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  • Writer's pictureBrett Jaffe

The Secret to Running Productive Meetings

According to Atlassian, the typical employee attends 62 meetings per month, considers nearly half of that time wasted, amounting for 31 hours spent in unproductive meetings EVERY MONTH.

The higher up you get, the worse it gets, with upper management spending nearly 50% of their time in meetings.

In fact, unproductive meetings account for over $37 Billion in salary costs for U.S. Businesses.

The secret?  The EOS Level 10 Meeting™

Simply put, a weekly Level 10 meeting is one in which the attendees will rate a “10” at the conclusion of each meeting (on a scale from 1-10).  It keeps you focused on what’s most important, helps you spot developing problems, and drives you to solve them.  It also helps you optimize meeting efficiency and prevents you from going down the rabbit hole of tangents and old meeting habits.  It is a far more disciplined way of running a weely meeting with your management team.

How is the Level 10 meeting structured?

A Level 10 meeting is a 90-minute weekly meeting, at the exact same time each week, starting and ending ON TIME.  This is a KEY CONCEPT that builds routine and prevents an unstructured meeting from impeding on the rest of your day.  The objective is to quickly report on the status of each department, identify key issues, prioritize, and solve as many as possible in the allotted time.  The agenda is elegantly simple and will keep the meeting on track:

Segue: 5 mins.  Each leader presents a positive personal update and professional update to the group.  This starts the meeting on a positive note to set the right energy level for a productive meeting and helps transition from working “in” the business to working “on” the business.

Scorecard: 5 mins.  Think of this like speed reporting.  Each member presents their weekly scorecard numbers and whether they are on track or off track to hit the expected targets.  It is important that this is not a time for discussion as that is carried to the issues track.

Rock Review: 5 mins.  Another speed reporting session, this time focusing on status of your “rocks”, which are the quarterly objectives set by each member to accomplish before the next company quarterly meeting.  Issues that are flushed out here are brought to the issues track.

Customer and Employee Headlines: 5 mins.  Each member briefly shares customer or employees successes or concerns the team needs to be aware of, with successes celebrated and issues carried down to the issues track.

To Do List: 5 mins. After each meeting, leaders emerge with a to-do list to be accomplished before the next Level 10 meeting.  This portion is designed to eliminate the accountability problem for team members making a commitment to solve a problem or follow-up on an item from the previous meeting.  The goal is 90% completion.

Issues Solving: 60 mins.  This is the real meat of the weekly Level 10 meeting and where you really start to make progress week-to-week.  Here your team will list out all current issues, including those identified in the previous steps, and then prioritize the top 3 issues for each week.  Some weeks you may only get through one issue, while others you may knock off several (reprioritizing the remainder after you solve the top 3).  The goal is not to attempt the impossible by solving every company problem each week (a recipe for failure), but rather make measurable progress week to week.

The Issues Solving track follows a process called IDS:  Identify, Discuss, Solve.  Through this process you can really get to the heart of ech issue, find a permanent solution, and agree to actions on making the issue go away.

  • Identify – This is getting to the root of the actual issue, which may be an actual issue or a symptom of a larger problem.  This is key to really taking the right next steps.

  • Discuss – The group should discuss the issue and share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns without politicking (defending their stance repeatedly).

  • Solve – The group must agree to the steps to solve the problem. This may lead to more To Do items, but each item needs to have an owner who is committing to completing that item before the next meeting.  Indecision is not an option.

Conclude: 5 mins.  This is where the To Do list is recapped and each one is assigned an owner, any cascading messages to others in the organization are listed as a To Do to relay, and each member rates the meeting from 1-10, with a minimum of 8 being the objective (and a 10 not indicating a perfect meeting, but rather one that accomplished what it needed to do).

Final keys to a successful Level 10 meeting

Meeting Pulse.  Each weekly meeting should be on the same day, at the same time, have the same agenda, and start/end ON TIME.  Routine is KEY.  Do NOT skip meetings.  These meetings need to be treated as sacred!

Meeting Leader.  Each meeting should have a leader/guide to take the team though the agenda each week and record the issues, To Do list, and action items at the end of each meeting.  This does not always need to be the business owner (and often is not) but does need somebody with discipline and organization to keep it on track.

Be open and honest.  Disagreements are inevitable, but the Level 10 meetings are most productive when team members can openly discuss their views, without judgment.  It also means that you are most likely to unite behind the agreed upon solutions or actions when all viewpoints are considered.


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About Six Keys Group

We take businesses through a process of Vision, Strategy, Execution, and Impact through a combined approach encompassing meeting facilitation, teaching, 1-on-1 coaching, and consulting.  There are some key business tenets found in major operating systems including Scaling Up and EOS along with unique needs of each business where we draw from various strategic sources.



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