5 Tips - The Reality of COVID-19 (or Recessions) and How Your Investment in EOS will Help

Posted by Walt Brown on Mar 16, 2020 3:38:09 PM

Dear Clients and Friends,

I wish I were not writing this, I am cognizant of the situations and extremes I may be writing to and I pray for the best as soon as possible. We are in this together, and I want to take some time to share some guidance I have seen work in past recessions.

I was holding this for when we started a “Real Recession” - but, a similar time is now a reality with Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), just way more compressed. This is THE time to remember One Thing: “The answers are in the tools”.

  • Now is the time to take comfort in your EOS work and tools.
  • Slow down and use the tools.
  • Double Down on EOS usage, it will make everyone around you more comfortable.

Please feel free to share with others or my cell is (919) 345-6079. Text or call.


Uncle Walt


4 Models of Human Psychology 

Keep these in mind in your organization. I write all about the psychology of times like this in my book, The Patient Organization.

  1. The natural reaction is to let Fear creep in. System One Thinking (6 min 35 sec video) will be taking over ourselves and our people; we will be listening to the mob, the crowd, taking very complex information, “stereo-typing” it and then making big decisions based on incomplete information. We need to use our EOS Tools to keep everyone thinking rationally, in System Two Thinking.
    Get the Book: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

  2. We will become SCARFed -- Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness (2 min 46 second video). “Triggers” will be pulled daily, fear will well up and we will just not think as clearly as normal.
    Get the Book: Your Brain at Work by Daniel Rock

  3. Recognizing these triggers and “Riding the dragon (5 min blog article)” as John Grinnell describes will help us calm down, breathe and think more clearly.
    Get the Book: Beyond Belief by John Grinnell

  4. We will be pushed into React Mode vs. Create Mode due to this same whipped up fear.
    Get the Book: Fearless by Steve Chandler


5 EOS® Tips

The answer is in the tools. Repeat these tips when fear, indecision, irrationality creep in.

Our goal is to carve out some space, slow down, think, lift up above the day to day and see the picture for what it is. I am “lucky” in that I was implementing EOS with clients during the 2008 - 2009 downturn and have seen this pattern repeat in different industries over the last 14 years and I know the message I am relating to you works in real life.

“The answers are in the tools”.

Now is the time to take comfort in your EOS tools. Slow down and use the tools.

Tip 1: Remind each Sr. Leadership Team (SLT) member of the Accountability Chart, the Seats they own, and the Roles they play.

What is your seat? What are you to be thinking about? We need you to come to this Sr. Table with your thoughts and information to support those thoughts.

As a SLT member, do not come like a puppy dog looking at the Visionary to figure this out. Your Visionary needs to be thinking about the if/then future, looking for advantage and dangers, listening to your ideas and thoughts.

As a SLT member, do not come like a puppy dog expecting your Integrator to make all of the decisions with a snap of the finger. You need to be prepared to debate with your Team, Integrator and Visionary, make your point, take time to see all sides of a decision, then, when your Integrator says “we are doing this for the greater good…this is our plan.” gather around it.

Tip 2: Meeting Pulse - Adjust your meeting rhythms, but NOT the agenda.

Remember this: The agenda of Quarterlies and Level 10s are designed to bring the most important Issues to the surface so we can IDS them in order and properly. You might want to Pulse more often, you might need to change items on your Scorecard, you might need to pause your current Rocks, and adopt shorter projects (Rocks) to fewer days, yes, put these questions on your Issues List and IDS them. You might need to form new L10s. Repeating: It is OK to change the Pulse and Who might be in what meetings, but, NOT change the Agenda. Stick to the Agenda. Keep your L10s and 555s going. This is the path you will use to Execute and to Cascade Messages efficiently. These are how you will keep Fear from creeping in and killing your organization.

Tip 3: IDS like crazy.

Do not forget the language of IDS during this period. If you think something is an Issue, then think which Issues Lists and what Meetings this Issue should go to. This can be your guide to adjust your Meeting pulse.

Tip 4: Do not forget the tool: “Off-Line Meeting Track”

If you do not remember this Tool, look into your Leadership Team Binder in the Toolbox section. If everyone in the organization understands this tool it will be very helpful.

Tip 5: Cascading Messages - Do not skip this very important Level 10 Agenda Item.

Most EOS users do not know the way to use the Cascading Message section of the Level 10 Agenda. So, let me give you the steps. One person in the meeting needs to be keeping notes during the IDS section and runs the Cascading Messages section of the meeting, it will go like this.

  1. The person taking the notes says: This is what the initial Issue was, so-in-so was the owner.
  2. We determined the real Issue was this.
  3. We solved this issue by (fill in the blank)
  4. Does everyone agree? If NO, it goes back on to the Issues List. If YES, then we ask “What are the messages that need to be cascaded and to whom, and who is taking the messages as a To Do?”

This is how we do Cascading Messages.

See You on the Other Side.

I hope these tips can recreate some Traction and help establish less fear in your organization.


Topics: Balanced, Belong, Believe, Accountable, Heard, Developed, Measured

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