What is The Level 10 Meeting™, and Why You Need It?

How many times have you been in meetings that are boring, unproductive, unfocused and complete time wasters?  Do you have meetings that are dominated by strong personalities while half the people fiddle with their smartphones? Poor meetings are everywhere.  That’s why you need The Level 10 Meeting agenda.

Bad meetings can be witnessed in businesses, schools, governments, and pretty much anywhere people are gathered for a common purpose.  Have you ever been in a bad meeting?  If you are like me, way more than I can possibly count.

The sad reality is bad meetings just make you normal. It is important to realize that there is hope for more engaging, focused and productive meetings.  The Level 10 Meeting agenda is your secret sauce to better meetings.  With this in mind, it will take courage and discipline to banish poor meetings from your life.

It is also important to understand that meetings are an essential ingredient to your business operating system.  Your business operating system is designed to predictably grow your revenue and you can’t do that without meetings.

What are the Ground Rules For a Great Meeting?

The best meetings in the world have a few common characteristics.  The first is that they actually start on time!  How many conference calls, video conferences, coffee meetings and in person meetings have you been to that someone or everyone shows up late?  I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me.  Embarrassingly, I’ve been late a few times myself.

A Great Meeting Starts on Time and Ends on Time

Rule #1, meetings must start on time.  Rule #2 is that a great meeting ends on time.  Wow!  What a concept!  Most meetings don’t end on time, and as a result, meetings start running over each other.  Your meetings need to end on time, every time.  Again, I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve attended that last forever, sometimes hours past the allotted time.  This habit makes for terrible meetings.

A Great Meeting is on the Same Day and at the Same Time

Next, Rule #3, the meeting should be on the same day each week if you are having a weekly status meeting with your team.  This will allow planning and stop the random “client issues”.  We’ve all heard excuses for not making a weekly team meeting.  Most often, it’s something about the client coming first, blah, blah, blah.  If you have a regular weekly meeting that you plan for, I guarantee your client can wait 90 minutes for your team meeting. Rule #4, goes with Rule #3, that the meeting be at the same time each week.  Again, this allows for planning and eliminates the excuses for not attending.  You know the day and time of the meeting each week.  If you or someone on the team is constantly chasing client issues instead of connecting with the team you know there is an issues somewhere.

A Great Meeting Has the Same Agenda

Your meetings need to be planned before you meet.  I know it sounds strange, but you should have a set agenda for your weekly meetings as well as your off-line meetings.  The Level 10 Meeting agenda is designed to have three major sections.  First is the reporting section, then the issues solving section, and finally, the conclusion.  The ideal meeting duration at the leadership team level is 90 minutes.

Reporting Segue 5 Minutes
Scorecard Review 5 Minutes
Rock Review 5 Minutes
Customer/Employee Headlines 5 Minutes
To-Do List Review 5 Minutes
Issue Solving IDS List (Issues Solving) 60 Minutes
Conclusion Conclude: 5 Minutes
Cascading Messages
Recap To-Do List
Rating (1-10)

What the Heck is a Segue?

A meeting segue is your teams transition from all the day-to-day activities to start working “on” the business.  Please, please, please, I beg you to turn off your phones during the meeting.  Don’t try to be sneaky texting under the table.  We all see you.

Even a short 2-second vibration on a table will throw the energy of the room off and you will lose focus.  You’ll be thinking about who is contacting you instead of solving your biggest company issues.  What a waste!  Don’t do it.

During the segue portion of the meeting agenda, each person shares one good thing personal and one good thing professional.  Sometimes the check-in even produces issues for the issues list.  Everyone must share something.  This is a team health activity as much as a transition.  However, don’t make this boring and trite over time.  Keep it interesting. Every once in a while switch it up to your favorite movie, drink, sports team, food, whatever.

No aspect of The Level 10 Meeting agenda should be boring.  As Patrick Lencioni says, “Your meetings should be passionate, intense, exhausting, and never boring.”

What Gets Measured Gets Done

The next agenda item in The Level 10 Meeting agenda is a Scorecard Review.  This is where you review an activities based scorecard that lets you feel a complete sense of control over the business.  This is where you know that all your numbers are on track and, therefore, you will meet your quarterly goals.  Any scorecard measurable that is off-track, you will drop down to your IDS List for later processing.

The idea here is to prioritize and solve all your issues to get your measurables back on track. During your review, you should just be saying “on-track” or “off-track”.  It takes discipline to not talk about measurables during the review.

Most often, when people start talking about “off-track” scorecard items, what follows is a stream of excuses and history lessons.  This is not a productive use of time.  Even if you jump into solving the issue, you may be processing an issues that isn’t the most important thing to solve that week.

Review Your Quarterly Goals Weekly

Once you complete your scorecard review, you are going to review your Rocks for the quarter.  Rocks are your 90-day projects that you’ve selected during your quarterly planning meeting.  During your Rock Review, you read off your company rocks and the owner of the Rock just states “on-track” or “off-track”.  Any “off-track” Rock or Rocks that the team wants to know more about gets put on the IDS List.  Your IDS List is a living, breathing section of the agenda. Again, you want to limit discussion and issues solving during the reporting section of The Level 10 Meeting.  Keep the review tight.  This will help the keep create habits necessary to drive accountability throughout the organization.

Making Sure All Your People are Happy

The customer/employee headline portion of the meeting agenda is designed primarily to make sure all your people are happy and you can keep them that way.  This is where you can air your customer and employee complaints, smoke out any issues, and drop them down to the IDS List.  I like to say that these should be kept short.  Think Google News headlines.  Very short headline with a sentence or two at the most.  If you do something like Engagement Multiplier or Net Promoter this would be a great time to address any of those issues.

Review Your To-Do List from Last Weeks Meeting

Reviewing your To-Do List is a review of all the things you needed to get done in the last 7-days that will get all your stuff back on track.  In addition, the list contains any commitments people made throughout the week.

About 90% of your To-Do’s should be dropping off every week during this review.  The person who own’s each To-Do will simply say “done” or “not-done”.  Make sure that your To-Do’s are written in S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) language.

The entire team should be clear when something is actually done or not done. Having a To-Do List where everyone is doing what they said they would (90%+ of the time) in a 7-day period will change your life.

You will make more progress, you will solve your issues faster, and ultimately you will execute on your vision.  You entire ability to reach your goals rests on your ability to complete your weekly To-Do’s.

Solve Your Issues and Get Everything Back on Track

Issues are the best thing that has ever happened to your business.  Seriously.  You are being presented with pure gold to execute your vision.  The obstacles is the way.  In the Level 10 Meeting agenda, you will spend at least 50% of your time solving your issues as a team.  The following is a quick description of the IDS process.  IDS stand for Identify, Discuss, and Solve.  Your IDS List is built from all your off-track “stuff”.  Off-track scorecard items, off-track Rocks, customer/employee issues you need to deal with, etc.

  1. Prioritize your top 3 most important issues
  2. Start with #1 and IDS
    1. Identify – dig down to the root cause of the issue
    2. Discuss – discuss all the potential solutions, ideas and strategies to solve the issue
    3. Solve – solve the issue with 1-3 To-Do’s that will solve the issue or at least put the first actions in place
  3. Move to issue #2 and repeat step 2 for all 60 minutes

Conclude the Meeting and Get Better and Better Each Week

Finally, you need to end every meeting with a great conclusion.

The first step is to recap your entire To-Do List.  Make sure that nothing slipped through the cracks and that everyone has their marching orders for the week.

Next, you need to discuss cascading messages.  This is simply creating a quick plan on any messages you need to send to other teams within the organization or outside.  Just decide on who you need to talk to, what are you doing to tell them, and how are you going to tell them.

The last step in concluding the meeting is to rate the meeting on a scale of 1 to 10.  10 being the best on how you did as a team.  Any rating less than an 8, you have to give a reason why and state how it could have been a 10.  This will allow your team to course correct and get better and better over time.

My teams rate meetings in all sorts of ways.  I have some clients where literally anything is a 10.  Then, I have teams where an 8 is really a 10, a 9 is perfection and a 10 is a flying, purple unicorn.  They’ve never seen one and don’t expect to.  Every team is different.

The Level 10 Meeting Agenda will Change Your Life

My personal opinion is that having a weekly Level 10 Meeting with your team is the cornerstone of strategy execution.  It is where you will make the most progress towards executing your vision, solving all your issues and keeping everyone accountable for their results. If you’d like to know more about how to run a world class meeting book a 25-minute call with a Certified EOS Implementer.