Have you ever wanted to get in a room with a team in conflict and just let the emotions out?

I recently was asked to facilitate a session for a client who was negotiating with a major partner who is not an EOS® company.  The partner company was a subsidiary of a larger organization.  The two groups were in major conflict over performance expectations they had for one another and what they believed was a lack of responsiveness.

Their request for me was to get everyone in a room and let them air out all their emotions, so they could tell each other what they really think.  Read BIGGGG b*tch session and think “run David run”!  The tension in the group was boiling over and one could cut it with a knife (how’s that for mixed metaphors)!

Using the EOS Process

At first, I was thinking that there really was not an obvious EOS “Session” to address what they were looking for.  So, I listened to the leadership representatives from both organizations and received a line item explanation of each team member, their function, what they are accountable for, who their counterparts are, and their perception of complaints.

As I started processing what they wanted and how I could help, it occurred to me that this was absolutely an EOS situation where we could implement the EOS Process™.  I began to view what they were trying to do in this limited partnership as a weakness in the Six Key Components™ of EOS.  Though my client is well on their way to strength in each component, as a joint entity they were very weak. Here is how they were weak:

  1. There was no common vision that they both understood and bought as their reason to exist, so they had no combined understanding of the 8 questions contained in a V/TO™ or Vision/Traction Organizer™.
    1. Core Values
    2. Core Focus™
    3. 10-Year Target™
    4. Marketing Strategy
    5. 3-Year Picture™
    6. 1-Year Plan
    7. Rocks
    8. Issues
  2. They did not have the Right People in the Right Seats for what they wanted to accomplish.
  3. They had no common data to give them a pulse on leading performance metrics.
  4. They did not have a way to address the Issues that frustrated them nor the skill to solve the Issues.
  5. Each team did business their “way” so there was no process consensus.
  6. There was no Traction from the standpoint of having consensus around the 3-7 key things that have to be accomplished each quarter, or a disciplined way to meet from week to week to stay connected and remove obstacles.

Given this understanding, we simply conducted a Quarterly Session (with a few modifications for the benefit of the team that does not speak the EOS language).  So, instead of facilitating a b*tch session, we reviewed the performance results based on their differing expectations.  We created a common understanding of what success looks like as one team, and then, we created an Issues List of items they felt didn’t fit.  We then created Rocks with clear ownership that everyone agreed were the most important issues that they could drive in the next 90 days.  As small task items came up along the way, we simply assigned an owner To-dos for each one-week action item.

EOS is a Proven Process

At the end of the day, instead of an emotion-filled set of Issues when we got to IDS™, there was complete agreement that all of the “complaints” they had with each other were addressed in either the To-do’s or captured as Rocks. When we finally got to IDS there was no need to b*tch because all the areas of disagreement were either covered with Rocks or To-dos.  The original session was scheduled for two days, but because we only focused on performance and accountability, the entire second day gave the teams (now ONE team) the ability to get started on their Rocks.  I learned/reinforced a really valuable lesson that the EOS process really works, and when you don’t know what to do, follow the EOS process!  There’s a reason we call it the Proven Process.

Next Steps