STOP Going Through The Motions in Quarterlies: 3 Tips to Make Them Matter

by Sep 8, 2022Entrepreneurial Operating System, EOS, Insights, Leadership, Powerful Questions

I’ve facilitated hundreds of quarterlies throughout my EOS career. It’s pretty obvious when a leader is going through the motions of EOS but isn’t pushing it to its full potential. You follow the agenda (or not), or you focus on getting things done vs listening to all the voices in the room. If you’re ready to take your quarterlies to the next level, here are a couple tips that may help you charge the time together with things like gratitude, vulnerability, hope and team health. 

Tip #1: Cascade Recognition

Recognition starts with the key check-in questions: What’s working? What’s not working? This is where we ask our leaders to step back and talk about some of the wins and who was behind them. If someone’s hard work gets mentioned/celebrated — especially someone who isn’t in the room — make sure they hear about it! We all like to be recognized for our hard work, and it’s a great way to keep your team members engaged and feeling seen.

This is such a small, simple thing that can have an enormous impact on team health. Recognition can also come as shared pain for something that is not working. When both the sales and operations leaders see new client handoffs aren’t working, it puts a strategic issue on the issues list for the team to solve together.

Bonus tip: If you sit in either the Visionary or Integrator seat make it a habit to write down those in-session mentions and then go and thank that person. Your voice has extra power associated with it, so use it!

Tip #2: Ask What We Learned

Have you ever heard the expression that we learn more from our failures than our successes? It’s true! Sure, failing doesn’t feel good, and no one would ever call it an “enjoyable experience”. But EOS is built for entrepreneurial-minded individuals, and learning from failure is something all EOS leaders need to develop the capacity to do.

When we look back, wisdom tells us that we learn so much more from what we did wrong than what we did right. Intentionally creating space for the question, “What did we learn from this?” opens your team up to honestly evaluate successes, failures, outcomes, and what everyone could do differently in the future. To repeat successes and correct mistakes, you have to acknowledge them first.

Tip #3: During IDS, Always Start by Picking your Top Three

This one made the list because of my experiences with clients that have been implementing EOS for 5+ years. This is the most important part of an L10 or quarterly. It’s where the leadership team tackles the barriers, frustrations, “elephants in the room”, or complaints from your team and makes them go away forever!

The top three issues aren’t just the first three items on the list. When I say “the top three,” I’m talking about the three most important, pressing matters that your team needs to deal with. As a team, pick the top three things, solve them, then move onto the next three until the meeting’s time is up. You’ll solve more problems, get more done, and put your team in a better spot by dealing with the big-hitter issues first.

Stay Self-aware During Quarterlies

You will find the magic in the quarterlies is not in the timing of all the agenda items. It’s in the questions you use to help you step back, listen to others — or to yourself — when you honestly view your business from above. We call this ON the business time, and it comes from our core belief that the first step to solving a problem is recognizing it exists.

During your next quarterly, take a step back and evaluate your habits and the habits of your leadership team. Are you embracing each tool for its full value, or just going through the motions? Start asking the big questions. Encourage vulnerability and honesty with your team as they share their answers.

The outcomes of this simple change will be greater teamwork, healthier relationships, and more trust. As you go out and lead this week, keep these tips in mind. They’ll help you set the stage for a team that’s much, much stronger than before.

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