EOS® Meeting Structure: Pros, Cons & Alternatives

EOS Meeting Structure

The best humor is based on truth—like the mock advertisement I received with the following headline: “Meetings: the creative alternative to work!” It’s no secret to many that much of a business person’s life is spent in boring, unproductive meetings.

Thankfully, just like everything else, there are meeting best practices. One of the most popular is the Level 10 MeetingTM by EOS®. These are structured weekly meetings designed to keep leadership teams focused on the important issue of running the business. Are they a good fit for your business, or would an alternative meeting structure be more efficient and effective? Let’s take a look at the pros, cons, and alternatives to EOS meetings. After all, one size does not fit all.

Understanding the EOS Meeting Structure

First, let’s start with the EOS meeting structure. EOS espouses two types of meetings: the weekly Level 10 Meeting (L10) and the Quarterly Meeting.

What Is an L10 Meeting?

The L10 is a weekly meeting for the team to focus on mostly tactical, running-the-business issues. This meeting has the same weekly agenda, is 90 minutes long, and provides a check-in on KPIs, quarterly goals, and key issues.

L10 Meeting Agenda

  • Segue: Somewhat of an icebreaker, this gets everyone into the meeting flow.
  • Scorecard: Review the KPI’s.
  • Rock Review: Update key company initiatives.
  • Customer/Employee Headlines: Discuss any news that is important on the client or staff front.
  • To-Do List: What is important to accomplish in the coming week?
  • IDS: Problems are discussed here via the “Identify–Discuss–Solve” methodology.
  • Conclude: Wrap up the meeting.
  • Recap To-Do List: Summarize who is doing what.
  • Cascading Messages: Confirm who in the organization needs to be informed about meeting topics.
  • Rating: Everyone rates the quality of the meeting on a scale of 1-to-10, hence the name Level 10 meeting (the hope is that each meeting is a 10).

EOS Quarterly Meetings, Explained

The quarterly meeting is more of a “work ON the business” meeting. The team steps away from the day to day once a quarter to assess the quarterly initiatives (Rocks), review the vision, set new initiatives and discuss deeper issues.

Pros & Cons of EOS Meeting Structure

In general, I have found the EOS meeting structure to be helpful for many companies. Here are a few reasons why:

  • It creates consistency: Regular communication is a necessary component to creating team cohesion. The weekly cadence of the L10 meeting provides that.
  • A set agenda: This eliminates guesswork. Everyone knows what to expect and how to prepare, which creates efficiency.
  • Stay focused: L10 meetings help teams focus on the key elements of running a business.

However, there are some aspects of the structure that can hinder a team:

  • Going through motions: I’ve heard from many teams over the years that after a while, the L10 meeting is simply “something they do,” and they forget why they’re doing it.
  • Poor facilitation: These kinds of meetings require a skilled facilitator. Most organizations lack this skill internally.
  • The rating: Let’s face it—finishing a meeting by rating its quality is cheesy. Over time, respondents usually just provide a rating number without thinking about it.

StratOp: An EOS Meeting Alternative

Another (and, I believe, more effective) approach to meetings is through the StratOp process. StratOp is a comprehensive strategic and operating process that effectively helps companies propel growth and efficiency. As part of the StratOp process, a company communications structure is put in place to keep all audiences informed.

StratOp Quarterly Meetings

After the StratOp process is installed, quarterly meetings are implemented. These meetings follow the Paterson Process, which starts with gathering perspective. Once the proper perspective is gathered, plans are updated or created. From there, the team asks, “What’s Important Now?” This question helps to formulate the next set of short-term action items.

StratOp Meeting Agenda

The quarterly agenda looks like this:

  • Perspective
    • Action Initiative Review
    • Conducting the “Four Helpful Lists”, asking “What’s Right?”, “What’s Wrong?”, “What’s Confused?” and “What’s Missing?”
    • Review of the metrics through the Strategic Control Panel
  • Planning
    • Review and discussion of long-term objectives and key strategies
  • Action
    • Reset the quarterly Action Initiatives
    • Schedule the next quarterly review

Annual Renewal

StratOp also has an annual meeting. This meeting is based on the idea that organizations need to constantly adapt. The theme of this meeting is “What must change?” Over the course of two days, the team reviews its entire StratOp plan and makes necessary changes informed by data, events, and trends from the past year. When complete, the team has a refocused plan for the upcoming year.

Does StratOp Have Weekly Meetings?

StratOp has a “Structure” component where the issue of meeting cadence is addressed. Although there isn’t a specific weekly meeting template associated with StratOp, I have found the weekly tactical meeting from The Table Group’s “Death by Meeting” to be the most effective. In this meeting, the only agenda item is to set the agenda at the beginning. Then, the plan is to keep the meeting focused on tactical issues for the week. It avoids discussing larger strategic items. Those topics are reserved for either ad hoc meetings or the quarterly meetings.

Leadership Meeting Best Practices

Meetings don’t have to be a drag. They can be effective, regardless of what structure you choose. To get the best out of meetings, here are some meeting best practices:

  • Structure meetings: Don’t wing it. Have a monthly schedule for each type of meeting, and hold the meetings at the same time with a consistent agenda.
  • Facilitate well: Keep meeting conversations on point. If needed, get meeting facilitation training for those who regularly lead meetings.
  • At the end: When a meeting is complete, summarize: What did we agree on? Who needs to know? What will not be shared?
  • Regular assessment: Once a quarter, assess the cadence and quality of your meetings. Make changes where necessary.

Make Your Meetings More Effective

If meeting fatigue is plaguing your company, I’d be more than happy to connect with you and provide some insight. Schedule a conversation today.