Communication issues can be detrimental to a functional team. For leaders struggling to get work done through those issues, the 5 Rules tool can be a great instrument for creating understanding and productively working through conflict.

The 5 Rules Tool

The 5 Rules tool was created to help the Visionary and Integrator maintain a strong relationship. The book “Rocket Fuel” by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters describes the different ways to maximize workflow between the two roles.

Although the 5 Rules tool (which includes same-page meetings) was created with Visionaries and Integrators in mind, any leader can follow them to achieve professional success. I’ve seen this tool work for visionary to engineering and operations leaders alike!

The 5 Rules:

  1. Stay on the Same Page
  2. No End-Runs
  3. The Integrator is the Tie-Breaker
  4. You’re an Employee When You Work “In” the Business
  5. Maintain Mutual Respect

In particular, the first three rules are most important for establishing open communication lines within a company.  Let’s explore what it looks like for leaders for leaders to follow these rules!

Rule 1: Stay on the Same Page

A healthy relationship between leaders and employees begins with fluid communication. Two-way conversations should be encouraged, and implementing same-page meetings into your workplace schedule is an easy first step. 

Same-page meetings are a tool that bridges the gap between peers. They create space for everyone to work proactively towards solutions for the issues impacting your team. This opportunity is best met with one-on-one meetings. This way, both parties have each other’s undivided attention and the space to share their needs. 

To ensure efficiency, your touch-base meetings should follow a similar format each time. Here is an example schedule you can use to kick-start your own same-page meetings: 

Same-Page Meeting Agenda

  • Check-in: What are the highs and lows everyone is facing?
  • Issues list: What are all the issues being met and how can we solve them? 
  • Identify, Discuss, & Solve (IDS) until time is up
  • Review to-dos and messages to be relayed to the team

When these meetings are implemented between two members of a leadership team it will help to proactively solve issues that are impeding the alignment and teamwork within the organization. I recommend holding these meetings frequently— a weekly or biweekly schedule is ideal. 

Rule 2: No End-Runs

The primary way to solve a problem is through direct conversation. End-runs are those instances where someone goes around the person they need to talk with to complain or receive a preferred answer. This erodes trust and teamwork, which will result in the flow of communication becoming less effective.  Same-page meetings become a culture-building event because they help eliminate those end-runs by providing a safe space for open communication. This will help battle the bureaucracy that comes with growth. Trust can be an accelerator for decision-making and support the need to delegate. 

Rule 3: The Integrator is the Tie-Breaker

Unfortunately, conflict is sometimes unavoidable. If two peers encounter a problem they cannot agree on, they should bring it to be solved in the Leadership L10. 

Building trust in a professional relationship does not necessarily mean you must agree on everything. In fact— you don’t have to be friends at all! As Peter Drucker, founder of modern management theory, explains it, “The existence of trust… does not necessarily mean that they like one another. It means they understand one another.” 

Understanding = Success

The key to understanding is listening. Give your peer a chance to share their why. Why is this issue a problem and why do I want your help solving it? Once you understand one another, solutions can be found with ease. 

Same-page meetings open up more opportunities for achieving understanding. When implemented regularly, your business will form successful workplace relationships. 

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