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How My Family Went from Good to Great By Using EOS® Tools

Mike Kotsis EOS - Entrepreneurial Operating System

One of the biggest, most common reasons we entrepreneurs get into business for ourselves is to be more present with our kids or have more freedom to take family trips, or to be more intentional with the ones we love. And yet, we don’t communicate with our families in a very intentional way most of the time — especially compared to the way we communicate in an EOS®-run business. 

That’s what it was like for me, too. I would come home after a full day of meeting with leadership teams, have dinner, and get the kids to bed. Then there were always several things that my wife, Jill, would want to run by me or something we had to make a decision on. We were always wiped out and didn’t want to be thinking about that stuff, and yet we would still make decisions — often, while frustrating one another. 

At one point, we realized that we were making pretty lousy decisions, because we both weren’t mentally in a good place. 

An EOS Epiphany

I saw that the Level 10 Meetings were working so well for leadership teams, and thought there must be a way to use this tool in our family as well. If we could adapt the EOS Foundational Tools™ for family life, we just may be able to overcome those frustrations once and for all.  Instead, we could save up the bigger decisions for one dedicated time during the week, where we were both in the same head space and not frustrated and exhausted. 

That was five years ago, and since then we have transformed the quality of our family life. Now, we run a weekly meeting that looks very similar to the Level 10 Meeting™ with a few slight modifications. These meetings help us to connect on what’s most important in our home life. The details have morphed a little over the years, but we’ve been consistent about using the Level 10 weekly, as well as other EOS Tools in our family life. It helps us get on the same page — and ultimately it gets our kids on the same page, too.

Using the EOS Tools at home has made life more fun, and kept us more present and more purposeful. And it has helped other families as well — Jill and I have introduced EOS Tools to several couples, and they have all seen a transformation in thor relationships and home life as a result.

Here’s what that could look like for your family.

4 EOS Tools for Your Family

Jill and I use several EOS Tools in our home life, but there are four key tools that I recommend starting with. These are four of the five EOS Foundational Tools that leadership teams start implementing right away on their Journey.

Want more details on using EOS Tools for your family? Listen to my conversation on Mark Henderson Leary’s podcast, You’re Doing It Wrong.

V/TO™ 

Like a V/TO in business, the family version of the V/TO, called The Family Plan, helps couples to align around their Core Values — the things that they care about and value most. Jill and I use these Core Values to help us determine who we want to be spending more time with (and, occasionally, who we need to stop spending time with). They’re also instrumental in helping to instill clear values in our children.  

Instead of the Core Focus section that businesses use, the family version has a section to discover your shared Passions with your spouse. We discovered our five shared passions by asking ourselves, “What are our shared passions that, if 80 percent of our time or more were spent in these areas, they would give us energy, purpose, and excitement?”

The Family Plan also includes:

  • The 10-Year Target, or Big Goal — the Number One big goal that you want to achieve over the long term. 
  • The Dreams List — a shared bucket list of all the things you want to do one day. 
  • 3-Year Picture™ — what does a day in the life of your family, business, and personal lives look like in three years? 
  • One-Year Plan — the 3-7 most important things you need to get done in the next year to be on track with your 3-year picture. 
  • Rocks — 90-day priorities that are most important in the next quarter for your family.
  • Issues List — all those things that are important, but not most important right now.

Rocks

Rocks help you to get aligned on what’s most important in the next 90 days. There’s a lot of seasonality in a family’s home life, especially when you have kids. There’s school season, holiday seasons, summer break, and more. All these seasons require a different level of activity, engagement, and health. There’s also the seasonality around your careers. 

Rocks cut through all that to help you determine the three to seven most important things in the next 90 days. 

By the way, I also showed my parents how to implement the EOS Tools in their homelife, and the process helped my mom beat cancer.

Accountability Chart™ 

The Accountability Chart plays an important part of your home life. It clarifies the family roles, and who is accountable for each one of them. Figure out the handful of roles that make your family go. Brainstorm what they are and determine the roles that you and your spouse will each be accountable for. Of course, you’ll help each other in those roles, but the Family Accountability Chart clarifies who owns what in your family, so that the right person is ultimately accountable. 

Jill and I have found that this exercise produces some great, rich dialogue. It also lets you create roles for your kids, so they know what’s expected of them day in and day out. 

Don’t simply verbalize the roles — have the Family Accountability Chart in writing, and post it where everybody in your family can easily see it.  Ours is on the inside of our pantry door.  When we open the door, it’s right there for us all to easily see. 

Level 10 Meeting

In many ways, this is the pulse of the EOS-run family. The weekly Level 10 Meetings are very powerful, and serve as a linchpin of communication between spouses — and ultimately with the whole family. 

I recommend having two Level 10 Meetings. One is just you and your spouse sitting down for an hour once per week, and one is with your kids. Think of them like the leadership team Level 10 Meeting and the Departmental Level 10 Meeting. 

Here’s what it looks like in our family. First, we do a quick check-in and share personal good news and family good news for the week. Then we check our Rocks, review our calendar for the next two weeks out, review our To-Do List and IDS™ our issues. 

Issues could be anything from needing to call the lawn care service to planning vacations to solving bigger relational issues — whatever is hot and important in any given week. 

Jill and I have found that these Level 10 Meetings solve communication issues, big time — but only if we commit to doing them the same day every week, at the same time, in the same place. 

Listen to this podcast for more information on running the Level 10 Meeting at home (starts around the 12:09 mark).

Take Your Family from Good to Great!

Just as a business has a leadership team, your family also has a leadership team — you and your spouse. If you have kids, you know that your lives are already exponentially more complex than without kids. 

Using EOS Tools in your family can help bring order out of the chaos at home. Every team has issues and problems, but teams that are really effective at clear communication can solve those issues. As with business, the EOS Tools create strong and healthy communication around the most important topics in your family life.

Get a copy of The Family Plan V/TO! Email Me or ask your Professional EOS Implementer for a copy.