It’s so easy to get fed up with meetings that turn into a weekly gripe session because they feel like a waste of time. That’s time you could be cranking out a few more crowns, so why bother with the meeting? The problem isn’t that meetings are a waste of time—it’s that you need to structure yours better. In his book, Traction, Gino Wickman discusses the concept of the Level 10 Meeting, which aims to replace those pointless meetings with productive ones. A Level 10 Meeting requires laying some groundwork first, so before you try to leap directly to Level 10, you need to start with a strong foundation.
1. Establish the Rules
In order to have productive meetings, you must first have rules in place to govern the team’s behavior and set boundaries. These are your core values, and they allow you to create trust, predictability, and vulnerability within a safe space, while also helping you communicate effectively with one another. You’ve got to have that trust in order to open up and be vulnerable, and that only comes when people know what to expect from their teammates. Without rules in place, there aren’t any boundaries about how to behave.
2. Lean into the Conflict
Having the rules in place allows you to move forward into the realm of conflict, which people often incorrectly categorize as negative. #367abb;”>Healthy conflict, however, is extremely productive, but you need to have a discussion first and define what that looks like. Destructive conflict is pretty easy to see because it’s when we’re passive-aggressive, attacking the person instead of the issue, or being mean-spirited. However, there’s another type of unhealthy conflict—artificial harmony, which is when we have something to say but choose not to. However, when we’re keeping things in, we’re actually engaging in destructive conflict in a roundabout way.
Healthy conflict isn’t about keeping things in or attacking others—it means discussing, debating, and providing constructive criticism in order to tackle issues. The first step to healthy conflict is awareness, and from there you can begin making conflict agreements, where you’re going to agree as a team not to swear, raise your voice, or do any of the things that make your team uncomfortable. Instead, you’re going to use a calm tone of voice, speak your mind, and attack the issue instead of the person. Productive conflict is going to feel strange at first, and most likely uncomfortable, but it will propel your practice forward in a way you’ve never been able to before. We rate all of our meetings afterward, and if there’s no productive conflict, I won’t rate it a 10.
3. Structure Your Meetings
If you want to make your meetings a 10, you need to provide a structure that allows you to give space to the items you need to discuss. Your meetings should:
- Occur on the same day and at the same time each week
- Have the same agenda
- Start and end on time
Having that predictability around your meetings helps ensure that there won’t be any surprises. Within the agenda, you can now give space to having the pleasantries you need, discussing the data, talking about what was promised to be done and still needs to be done, and IDS issues. Traction has a whole chapter about IDS, which stands for Identity, Discuss, and Solve. I personally like to swap in Debate, because that’s what helps to foster healthy conflict.
Once we identify issues, I always like to give my idea and explain why I think it will work, but there’s a good chance someone else on the team has a better idea, and if they hold back and don’t give us the chance to debate the two ideas, it doesn’t do the team any favors. This is why it’s important to lay the groundwork and create a culture of trust because your team must feel safe in order to open up about their weaknesses or accept criticism. You’ve got to hold everyone accountable, and that’s incredibly difficult without first having rules in place.
When your meetings are grounded in rules and structure, they become about more than just airing grievances. Instead of a weekly gripe session, you’ll have something that solves problems, increases productivity, and is actually enjoyable. When you know a meeting is going to get stuff done, you’ll look forward to it. It’s like Kirk says, “You spend 30% of your life at work,” so make sure you get to a place that’s healthy and productive. You need your meetings to be 10s, but it can be hard to make that change yourself, so reach out and let the ACT team help you build a Better Practice, and a Better Life!
Heather Crockett is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental