IDS Like a Rock Star

IDS Like a Rock Star

Problem solving as a leadership team is the one of the most important skills you can build because the organization needs you to do it so the issues that get identified during your EOS® journey get solved. It is also critical as you cascade your L10 meetings that you facilitate it well to help all your people master the skill of IDS.

The reality, I see some teams do this really well, and yet I see others struggle with this. At my recent quarterly with all my EOS peers, Mike Paton did a deep dive on IDS that I wanted to review with you. Here are some key tips.

  1. Core Activity #1: Do the L10 Meeting Well –  Remember, the basic structure of the L10 with a scorecard, rock, people headlines, and To Do review should generate a strong issues list each day, including the brainstorm before IDS where the team bring other issues to consider. If this is not happening regularly the team needs to step up.
  2. Core Activity #2: Prioritize your issues to identify your top 3 first – Start with one, and don’t move on to #2 until the question is asked of the person that brought up the issue: Are we solved on this issue? and the next steps (usually a To Do) is documented).

Here are some tips from Mike Paton (past Visionary at EOS)

  1. Great IDS is not: 1) like a suggestion box in a lunchroom – throw a bunch of ideas in there and then never talk about them  2) A shoot the messenger activity – in a culture of courage people bring up tough things, stay to contribute to IDS, and work to solve the issue. Do you see that?
  2. Identify Best Practice #1: Ask lots of questions in I to get to the real issue – After the person bringing the issue up states the root cause of the issue in a single sentence, use these questions to drill down to the root cause:
    1. What is the REAL issue?
    1. I hear you saying the problem, what is the root cause?
    1. Can you restate that in a single sentence that focuses on the real issue?
    1. Tell me a little more about that?
    1. Could you unpack that a little more for us?
  3. Identify Best Practice #2: Use the EOS mode – The root cause of almost every issue is weakness in one of the core components of EOS. Go to the EOS model and ask: Is the root cause a weakness in the  Vision component? The People component? The Data component? The Issues component? The Process component? The Traction component? Once you get an answer go back to #2 and dig to the root cause. (I am having a local shop make a printed copy of a dry erase board that will have the model on it. if you want one email me.)
  4. Identify Best Practice #3: Be visual – Write all the Issue statement on a board. It is that simple and will help your teams focus on the root cause.

Here are some other tips:

  • Discuss: If it is going too long you are either 1) Not solving the real issue or 2) Not being open or honest 3) Repeating opinions/politicking  4) On a tangent (say Tangent Alert!)
  • Discuss: Some humorous statements to keep statements focuses: Your plane is running low on fuel so we need to land it.  Thank you Governor (their name), but you are not answering the question we are trying to answer.
  • Solve: Based on our accountability chart – who should know the answer? Look to that person to summarize the solution or next steps based on the discussion.
  • Stalling for more info: When people are asking for more info 90% of the time they are just stalling. Go to the staller, ask specifically what info they need, and ask if they would be willing to go get it. Make it a To Do if you have time, or if a decision needs to be made the Integrator is the tie breaker.

As you cascade your L10’s to your teams, remember to work hard to refine their skills in IDS. Teach, coach, and facilitate to the model I presented above. One thing I realized from Paton’s presentation is that I need to tighten up my own skills in our quarterlies so that you see an example of great IDS facilitation as you challenge yourself to grow in that area.

As always, if you want me to attend an L10 let me know. Another best practice is to have an outside leader attend your L10 to give you feedback, and maybe help you facilitate some of your IDS topics to strengthen this skill.

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.

EOS®: Especially for Integrators – 1 Nugget

EOS®: Especially for Integrators – 1 Nugget

1 Nugget from the EOS Conference

Your busy, so let me keep this brief and focused. . . . 

Last week I attended the 100% virtual EOS Conference and it was great. More to come next month from the speakers and sessions, but I wanted to share one thing with you. Here is a link to a document called Integrating through a Crisis Checklist that was part of a session delivered by Don Tinney and Kelly Knight (past and current EOS World Wide Integrators). Take a look, and if you want to take a deeper dive on anything just call me and we can talk through it on the phone with my notes handy.

Also – You saw my note to your teams around clarity breaks, so if there is anything I can do to help your teams successfully adopt this practice let me know. In addition, here are the other two role specific notes I sent out this month to help develop your team:

  1. Visionary – 3 Tips for Increasing Your ON The Business Time
  2. Finance / HR – Using Your Fact Finder Unique Ability to Help Your Team

   (tip: I post all of my monthly notes in my blog so I can use them later to support development in my clients)

Make sure you talk with them a little to see if this note triggered any action for them, and if it did please help support them in following through on it.

Here to help ~ Scott

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
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.

Honest Listening

Honest Listening

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

Stephen R. Covey

I heard this quote a couple of weeks ago and for the first time I understood. I have carried it around as a lens for myself for the last few weeks and it has changed several conversations for me – for the better.

Try an experiment ~ write it on a post-it, on the top of some meeting agendas, or any other way to remind you of it as you interact with others. Let me know what you notice: scott@thetrugroup.com

Honesty Quote

Honesty Quote

A great nugget that I wanted to share with you today. A quote from a friend around the sharing of difficult truths:

Truth without love is mean.

Love without truth is a lie.

Rodger Price, Leading by DESIGN

One of my core beliefs is fear only motivates for the short term, but love motivates for the long term. (p. 20 – People-Centered Performance)

There is lots being written about honesty today, and I want to make sure no leaders in my community forget the Love part, because the outcome is tragic to a relationship.

Lead well!

Strategic Time: Are you at 10%?

Strategic Time: Are you at 10%?

How much time do you, as a leader, spend on the strategic work of your business?

Wondering what strategic work is? First, here is what it’s not:

  1. Simply being in a room with your peer leaders and your team leader: Harvard Business Review (Stop Wasting Valuable Time by Michael Mankins) did a study on leadership teams and found 65% of them focused on talking at each other with information and not with each other to solve the biggest issues for the organization.
  2. Building an agenda with what the team wants to talk about: When studying leadership teams and how they structured meetings, the outcome was 3 hours per month spent on strategic issues. Ever been in a meeting where ‘input into your area’ or ‘issues being raised about your team/group’ ended up in you defending your team with the outcome being low trust, no decision, and multiple people leaving feeling like ‘that was a waste of time’? Be honest – given the choice, we build agendas that keep people ‘out of our business’ and don’t invite their input and help.

The solution is actually pretty simple, and yet not easy because too many leadership teams don’t fit the description of healthy (a cohesive, functional, open and honest, fun-loving team that enjoys working together).

Here is what strategic work is:

Weekly

  • Getting into a room each week to do a quick review of the health of the business (metrics and people/customer stories)
  • Providing an open and honest update to peers on the status of the big work for that quarter (we call them Rocks in EOS) and closing the loop on all the things people committed to doing after last week’s meeting
  • Picking 1 to 3 big issues the team feels need to get addressed and fixing them
  • Leaving with a clear idea of things to do, messages to cascade, how effective the meeting was, and what we can do next week to make it more effective

Quarterly

  • Spending a day together reviewing the long-term plan, getting on the same page around the progress to the plan for the year, updating the biggest issues/obstacles/opportunities for the year, putting a new 90-day plan in place for what has to get done, and solving a few big issues
  • Doing a fun activity together where work is NOT the topic, but connecting with each other on a more personal level is

Yearly

  • Getting away to do the quarterly work in a longer term way

It is always about spending time on the important things, and it begins with a commitment to spending 10% of your time being more strategically focused as a team. This quote showed up today in my inbox and I hope it challenges the excuse I hear most often from leaders when I share a picture of strategic time:

“I don’t have the time.” …almost always means, “this is not a priority.”

Seth Godin – sethgodin.com

If your team is spending too little time on strategic stuff or you want to step back and really look at your time, here are two great lenses to help you:

  1. Stop Wasting Valuable Time by Michael C. Mankins
  2. Read pp. 165 – 198 in Traction: Get a Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman

Time is a gift, so use it for the most important things. I hope this helps start a great conversation with your leadership team.

Listen . . . Lead. Repeat often!