One of the most useful things we’ve implemented in our business since I came on board is very simple, but very effective. And it’s this:
Making sure the right issues make their way to the right places.
The world of EOS and Traction talks a lot about ‘Right Person, Right Seat’ but I think it’s just as important to get the right issues into the right ‘seat’.
We have five weekly meetings as part of our Weekly Meeting Pulse; the Level 10 and then four department meetings (Finance/Admin, Sales, Development and the department I’ll call Development 2 for fear of causing confusion)
In the early days, the Level 10 issues list contained all of the issues in the business. They were in one place, this felt good. It meant there was control. It meant there was knowledge.
However, it was missing one important factor: Letting go of the vine.
Delegate, Escalate, Do or Ditch
We quickly realised that ‘letting go of the vine’ meant allowing issues to drop down to their relevant departments and trusting that they would be fixed there.
It can be difficult to begin with, allowing an issue to go off your radar and into the unknown of the team meetings.
However, as Integrator, I attend all of the department meetings and those issues will not be ignored on my watch!
Delegation takes issues from the Level 10 Meeting (which takes everybody’s time) and moves them to a specialised team who can actually do something about them.
The counter to delegation is escalation.
In a team meeting, when an issue requires the input, blessing or action of a wider audience, rather than discuss something we can’t put into action, we escalate it to the Level 10 meeting.
Sometimes it just requires an answer, or a confirmation before returning to the team meeting. But sometimes it needs deeper discussion.
Quite frequently, we’ll find that an escalated issue actually has far-reaching effects across the business that we had never considered until we put it on the table in front of the whole team.
If something is too big for the Level 10 meeting, it can be escalated to the Quarterly, or even Annual meeting. This is where Rocks are born!
So, delegation and escalation form a beautiful flow of issues into exactly the right places.
But what of the other ways we can deal with issues…
Do or ditch.
Issues that can be solved are added to the to-do list (or whatever ‘first steps’ will fit within a week are put on the list if the job is bigger than that).
Issues that will never realistically be solved, or have become irrelevant, or will be solved as part of another issue… well, they get ditched. Never be afraid to throw issues out as soon as they are no longer an issue.
(It is, of course, important to have ‘the wisdom to know the difference’ as the serenity prayer says)
I have come to realise that the key to business is communication.
Not just communication with customers, or communication between staff, or communication in marketing materials, but a flow of information… whether that information is project briefings, sales information, or (as in this case) the flow of issues to and from the right places where they can be dealt with most effectively.
If you are a ‘control-freak’ leader in your business, try allowing your issues to flow out of your sight and into the places where they will be fixed. Empower and trust your teams and you may well be surprised with what they are capable of.
Let go of the vine and get the right issues in the right places.