How an EOS® Business Can Get the Most from Its Annual Meeting

The annual meeting is the keystone in the cadence of regular meetings held by businesses running on EOS®.  A productive annual meeting not only sets the tone for the following year’s quarterly sessions and Level 10 Meetings™. It sets (or resets) the company’s course for the next three, five, or ten years. It’s a big deal!

These are some of the most effective ways I’ve found to ensure a high-quality annual meeting, every time:

  • Meet off site.

I encourage all of my clients to hold their major meetings (quarterlies and annuals, at least) at high quality off-site locations. The change of scene helps the team to step out of their day-to-day routines and reinforces the event’s importance.

Some of my clients build their annual meetings into an all-hands annual retreat. Sending everyone to the Ritz-Carlton for a week is wonderful for businesses that can afford it. For most, borrowing space from a local organization, like the chamber of commerce, works well. The choice should fit the company’s budget and values.

  • Come with a plan.

The annual meeting is the time to tackle the biggest issues facing your business. Your EOS Implementer® will come to your annual meeting with an outline of how the day (or days) will flow. The Visionary and Integrator™ should hold a preparation session, ideally with their Implementer, to preview the key areas of focus so adequate time can be set aside for the most complicated topics.

  • Be ready for surprises.

Annual meetings are a time of reflection as well as planning. Sometimes, reflection leads to unexpected revelations.

The Visionary and Integrator for one of my clients came into its annual meeting feeling good about their leadership team’s cohesiveness. They were caught off guard when their CFO arrived with a long list of issues she hadn’t raised before. “I’ve been thinking about things a lot,” she said, before laying out concerns about how she was being managed, how dissatisfied she was in her role, and other concerns. Most of that day’s agenda went out the window so the team could tackle the CFO’s legitimate concerns.

That meeting stands out to me for two reasons. First, it highlights the need for companies to remain flexible and take issues as they come. Second, it’s a reminder that no one on the leadership team should be taken for granted.

  • Be S.M.A.R.T.

An annual meeting is only as valuable as the Rocks that come out of it. A big part of my job as a Certified EOS Implementer® is to rein in enthusiastic teams who want to accomplish five years of work in the next year. Remember, Rocks need to be S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

When Rocks aren’t S.M.A.R.T., they can derail the entire team. I recently began working with a client that had gotten by for a couple of years without an Implementer. Their first annual meeting seemed to go well, producing a big pile of exciting ideas.

Six months later, most of their annual goals were looking unattainable. “We’ve bitten off more than we can chew,” is the way their Integrator explained it to me. 

As the team builds up its to-do list during the annual meeting, it should also prioritize each Rock and evaluate whether one should wait until others are done. The Rocks you put off aren’t unimportant. In fact, by giving them the space they need, your team will have an easier time giving them the focus they deserve.

Planning for an annual meeting?

For me, quarterly sessions are a favorite part of being a Certified EOS Implementer. Sitting down with my clients and working through issues is always intense. By the end of the day, everyone is both tired and energized. If I don’t hear someone say, “We’ve got a lot of work to do!” then I know we haven’t covered everything.
How does your team prepare for its annual meetings? Send me an email or find me on LinkedIn. I’d love to compare notes with you.