, a big issue is mentioned that we need to stop and talk about, or someone needs one more question to really get to the point of a key (and sometimes painful) issue that is being danced around – I have to stop the group and make sure it gets talked about. Since this revelation, I estimate I do this mentally 30+ times a session as I read the room, the people, and the words. It is a judgement call, and sometimes it leads to an emotional and hard conversation. Sometimes I have to pull the team in, and sometimes someone on the team beats me to it, much to my delight.

This is my ultimate gauge of team health, and the #1 thing I look for in teams that are ready to graduate. As you start facilitating your own sessions, this phrase and some of the phrases above should be on display to see for every quarterly and annual.

On the back of every Cairn I give to graduated clients I share this quote:

Always remember that mastery is a journey, not a destination. Lead well!

By doing the three points I mentioned above, I believe you will be successful leading your own EOS journey.

EOS® for Visionaries: Your Unique Abilities

EOS® for Visionaries: Your Unique Abilities

Remember Focus Day when your name went into the Visionary seat?
In watching visionaries grow into their roles, the top 2 frustrations I continue to hear are:

  1. I do not even know what I am supposed to do in this seat
  2. I feel like my input isn’t appreciated anymore

Do these feel familiar?

There is an answer for both, and if you need a reminder read Rocket Fuel. You should be reading it with your Integrator partner once a year to reset yourself on how critical your roles are and how even more critical your relationship is.

My continued piece of advice for my Visionary/Integrator teams are to do those same page meetings! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you get those started.

This visionary-only post is also about introducing you to another resource Gino Wickman is about to publish called Leap: Do You Have What It Takes To Become An Entrepreneur.

I know many of you coach other entrepreneurs, and I think you might enjoy this book. Take a look at Gino’s recent post introducing it.

Excerpt from post: EOS® is Adderall for Visionaries. 😊

EOS® for Integrators: Three Tools for Integrators

EOS® for Integrators: Three Tools for Integrators

This is a post for integrators only, to remind you of three tools you should be revisiting with the team annually as a way of proactively helping them reset some of the habits we built during the first two years of your EOS journey.

  1. LMA Review – The 10 things leaders and managers DO (see pp. 20-21 in the toolbox tab of your Leadership Team Manual) is something we asked each leader to self-assess as Yes or No when considering all the people they had LMA responsibilities for (often called direct reports). As a habit, once a year ask each leader to read through the list and reaffirm they are all Yes or recommit to changing all No answers to Yes.
  2. Core Process Review – Take a deep dive at a quarterly/L10 into one of the handful of core processes to make sure the leadership team SBA’s it, the metrics are clear, and flush out any issues with it. Ideally each should be reviewed once a year to make sure it is accurate and any issues identified should be solved.
  3. Delegate and Elevate – The continuous issue that comes back is having a leader doing work that should be getting done by their team. Remember my challenge to move away from $20/hour work to the $100 – $1000/hr work that members of the leadership team should be focused on?

The given is that each of you are still doing 3 quarterlies a year and a 2-day annual off-site. Whether you are graduated or not, as the integrator each of these tools helps you more easily manage the business and develop your leadership team. Do any of these need to be reviewed?

If there is anything I can do to help you/support you, let me know – I have some sheets and a few tricks for facilitating these discussions with your group.

EOS® for Human Resources: Development & Onboarding

EOS® for Human Resources: Development & Onboarding

This is a note especially for those in the HR Seat.

The two things I see the team needing you to own are: the development of new leaders and helping to onboard new leaders.

Here are a couple of tips for how to do this:

  1. Leadership + Management = Accountability (LMA): The book How To Be A Great Boss outlines the 10 key things people need to do to become a great leader AND a great manager. There are lots of things you could do to equip your leaders, but using these 10 is what we recommend. If you are looking for someone to help you think through how to translate these into a series of learning events in your organization or more of a program, I would be glad to help.** At a minimum, make this book required reading for all leaders.
  2. Onboarding: Studies have shown that 58% of new leaders hired into an organization fail within 18 months. In my experience, the simple act of creating an onboarding program for new leaders for the first 6 to 12 months can greatly increase your odds of success. Here is a recent post I created to outline what great onboarding looks like, and a guided experience you can sign up for that will give you weekly reminders of what to do and my offer to help you put a plan together. The good news – EOS provides many of the foundational elements that help new leaders succeed.

**I am also available to do an LMA workshop as a stand alone management training or one that could serve as a kick-off to a series of management training events. If that is of interest, just email me directly and we can talk about it.

Responsibility or Accountability?

Responsibility or Accountability?

The short answer for any leader working in an EOS® company is – Yes.

But these two words are not equal, and two leadership gurus I respect have pulled me both ways.

Patrick Lencioni included Accountability as layer number four in the pyramid made famous in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Seth Godin muddied the waters for me with a recent post:

Accountability is done to you. It’s done by the industrial system, by those that want to create blame.

Responsibility is done by you. It’s voluntary. You can take as much of it as you want.

Seth Godin – seths.blog.com

First, let’s look at the definition of these words (courtesy of Merriam-Webster):

Responsible (adj) – liable to be called on to answer. Able to answer for one’s conduct and obligations. [Responsibility is the corresponding noun]

Accountable (adj) – subject to giving an account: answerable. Capable of being explained: explainable. [Accountability is the corresponding noun]

merriam-webster.com

The definitions make responsible an individual thing, and accountable being imposed on us. Seth Godin’s point is that the stronger word is responsible because it triggers action inside of us and we take on responsibility for our work. That is what we all want in our kids, our team, our friends . . . right?

In working with dozens of leadership teams as an EOS Implementer®, I don’t agree — especially when we apply this to leadership teams. A culture of accountability will have a greater impact on a team and a company.

In EOS® we stick with the word Lencioni presents us because in the context of a healthy team, accountability becomes the culture of the TEAM. It’s critical to have individual ownership, but having an accountability culture within the team will help get individuals back on track when they start to fail at responsibility. We all get tripped up and fail.

Leaders, imagine how it changes your job when the team drives and supports each other to be accountable!

In the end, we want individuals to be responsible for their work — to have something happen inside of them where they are able and ready to answer to and own their work (responsible). The bigger goal is to have a culture of accountability, starting at the leadership level. The trick is to do that and still have it feel kind, supportive, loving, and trusting, not like the industrial system Godin describes.

Lead well, and look for evidence of responsibility and accountability this week — and recognize it!

The Biggest Barrier to Delegation

The Biggest Barrier to Delegation

I can’t let go of that; if I don’t empty the trash, who will?

These young people have no work ethic; if I don’t mow the lawn, who will do it?

People have to get paid around here; if I don’t double-check all the time sheets, how will it get done?

In my Delegating Greatness post, I share language to listen for and one action to start the work of learning to delegate. The reality is that there’s a first barrier I see leaders struggling with, and that is the fear of letting go. It’s not that you can’t, it’s that you won’t.

We need to be open and honest with ourselves before we even start the journey of delegating and elevating. The risk, if we don’t, is that there will never be any time to lead, or the world of “a genius with a thousand helpers” will continue to exist. If you have more than 5 people in your organization, you can. I will share a story later where I prove that even a seemingly “solo-entrepreneur” did not have that as a barrier.

Whether you think you can or you can’t — you’re right!

Henry Ford

First, I challenge leaders, when teaching the Assistance Track™, to look at their time as being worth somewhere between $100 and $1000 an hour. The next step is to take an open and honest look at all the work they are doing and identify all of the $15 to $30 an hour work. The latter list is the work that someone else needs to do. The aha! for most leaders, if they are open and honest with themselves, is that the people they delegate to are better than them at doing it and they LOVE doing it! The other aha is that when we thank them for helping us and really helping the company stay on track with their work, they feel rewarded because we trust them with something we have always done.

My delegation story had to do with email/scheduling and balancing my checkbook. One requires 1 to 2 hours a day and the other 1 hour a month. In the first quarter of this year, I gave both away — one to my admin lead (Emily) and one to my accounting team (Simply Counted in Holland). The impact was 20 to 30 hours of work per month off my plate. My first action: breathe a little more, work a little less between 6pm and 11pm. My second action: focus on higher value work of spending more time in one-on-one conversations helping clients and building tools to guide leaders through changes the EOS® Journey asks them to make. (FYI — I thought the latter would be the immediate result, but I learned there was a middle step. 🙂 )

Hear yourself say won’t or can’t, and change it to will and can. EOS gives you the tools, and if you need a guide you know where to find me.

Note: If you are not familiar with EOS® or the tools I mentioned, they are all free on the EOS Worldwide website. Here is a little more about me and the EOS® journey, and if you want to learn more let me know and I will send you a free copy of Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman or I am happy to give you ninety minutes of my time to walk you through it.

Delegating Greatness: 8 ways your team will tell you how great you are

Delegating Greatness: 8 ways your team will tell you how great you are

He had a big product launch coming up, and the feedback from his team was clear – you direct me too much and don’t let me do my job. It hurt, and yet it was exactly the nudge he needed because he respected his team and wanted to become more strategic in his role. He made the decision to change, and invited me, as his coach, along for the journey.

Think about yourself as a leader and imagine what you would hear if you asked everyone to give you feedback on the effectiveness of your leadership? Would an issue around delegation emerge?

In my experience coaching leaders and working with leadership teams to implement EOS® in their business, I am invited into the conversation where feedback is given and received. This is a common story in any leadership journey where organizations strive to achieve something more from their business. In all those conversations, delegation is one of the most common barriers that emerges for leaders.

So how do you know if you are delegating effectively? You could do a survey, but I challenge you to take a bolder step and just watch and listen to your team for a week using the Ladder of Control by David Marquet as a lens. The analogy Marquet presents us is a ladder, with the bottom rung being high control by the leader with a corresponding low control by the team member, and the top rung being low control by the leader with high control by the team member.

Words most heard from your people and the corresponding control you are being given or you are exerting:

  1. “Tell me what to do . . ” (high control from the leader)
  2. “I think . . .”
  3. “I recommend . . .”
  4. “Request permission to . . .”
  5. “I intend to . . .”
  6. “I am about to . . .”
  7. “I just did . . .”
  8. “I’ve been doing . . .” (low control from the leader)

Your experiment will take a week of normal work with your team. Make a list of all your people and the statements from Marquet (maybe a matrix). At the end of each day, reflect on what you heard from them that day. If a person used multiple statements/rungs, document which topics they seemed to want more control over and which ones they want to give you control.

Finally, think about your default style and how you responded in your conversations with them.

  • What rung are you most comfortable operating on?
  • What rung does the behavior of your team indicate is how you manage them?
  • Where is the opportunity to shift as a leader to help your team take on greater control and you to let go of control?

In my work with leadership teams implementing EOS® (Entrepreneurial Operating System®), I equip them with tools called Delegate and Elevate™ and the concept of Hitting the Ceiling™ to help navigate this critical leadership change. When it does happen, it becomes such a powerful event for the leader, for the team, and for the business. My passion is “Maximizing growth and minimizing pain, helping people move to and past the tipping point of success.” Let me finish the story I started above to illustrate what this tipping point of success looks and feels like.

We met after the launch was complete, and he reflected how much work it was and how his team had really done some amazing things to get the product out on time and with relatively few issues. In the second set of feedback, his team told him that he had made great improvement in delegating and trusting them. He was not perfect, but our journey had been successful. His smile told me he was proud of himself for becoming the leader he wanted to be – his actions finally aligned with his heart. Smiles with real pride behind them always seem bigger to me.

Listen . . . Lead. Repeat often! ~ Scott

Do you want to explore this topic more deeply and start your own leadership journey to become skilled at delegating? Here are some of my favorites:

  1. The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Ken Blanchard, William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L Wass
  2. Management Time: Who’s Got The Monkey by William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L. Wass (Harvard Business Review Article)
  3. How To Be A Great Boss by Gino Wickman and Rene’ Boer
  4. To explore a process to make delegate and elevate a cultural norm, read Traction: Get a Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman.
12 Nuggets of Wisdom from the EOS Community

12 Nuggets of Wisdom from the EOS Community

I believe all leaders should find a group of people outside their business to help them learn and to keep them grounded and away from the head trash thinking of “it is only me that struggles with this.”

My practice as an implementer is to always attend a QCE (Quarterly Collaborative Exchange) with 200+ other implementers from around the globe. Here are some quick quotes that I brought home which I think you will find helpful and maybe funny as you lead your teams. If any trigger a thought for you that you want to kick around, call me or email to set up a time to talk. As my EOS partners, you are my priority!

  1. Remember to explain what LMA means to all your leaders – especially your younger leaders. The reason is that the urban dictionary defines it as Leave Me Alone!
  2. In the absence of data, the brain makes up a story.
  3. If things are happening in a session that aren’t feeling right, the mirror is a good place to start.
  4. You are as young as your future is bigger than your past.
  5. The last 7 years were the greatest 4 years of my life.
  6. What are the 3 things that I love to do?
  7. A lot of entrepreneurs have a fabulous delegation system, it just goes the wrong way.
  8. Entrepreneurs don’t get freaked out about goals, they get freaked out about deadlines.
  9. It is rare that a company hires to replace a visionary.
  10. Lens for your website: What do you want me to do when I come to it? (then evaluate it)
  11. If you are committed to your customers, you make time to call x each day. (What if x=5 for you? – I met an implementer that does this every day!)
  12. The European countries of Belgium and Italy struggle with the open and honest part of EOS because culturally their conflict style is more indirect, so it takes more time. (If you have operations in Europe, I met an implementer that works all over the continent and could help you roll it out well if you need some advice.)

The Most Valuable Hour in Your Week

The Most Valuable Hour in Your Week

We get busy.

The ‘To-Do’ list on Monday often starts with what was left on Friday. Then the messages start coming in from the people that depend on us for things — boss, peers, customers, kids, spouse, aging parents, our team, and friends. Then we respond like we have on every other Monday — we get to work.

If you stood back and considered your day, how confident are you that you are working on the most important stuff? How confident are you that you are successfully balancing the competing priorities in your life?

I was coaching a highly intelligent and capable leader who was struggling with this feedback: “You are not following up with some of your peers on key work, and are getting the reputation of not following through.” Her life was much like what I described in the first paragraph. I simply asked the question, “How do you prioritize your work when the list gets long?” Her response: “The list is always long, so I just get to work.”

The good news — she did not need marriage counseling, a spa weekend, or even a job change. She just needed to practice managing herself.

For this practice, I asked her to set aside an hour a week to step back, reset her priorities, reset herself, and THINK about the work/business that was being entrusted to her. The result? The top 2-3 priorities started getting done every week, her follow-up was more timely with key peers, and she made time for the important things while letting a few other things go. The feedback from her leader three months later supported the impact: “The sales team is feeling more connected to your work and the impact you are having on our business is exactly what I expected when we hired you.” Her feedback was: “I feel like I am having an impact and I worry/think less about work when I am not there.”

This is a practice Stephen Covey called sharpening the saw, and Gino Wickman calls a clarity break™. The people targeted with this solution are leaders who have big goals, many resources to get focused, and a world that wants a great deal from them because of their position, personal capability, personality, and power. The simple solution? Spend an hour or two a week to reset yourself and make sure you are focusing on the things that matter to you, so the barriers that are getting in the way of your own focus and joy get removed. Is your life more like this last sentence or the first paragraph of this post?

In working with and coaching leaders who live that first paragraph every week, and ironically becoming that person, the only habit I have found that allows us to be our best is to stop doing and spend some time thinking. To work ON our life and take a break from being IN our work. Try it — get away from your desk to a quiet place, turn off your phone, and spend time to review your priorities, think about the people that matter, solve a couple of big issues you or your team has placed in your hands, and plan your return to work with new focus.

I am still working on being 100% successful on that one hour a week,  so expect it to be hard.

Here is a short video where I explain the form I have created for myself to use during my TRU time. This is named after my focus of generating TRUst and facing some of my important TRUths that I want to live by.

Our work as leaders starts with us working on our own clarity, confidence and energy/joy for our work. Start making that a priority this week by practicing a clarity break!

Extra resources to learn more:

3 Reasons Culture Matters

3 Reasons Culture Matters

Lots has been written about the value of a defined and healthy culture in an organization.

In Good to Great, Jim Collins’ research showed great companies had values, everyone knew them, and they were built into everything they did. He also coined the phrase right people in the right seats, which connected the concept of getting people that fit a particular culture (right people) doing the work that fit their natural strengths and passions (right seat). More recently, in their book The Purpose Revolution, John Izzo and Jeff Vanderwielen made the business case that companies having a strong purpose are retaining people, more profitable than their peers, and are making a visible difference in the communities in which they operate. A purpose, cause, or passion can be a key part of defining culture.

My goal in this post is not to debate if culture matters, but to start a conversation about how it can solve some of your challenges and invite you to listen to 5 experts I have lined up to share their wisdom. I hope the outcome is a plan for your business in 2019 to be more intentional about growing the culture.

Here are the three reasons culture matters, based on my time working with successful entrepreneurial leaders and leadership teams:

  1. A defined culture is the only way to attract and retain the right people.  In a yearly survey of leaders using EOS® (Entrepreneurial Operating System®), the number one issue identified that keeps leaders up at night is people. As an EOS Implementer™, I have seen organizations struggle with hiring smart people that take a lot of management time because they treat others so poorly. I have also witnessed the relief that happens – and the amount of great work that starts getting done – when the focus changes to hiring people that align with the values of an organization. A focus on culture makes this happen.
  2. A strong culture is an ethical balance to a ‘profit first’ message.  The lure of more profit takes organizations down a dangerous path. The irony is that most leaders don’t intend that message to be the only thing people hear, but it happens too often. The recent struggles at Wells Fargo and Uber are public examples of this. We all have local businesses that we loved, and then something changed. Over time our experience changes because the people are not excited about working there anymore; how they treat us and the quality of the product/service we receive reflects that shift in culture. Have you had that experience? I have, and when I’ve been in a position to learn more, there was always a leader change who thought the choice was profit or culture, not profit and culture.
  3. It provides a constant reminder to love your neighbor.  A big topic in the United States is coming together, despite our differences, to solve big problems facing us. In my book, People-Centered Performance, I share my belief in more love and less fear in our work relationships because love takes you farther. I don’t mean the sexual version of love that is represented by the Latin word for love, eros. The unconditional love of family (agape) or friendship (philia) are the bonds that get created when we treat each other in a way that places value on how we treat our neighbor/teammate at work. A defined culture enables this.

Do any of these reasons resonate with you? As you look to 2019, where do people and culture fit into your goals?  What is your plan to get there?

The goal of my upcoming culture series is to present the concept of culture in a way that any one of you can identify some actions to do tomorrow to cultivate and build a stronger culture in your organization. Now is the time to start thinking about this, before the holiday hits and the personal resolutions cloud our minds. If you have not signed up to receive the series, join the mailing list here. I adhere to international standards related to personal information and spam, so at any point I make unsubscribe as easy as subscribe.

If you care about the culture of your team and organization, I guarantee the conversations with our panel of experts (Rich Sheridan, Jeff Disher, Matt Jung, Mandy Brower, and Amy Kraal) will help you become more of a Chief Culture Officer than just whatever title you have today.

The first post comes out on November 13th – Sign-up here to receive the blog post in your inbox!