This is Hard Work

A colleague recently recommended a book to me: The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler. He makes a compelling, faith-based argument for having 100% conviction about being a leader. In my experience with leadership teams, there are five areas where leaders – being human – let things drift. It’s hard for us to walk the talk. Getting Rocks done: Being busy is no excuse. Everyone is.Leading by example in Level 10 Meetings™: Being on time, following the agenda, keeping the focus.Staying committed to Quarterly Conversations™: It’s easy to delay or skip them all together.Being accountable and holding others accountable: Not always easy, but critical.Making Decisions: A wrong decision is better than no decision. We need to practice and master skills in each of these five areas. But that’s not enough. Equally important, we need the conviction to stay the course. As always, employees pay more attention to what we do than what we... read more

Command Performance

“Meetings are where the magic happens” says Gino Wickman.  The agenda for the weekly meetings in the EOS® system is a powerful tool that is guaranteed to get better results from meetings at any level of the organization. The ultimate key to success, however, is the willingness of leaders to be open and honest, not just “check the box” in their participation. In his online book Decide, Wickman lists 10 Commandments for making decisions in meetings and being open and honest. Thou shall not rule by consensusThou shall not be a weenieThou shall be decisiveThou shall not rely on secondhand informationThou shall fight for the greater goodThou shall not try to solve them allThou shall live with it, end it, or change itThou shall choose short-term pain and sufferingThou shall enter the dangerThou shall take a shot The leadership teams of my EOS clients have seen great performance improvements from being brave and “showing up”with each other.  By the way, Decide is a quick read at only 34 pages. It’s full of nuggets. Get... read more

Glass Half Full

Glass Half Full There are six ways to generate enthusiasm, positivity and commitment in your organization: Inspire others by articulating your future and aligning employees with the same visionThrive at work by surrounding yourself with great peoplewho take ownership of what they doSleep better at night because you know your numbers and dataResolve the most important issues once and for allReduce stress and drama with disciplined processes that define how you run your company and are followed by everyonePredict your future by creating it: establishing priorities and fulfilling them, thereby creating traction as a normal course of business. These mirror the Six Components™ of the EOS® system. They also reflect an optimistic view of the world, because EOS is about expecting success. All of my leadership teams lead with optimism about the future. Not Pollyanna fluff, just solid expectations grounded in reality and executed with discipline.  As leaders, we make the classic “the glass is half full or half empty” choice of how we see the world. If you choose “half full,” EOS will help you fill that... read more

A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table Engaged employees want a “seat at the table.” They care about the company and want to participate in making it better. It’s the leader’s responsibility to set that table. EOS® offers a proven method for how. For the senior leadership team, that means 90 minutes every week on the same day, at the same time, starts on time, ends on time, and has a fixed agenda.  For other teams, the agenda and frequency of the meetings may or may not be the same. However, they are always regularly scheduled and driven by the unique needs of that team.  Regardless of format, the key guidelines are simple:  1/3 of the time is spent sharing information that’s important to attendees, not just the boss)2/3 of the time is spent solving important (to them) problems with an effective, disciplined methodology (IDS™).There’s a strong facilitator who may or may not be the boss No useless updates, no boring status reports, no unfocused venting. Just solid information sharing and problem solving. What’s not to like about... read more

Vulnerability as a Choice

Vulnerability as a Choice Brené Brown is an expert on vulnerability and authenticity. When I first watched her TED talks two years ago, I too quickly dismissed her ideas as being too weak for business applications. I was wrong. A conference speaker recently prompted me to take another look. I’m glad I did. The results align with the principles of EOS®.Vulnerability is a choice that empowers leaders to engage employees. It’s a decision to create connection through empathy. It requires the strength to admit mistakes, ask for help, hear others’ opinions, and venture into the unknown. Choosing to be vulnerable starts with a mindset: a willingness to be wrong; to suspend judgment for the time being; and to be comfortable with ambiguity. Those are not easy. Nor is “the how:” Ask honest questions with the intent to understand, not defend ourselvesBe open to the possibility of changeAbsorb new data and revisit decisionsTry new things that might be mistakes Vulnerability doesn’t replace the other attributes of being a strong leader, such as creating a powerful vision or making smart decisions. It’s not either/or. It’s simply one part of our arsenal of... read more

Fiercely Disagree — in a Productive Way

In EOS®, we coach leaders to be “open and honest,” which means there will often be disputes among leaders. Conflict is natural and healthy. There are many standard ground rules about engaging in conflict in a healthy way. Two of my favorite rules are:• Listen to truly understand, not to rebut • Speak from your experience without attributing motive to the other person Less obvious, but equally powerful, is the IDS™ tool from EOS. On a regular basis during a dispute, stop to clarify, “What exactly is the issue here? Where precisely do we disagree?” Then be disciplined to stay on that issue, not get sidetracked by tangents. Especially when emotions run high, they tend to highjack the dialogue. We lose sight of what we’re in conflict about and start to defend positions that are way off target. Stay focused for better... read more

Earn Trust

A recent Harvey Mackay article in the Minneapolis paper shared how to earn the trust of your bosses and co-workers. In fact, it was much more than that. It was a simple, elegant checklist for being intentional as a person, for earning the trust of everyone in your life, business and personal. The list is easy to dismiss as “common sense,” “too simple,” and/or “of course I do these things.” That was my reaction until I did a reality check. It turned out to be a mini wake-up call. Here’s the list: Arrive on time consistently Dress appropriately Introduce yourself effectively Remember names Stay organized Use e-mail professionally Share the credit generously Talk to your boss Volunteer Go above and beyond Don’t give up Network Keep learning I came up short on more than a couple. You might also. Give it some... read more

The Greater Good

In EOS®, one of the questions we ask of leaders is“Do you act for the greater good of the organization vs. your personal best interests?”The quick answer is “Of course I put the company first.” In most cases that’s probably true. However, there are subtle areas that trap leaders into sending unintended messages. Preventing these requires discipline to maintain a true leadership posture and protect your personal brand. Warren Bennis said, “A leader doesn’t just get the message across, he is the message.” Here are four golden rules to prevent your personal feelings from getting in the way: Never be passive aggressive. Deal with conflict in an open and honest way. Take full responsibility for your team’s outcomes, even if it’s not remotely “your fault.” If it’s on your watch, you own it. Turn the other cheek for the sake of staying engaged in a dialogue. Don’t go down the rabbit hole of tit for tat. And perhaps toughest of all, always take the high road. Fighting back is instinctual but usually counterproductive. Employees pay attention to everything. Our word choice, body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice all send messages. Be sure they always reflect “the greater... read more

Day In and Day Out

Consistency is the secret weapon of EOS®. The big victories come from incremental actions repeated again and again. The Six Components of the EOS Model™ are disarmingly simple. It’s easy to give lip service to them as just “common sense.” What makes them powerful is common practice: the application of basic, practical tools to make them come to life. Not just for a week or a month or even a year. It’s forever. Only when these tools are embedded in the fabric of a company do they produce lasting results over time. The same is true of leadership. There are no silver bullets for being an effective leader. Justconsistent, disciplined behavior, day in and day out. Simon Sinek drives home the message in a compelling five-minute section of a longer video interview, starting here. Watch it and do a reality check on your own discipline. Consistency is the secret ingredient that effective leaders leverage through... read more

Your Way, My Way, The Better Way

“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, we’ll use mine,” Jim Barksdale, former Netscape CEO. Short and sweet. Efficient. Practical. Not necessarily right for the organization. Leaders have opinions and trust their instincts, especially in the absence of data. It’s easy to get in the habit of relying on opinions — notably our own. Digging deep for objective criteria takes more time and effort. The best leaders are committed to data-based decisions: It keeps them grounded in reality vs the chaos of conflicting opinions Using data enhances trust, because employees respect objectivity They understand that their perception of reality is not objective (“We see the world not as it is, but as we are,” Stephen Covey) Relying on facts reduces drama, increases clarity, and drives better results. It’s the harder way, but it’s the better... read more

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