5tips

SUMMARY KEYWORDS 

work, ceo, meeting, facilitator, organization, experience, important, team, tips, team cohesion, companies, sessions, hire, prep, years, entrepreneurs, implementer, leadership, agenda, eo 

 

John 

Hello, everyone, and welcome to MYB2BCOACH five tips. I'm super excited to have Rom Lapointe with me, longtime friend from the Entrepreneur's Organization. Good morning Rom, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, and then go right into your five tips.  

 

Rom 

All right, great. Thanks, John. Happy to be here. Thanks for having me. I am a proud father of four kids married 26 years, run 10 different companies, including some acquisitions over the last 25 years. So as CEO on multiple teams, my background really has been in technology training, so manufacturing based here in the Detroit Michigan area and been an Entrepreneur’s Organization member, EO member, for 15 of those years. And so through my experience, through working with EO through all the wonderful resources, in EO, both peer to peer and experts that have come in, I ended up hiring a bunch of coaches facilitators, when I was building my companies. And so I've learned a lot over those years, I had my last exit a few years ago. And now I'm working with companies and leadership teams helping them. 

 

John 

Nice, very good. 

 

Rom 

So all that experience tells me about the five tips. So the five tips that I think are really important, especially this time of year, we're towards the end of the year looking at the next year. And yes, it's been an interesting year in 2020, right, never forget it. It's been disruptive to a lot of organizations. And again, I work with companies from about 5 million revenue all the way up to 5 billion, with the sweet spot being in the $50 million range as they're growing. So they're all growth firms. And we've all had different reactions to COVID this year. And one of the things that the winners, the companies that are figuring it out and pivoting and still ending up being profitable this year, and you know, managing through this year, they've stuck to their consistent rhythm of leadership planning sessions. And that's what my five tips are about.  

So five tips to running sort of great leadership planning sessions, whether that looks like a one day or a two day annual, you know, strategic planning historically has been you get together in a big off site, and then you have a big binder you put on the shelf, and no one looks at it anymore. But the trend over the last, you know, 10 years or so started about 20 years ago, but in the last 10 years with organizations like Scaling Up with Vern Harnish. And Traction EOS with Gino Wickman and the gang over there. You know, we've gotten into quarterly mode. So many leaders and entrepreneurs now are doing quarterly one day leadership planning session, and then a two day annual, and they have a living plan. That's fantastic. What I'm seeing though, what I've seen, again, as the CEO that's hired a coach or implementer/facilitator, and then also now helping many other companies of different industries, some things that really make them great.  

So those five things are really number one, you're investing in that full day or two day annual planning session, do the work in between. So the weekly rhythm, whether it's you know, a weekly tactical meeting of whatever agenda you follow, having the weekly touch base of 30 to 90 minutes with your leadership team, to really keep the momentum going. I think of the leadership planning sessions, in a musical analogy is sort of the crescendo leading up to them. So there's this big work to get ready for the leadership, you know, one day or two day session, and then it goes down, that decay can be stoppage of work if you're not meeting regularly. So the regular meetings in between super important. That's number one meet in between with your team.  

Number two, you really have to have prep work for these sessions. So to have leaders come in, I've seen it time and time again. And I did it when I was a CEO, because kind of show up and you know there's a standard agenda and you're brilliant, you turn the brilliant switch on. Well, doesn't always happen that way. So prep work, whether it's a SWOT analysis, or a talent review, or a really deep dive researching some topics for your business and trends. A lot of times it's reading a book together or some article. So what's the prep work that's going to make that one or two day leadership planning session really special? That's super important. So involving your team in that holding them accountable doing that work, it makes the investment pay off. So that's number two. So far, we've had weekly meetings in betweenand prep work.  

Number three, is to really think of it as an experience. So the agenda and the work and the setting the goals and deciding on the strategy is critical, but it's an experience for the team. So bringing the team together with a thoughtful view about are we eating together or not? Are we doing activities together? Even on virtual you can think about this as an experience that's not just about the work. So are there team building exercises, icebreakers, getting to know you, different opportunities to really build the team cohesion. So I think team cohesion is really one of the key results of these meetings, in addition to the decisions that are made.So weekly meetings in between, do the prep work, number three, you really make an experience.  

So, four, and five, now let's get into the sort of sort of tactical things. Number four is hire a third party to help guide you, whether that's an integrator, implementer, coach, facilitator, those are all synonymous, in a sense. Have someone else run the meeting, though if you're the CEO. My experience is there and I've done it the right way and the wrong way. So have someone to come in, they can collaborate with you on what that experience looks like. They can bring knowledge from other organizations, plus all the content knowledge. So bringing a third party in, really can take it to the next level. And finally, you know, really, it's about you, the leader, the CEO, the President, whatever your title is the, leader of the organization's commitment. So you need to be committed to these days, whether it's a one day or two day, whatever these leadership planning sessions, commit to them being critically important to you and your organization.  

 

John 

Those are great five tips. And I've lived it as both the CEO and facilitator. Tell me a little bit more I hear pushback from business owners about well, I think I can you know, save the money not have that facilitator do that. What are some of the downfalls that you've experienced?  

 

Rom 

Yeah, well, I have direct experience twice, when we hired an outside person in my company, and we went for a few quarters, and one went for a year with that person. And then we brought it internal, and it was part of my ego, partially, my team was encouraging. And they're like, you know, it's put the money to better use or whatever. And so we brought it internal, and inevitably, we had good meetings in terms of they followed my agenda, but it kind of became the Ram show, or whoever the CEO is those years ago. And I was thinking about the timing and what was next, and when's lunch coming in. And you know, all those dynamics, not really listening intently. And also, it wasn't really best ideas, when in that sense, I was able to kind of make things go my way a little bit more using my influence. And so I didn't find them to be as productive as meaningful, important for the team cohesion. And as a, you know, growing and developing CEO, I wasn't really able to listen to my team and hear them fully. So being able to participate is critical. So I experienced that twice in my own companies. And now I've seen it in organizations that I work with where they've had, many of them have tried it before taking it internal. And it's not that you can't run a good meeting. But it's all those other elements of accountability. Do we keep with this, you know, this process? Do we stick with it? Should we take it to the next level, every time having someone else that has other experience, collaborate and then run the actual day? You know, it's invaluable. 

 

John 

I totally agree. I did the same thing. I added a facilitator and then ended up running it for a year by myself. And the value proposition just wasn't there. I mean, especially that listening partI love to listen and watch my team as they're talking to the facilitator. It was really criticalSo I totally agree with all your five tips. And I really agree with number four, hire great facilitator, local person makes a big difference in your business. 

 

Rom 

Thank you. Yeah. And I want to be sure, john, you know, I don't want to come off as self serving, because that's one of the work that I do, I think that these five tips kind of all come together is this, it's up to the CEOs commitment. And part of that commitment is put in some investment behind that, whether that's hiring someone going to you know, really great space that you're socially distant, whatever that is, but making it a big deal. I've seen CEOs roll in that are spending the money. They're doing all the other things, but they kind of roll into these meetings passively. This does not work. I mean, to take a cue from Pat Lencioni, who wrote Death by Meeting and lots of other great books. You know, these meetings are about your life, you get to decide where you're going in the future. You get to decide who you are, and you get to decide what's important in your priorities. I mean, that's exciting. You're living this work every day. 

So be committed to it. invest the time, the prep, work, all of the things to make it make it really pay off for you.  

 

John 

Totally agree. Well, I want to thank you for the five tips. They were fantastic. Thanks again, Rom.  

 

Rom 

My pleasure, John. Thank you. Good luck. Peace.