Who Should Be On Your EOS® Leadership Team? 

All but the smallest companies that run EOS need a leadership team that includes more than just the Visionary and Integrator™. Although the V/I Duo™ can accomplish remarkable things on its own, it needs the input from other leaders within the organization to ensure all the important topics are covered.  

Deciding who to include in your leadership team—the people you want in your Level 10 Meetings™ and your quarterly and annual sessions—can be harder than it sounds. Slimming down to a small group is usually the best approach for achieving efficient results, but how do you get there? Here’s how I help clients think about it.

Leadership versus management

Distinguishing between leaders and managers is a useful starting point for assembling your leadership team. In this context, a manager is someone who is focused on running some part of the business: overseeing a service team, keeping projects on schedule, coordinating vendors, and so on. Every good manager is also a leader, of course, but their leadership is driven by the goals established at the top. In EOS terms, a manager works in the business, not on the business.

The members of the leadership team are mirror images of managers. They typically also manage people—the Integrator needs to be a manager of department heads, for example—but they also specialize in working on the business rather than in it. 

It’s easy to mistake this distinction as discounting the value of managers. The opposite is true. A great manager may be the company’s greatest driver of value. Many of my clients decide to leave most managers out of the leadership team so they can focus their time on serving clients. Most managers are happy to not also need to think about big picture issues. Their specialty within the business is already complicated enough!

Beyond the Accountability Chart

Building an Accountability Chart is a challenging process for most companies. Every quarterly meeting I run spends a good chunk of time studying whether the Accountability Chart accurately reflects the team’s day-to-day reality. 

A common approach to building the leadership team is to simply include everyone who sits below the Integrator on the Accountability Chart. Especially at the start of the EOS process, this can be a good way to get the key people in the business incorporated into the EOS framework. But it often risks putting people into the wrong seat.

Let employees focus on the right things

One of my clients offers a good example. They were a team of five when they started with EOS, with two relatively junior employees. Their Visionary has always wanted his business to be highly collaborative and transparent, so naturally he invited the whole team to be part of the Vision Building™ session and every Level 10 Meeting. 

At first the team seemed energized by being part of the conversation. But as their honeymoon quarter ended, problems began to show up. While everyone was focused on the business, their service quality was slipping. The whole team was getting frustrated.

Their Integrator later told me, “We had five cooks, but no waiters.” The Visionary was worried  the junior employees would be offended by being asked to no longer be part of the leadership conversation. Instead, they were relieved. Their Integrator explained: “We use Quarterly Conversations™ to provide a similar sense of deep engagement, so everyone feels empowered to steer their careers without also feeling like they need to steer the ship.” 

Some criteria for selecting your leadership team

Every team has its own dynamics and requirements for success. Leaving one person off the leadership team but inviting another might feel unfair. My advice is to put that feeling aside. Focus instead on whether a person is the right fit for a leadership seat. I’ve written before about using the People Analyzer™ for these kinds of questions. The GWC™ approach also works well:

  • Do they get it? Being part of the leadership team means being involved in business-wide decisions that aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.
  • Do they want it? Many employees prefer to focus their efforts on the seat they’re in, rather than what they might perceive as extra work.
  • Do they have the capacity for it? Capacity is measure of both time and talent. Asking an employee to squeeze five hours of leadership into an already too-full schedule may be unfair. If that employee also has no aptitude for leadership, it’s also unproductive.

How has your business decided who will be on its leadership team? I’d love to hear your stories. You can find me on LinkedIn, send me an email, or give me a call at (818) 649-1103. I’m here to answer your questions.