One-on-ones: Yes or No?

One-on-ones: Yes or No?

In EOS – One-on-ones . . . Yes or No?

I have been getting this question lately, and so I want to answer it for all.

First, my early clients will attest that I was a pro one-on-one and EOS® person. After implementing EOS® with 30+ clients I have learned a few things:

  1. The most important time for interaction and feedback between leader/manager and team members are:
    1. Weekly connect points (L10 or set time with team)
    2. Quarterly 5-5-5™ (feedback / check-in conversation)
    3. Regular (never missed) same-page meetings between Visionary/Integrator
  2. Too often one-on-ones are used because team members don’t want to bring up issues in the L10.

If you are currently doing them and want to keep doing them, here are three tips to make sure they are having a positive impact on team health (building capacity for honesty, vulnerability-based trust, and teamwork) and alignment.

3 tips for keeping one-on-ones from derailing team health and making the Integrators job harder than it should be:

  1. Any issue brought up that involves teamwork with a peer should either: 1) go to the L10 Issues list, or 2) become a To Do to take the issue directly to the person who can help solve it.  If it is a conflict that needs the Integrator to be involved to solve it, then make it a Personal Issues Solving Session™ (see toolbox in your LT manual). In a healthy team this should almost never happen.
  2. Agenda should reflect what the team member needs. Just like the 5-5-5, the individual and not the leader should own the agenda.
  3. Objective should be to work to a point where these get less frequent or end altogether.

Situations where one-on-ones have been used effectively by EOS leaders I have worked with:

  1. New team member: having them weekly/bi-weekly for 3 to 6 months helps keep their onboarding plan (you all have one, right?) on-track and deals with any issues more quickly.
  2. Struggling leaders: more frequent check-ins for coaching and support helps leaders through a difficult situation, which is sometimes warranted.
  3. New leader: if you are a new leader to the team, these might be an effective way for your team to educate you on what they do, the decisions they face, and even gets you out to tour their operation on a regular basis for a while to learn the business.

I have come to see one-on-ones as not needed if all of the other EOS tools and habits are in place. If you do one-on-ones and want to come to an organizational agreement on when/how they will be used, put it on the IDS list and solve it at an L10 or an upcoming quarterly/annual.
Whatever you do, remember One Team, One Voice – so move together on whatever you decide.

Lead well! ~ Scott

EOS Integrators: Everyone should be in a great weekly meeting

EOS Integrators: Everyone should be in a great weekly meeting

Special topic for EOS Integrators

In recent meetings with a few clients—in one case doing a lunch and learn with some key managers around the L10 Meeting™—I have realized that a key learning has been missed. The concept of cascading L10 meetings has transformed into a belief that everyone has to be in an L10. In some cases, even every meeting must be an L10.

Here are the basics, and I go back to the Organizational Check-up that we review at every annual:

               Question 13: Everyone is engaged in regular weekly meetings.

The concept is that we use great meetings to keep everyone connected to the changing priorities of the business and provide an opportunity for messages and issues to be quickly cascaded up and down your accountability chart.

Some meetings will not fit the L10 format and that is okay, just review the points made in your Off-Line Meeting Track tool and make sure that it is still designed to be a great meeting for all attending.

If I can ever be a resource for your team please let me know – I love the interaction and it helps me hear what is working and not working in helping the leadership team achieve EOS Mastery.

Lead well . . . . ~ Scott
Especially for Visionaries: 3 Things to Watch and Listen for Now

Especially for Visionaries: 3 Things to Watch and Listen for Now

Your team needs you to help them make some critical shifts

In the last 3 months I have found myself repeating the same question: When you look around the organization do you see the team playing more defense or offense? One thing I have observed in some organizations because of the recent crisis, is a shift of things like cash, PPP, employee safety to the top of our list, and things like lead generation, client check-ins, and many of the activities that drive sales and deeper customer relationships have stopped.

the visionary for your organization, I challenge you to do the following 3 things over the next few weeks:

  1. Watch the organization(including your own activities): Do you see more defense or offense from the team?
  2. With your Integrator (at your same page meeting) take a look at your leadership team: Which departments are working well together and which ones actually had more communication/coordination issues over the past few months? Get it on the issue list and let’s work to solve it.
  3. Take a look at your accountabilities as the visionary: Are you spending enough time doing these? If not put it on the issues list and IDS it with the team so that you can get back to the big things your organization needs from you to grow and thrive. If they see you playing offense it will help them find the time and courage to make their own shift.  

Spend the next few weeks really watching and listening to your organization. Put some time in your clarity break to do some thinking about the culture and future of your leadership team and organization, and challenge things that need to be challenged. That is what the visionary does, and the organization needs you to put some of these unique abilities into action. As always, let me know how I can help.Lead well . . . . ~ Scott

Consider attending the 2021 EOS Conference in Houston next year. I attended the most recent one (it was virtual) and I was super impressed with the content and organization. It had all the passion I would expect from putting a bunch of EOS leaders in a facility for a couple of days. Here is the link if you want to check it out.

Integrators – One Tip for Strengthening EOS® In Your Business

Integrators – One Tip for Strengthening EOS® In Your Business

Consider using EOS® Software

I recently got some feedback from a couple integrators that using an EOS specific software has helped them immensely in their EOS launch, and some challenged me on why I don’t encourage new clients to consider implementing it when they launch EOS®. I originally believed doing it without technology first would result in a stronger understanding of the EOS tools and the process.  

Stepping back and really thinking about it, I was wrong and they are right, because I see clients being more effective using EOS when they use the software.  Although there is a cost to it, I have seen enough to believe there is a strong ROI for it. So as you ramp the business back up, here are some benefits I see with clients who have a software solution in place:

  1. More organized – With simple things link a timer on every section, being able to generate To Do’s/Issues easily, and one place for all the core tools, there is never any wasted time searching for information.
  2. Do EOS better – IDS, finishing To Do’s, increased accountability on rocks, and communication between teams are all things I see. The EOS process is built into the software, so teams develop those habits faster.
  3. Virtual L10’s and quarterlies – My teams that have had to go virtual have given me lots of feedback that these tools have helped make that easy. The tools have recently added functionality that makes virtual quarterlies easier. As Emily and I have done our L10’s on the phone while accessing the software, I have definitely experienced this first hand.
  4. Cascading core tools is easier and more effective – Issues can be pushed down to other L10 meetings or they can push them up to your meeting. As the integrator, you will see this and can inspect all the other L10’s to get a pulse on how other teams are doing. If you value being able to listen to your organization, this might be your ROI justification all by itself. With employee safety being a big topic in the coming months, pushing issues up quickly and effectively is going to be very important.
  5. Your time – As the integrator, the highest and best use of your time is not organizing meetings and reporting (remember our discussion about $15-$20/hr work vs $100 – $1000/hr work?). This will save someone on your team at least 30 minutes a week and likely add more IDS time to your meetings based on what I have seen.

I am not compensated by either company for this, so which one you choose is up to you. I use Ninety.io mainly because Emily was already using it with another implementer she supports so it was easy. I am glad to connect you with another EOS company using either tool if you have questions.

Lead well . . . . ~ Scott

Take a look at either tool: Ninety.io or Traction Tools, and if you want to connect with the implementer at an organization running one of these tools just send me a note.

2021 EOS Conference – I had a chance to attend the most recent conference for EOS Companies (it was virtual) and I thought it was very well done and worth the time. The conference next year is in Houston and I encourage you to consider it. Here is the link, so check it out and at our upcoming quarterlies let me know if you have any questions.

Clarity Breaks!

Clarity Breaks!

#confidence #clarity #focus #gettingbacktoourbestself

I recently had a conversation with a visionary, and I ended it with the question, What else can I do to support you? His response – Anything you could do to encourage our team to continue their clarity breaks™ would be really helpful. He went on to say that they had all started doing them, and while the team was enjoying the new habit and experiencing the value, he worried they would stop.

Instead of getting preachy with you, let me share some feedback from two EOS® leaders I work with.

  1. In his blog post, The Power of the Clarity Break, Mike Kren (Operations – Bizstream) shares his journey from thinking Who has time for that?! to the realization that In the extremely fast-paced and busy world we live in, it is important to take time to relax and refocus no matter what you do for a living. Here is Mike’s full post.
  2. After just starting the clarity break habit as the assignment from our discussion on the LMA tool, Kelly Plawinski (Integrator – Adamy Valuation) shared: Yesterday’s clarity break lead to a breakthrough on something I have been pondering for a while no. Love it!!!

It has been called lots of different things, and if you have investigated mindfulness, been a regular at the practice of yoga or meditation, or read extensively in the self-help section of a bookstore, this is not a new topic. It is also a topic that was recommended by the likes of Stephen Covey and Peter Drucker.

The pushback I get from you most often is that your clarity break is in a pool or on a run. My response is always the same – it only counts if you document some sort of actions after so your thinking time results in increased clarity, confidence, and focus that you feel and the people around you see/experience in your actions. Keep exercising, taking breaks during the day, and days you unplug from the office, but those are not clarity breaks.

As things go fast, and the uncertainty results in you spending lots of time doing the things you don’t like to do (scrounging for cash, being ignored by customers, furloughing or firing team members, etc.) it is easy to get stuck. My passionate plea is to take care of yourself and stay focused, and clarity breaks are designed and endorsed for doing just that. If you need a reminder, take a look at page 25 in your Leadership Team manual or page 73 in How To Be A Great Boss by Gino Wickman and Rene Boer. If you don’t have either of these email me and I will send you copies.

Let me leave you with a great quote to ponder:

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it.

Henry Ford


Stay healthy! . . .  and lead from that healthy place. ~ Scott

A few of extra links for continued learning:

  1. A video I made describing my clarity break. Don’t copy me, make it yours!
  2. Blog post: 5 Tips for Building Resilience (and we are all going to need more of it)
  3. NEW: A video from some of my experienced peers – some great tips and learnings! It is called Clarity Breaks in a Crisis, so it is very focused on the conditions you are leading in today.
5 Tips for Building Resilience (and we are all going to need more of it)

5 Tips for Building Resilience (and we are all going to need more of it)

I am not an infectious disease specialist or an economist, but I am confident in predicting that our current challenges will require us to have resilience. The thing I have learned about resilience is you either have it or you have to build it. The only reason I don’t give a third option (not having it) is that I believe we all want to have it, so I am not letting you off on this one!

The good news, resilience is built. The bad news, the process of building it is hard because it is not a lesson that comes from a book but from our own experience.

As I look back at my own blogs, I realized that was a big topic for me in 2011. It was my second full year of operating my own consulting practice and it was my hardest year, both financially and emotionally. A friend of mine who is a pastor once told me that if you listen to sermons of people you can always tell what they struggle with the most because it becomes a theme that shows up often in their sermons. 2011 was my year for growth and pain, and it is obvious because I blogged about it a lot. As I look back, I realize I learned some important lessons through that season of my life. These lessons have become the foundation of a strength in me that has allowed me to see experience the current events in a very different way than 2011. To save you from reading all the posts, here are 5 lessons to help you grow your own resilience:

  1. Resilience can be built: The US military put millions of dollars behind research and a program to help equip leaders with the tools they need to demonstrate resilience in their lives and leadership. The steps are simple, but not necessarily easy. We should all review them and practice them over the coming months. (blog #2 below)
  2. Learn to measure your current state: For me, it became a simple formula: Hope > Fear + Anger + Despair + Frustrations + Worry + Hunger + Mistrust + fill in the blank. (blog #1)
  3. Find a friend: Being alone with a big life challenge is not a good place to stay. Go find a friend. If you see someone experiencing one of life’s top 3 stressful situations (death, divorce, job loss) seek them out. (blog #3)
  4. Schedule recovery time: A secret we all need to learn is finding a way for each of us to reflect and recover along our journey. Resilience is a marathon, not a sprint, so have the courage to carve out this time for yourself. (blog #3 and #4)
  5. Practice transparency: Everyone gets knocked off balance by life. The resilient ones are just skilled at getting back to center. The best thing for everyone, leaders included, is to be transparent about their challenges so people feel safe to admit they need help. Transparent conversations are the key to this. (blog #5)

Starting this journey requires us to reframe our setbacks into opportunities. A friend recently shared some wisdom with me. They have two questions they review several times a week: Why is this a gift to me? What is it offering that I don’t see? I now have both of those questions on my computer screen and a ponder them often. After all, there is no such thing as being too resilient!

Lead well, and from a healthy place!

Here are the posts from 2011 that will help you take a deeper dive into the points above.

  1. The Resilience Formula – for Leaders . . . for Followers      
  2. Resilience – What We Can Learn from the Military
  3. Developing Resilience – 4 Ways to Process the Pain
  4. Silence and Resilience
  5. Resilience – The discussion starts (and continues) with transparency
  6. Resilience – 4 Steps to NOT make it another initiative
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

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.

Honest Listening: What Peter says and one practice

Honest Listening: What Peter says and one practice

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.

Peter Drucker

When she walked into my office, she was clearly nervous. We had worked together for six months. In the next five minutes, she shared a very personal medical condition, how the treatment would take her out of work, and her concerns about her job and her health. There were tears.

I heard the words – and knew the next step was to leverage the policies we had in place to help all of our people get the same level of support and organizational compassion.

Somewhere in those five minutes, I heard some other unspoken messages:

  • I want to be a mom more than anything
  • I am scared
  • I love this job
  • I trust you to help me Scott, that is why I am sharing this

Within the unspoken words is the space where empathy happens, where we get to really understand what matters to people, and where the passions and fears exist that help us truly know someone.

The next time you have a conversation, listen for the unspoken messages. What do you notice? This is the real practice of honest listening, and it takes putting them first.

Honest Listening: The data behind psychological noise, and 1 experiment

Honest Listening: The data behind psychological noise, and 1 experiment

I was listening to a speaker recently who shared some startling statistics on our brain activity:

  • We all have 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day
  • 95 – 98% are the same we had the day before

So I tried an experiment: at the end of every day, I wrote down the thoughts that seemed to be clogging up my brain during that day. The kind of thoughts that I kept thinking about, but did nothing about. As an EOS® implementer, I have been taught by Gino Wickman to call this stuff head trash.

Funny thing happened – after writing down the head trash each evening, I slept better, and after a few days those thoughts became a lot less prominent in my daily 70,000.