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:
- 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.
- 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.