Makarios Consulting Blog

Getting Rid of Pesky Elephants: The Level 10 Meeting™

You have your ‘Rocks’ (near-term priorities) and your weekly scorecard in place, keeping you focused and giving you incredibly valuable data. Now what?

Enter the Level 10 Meeting, which is a tool we teach our clients who use the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®). This agenda format helps leadership teams focus on resolving tough issues in their weekly leadership team meetings, rather than just reciting reports.

We highly recommend reading author Gino Wickman’s groundbreaking book, Traction, to learn more about how to run your meetings in a very powerful way each week and make your meetings a “10” (a great meeting, rated on a scale of one to 10). As you get better at applying the disciplines built into the “Level-10” meeting, you’ll likely see your meeting ratings rise and you will gain increased traction in your business each week. We’ve personally seen this meeting format work well at every level of an organization.

One critical takeaway for effective management meetings is this: your primary purpose for the meeting is to resolve issues. As you review your scorecard, update progress on your Rocks, and review current assignments and deliverables, it is also critical that you make a running ‘issues list.’

You should spend a majority of the meeting resolving those issues. Start with the most critical issues, which we like to call ‘elephants in the room.’ We all know what they are! They are the problems everyone knows exist, but no one wants to address. They are large, powerful, and trampling the potential success of your business.

Most people are tempted to solve the little problems first, because they can be resolved quickly. This is not like tackling your home-improvement list, where you might tend to go for the little problems first. Do not do it! Little problems will always exist and will consume all of your time, and you’ll never get to the elephants.

Remember: tackle the big problems first by addressing these critical issues: leadership challenges, operational inefficiencies, toxic interpersonal dynamics, and financial waste, or other major challenges you are facing. Once you’ve addressed these big issues, the smaller problems can be resolved more easily. We suggest five steps to handle the elephants:

  1. Identify the issue with clarity. Be honest and direct.
  1. Discuss the issue thoroughly – but only once! Talk the problem through and then resolve it. The goal is to move on to action.
  1. Determine the best solution. Action starts with a proposed solution. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just workable.
  1. Assign the solution to the appropriate owner. Accountability is everything when it comes to ‘elephant eviction.’ Once you’ve agreed on the solution, assign it to an individual for action.
  1. Implement the solution for a positive result. Make it happen!

Items on your issues list could also be about opportunities. You can use these same steps to harness opportunities in your market. When you address issues and opportunities in real time, your management team’s ability to achieve the corporate vision will increase dramatically.