This EOS case study describes the experiences of Bold Clarity client Fordway as they implemented EOS.
Who are Fordway?
Fordway provides strategic IT consultancy, IT transformation and managed cloud services to UK-based medium to large enterprises and UK public sector clients. It was founded by the CEO, Richard Blanford almost 30 years ago.
The company is based in Godalming, Surrey. The leadership team is made up of three people with an Operational Management Team of five. Currently Fordway employs 66 staff and contractors.
Fordway before EOS
One of the main issues the company faced was that its work-flow was very ‘boom and bust’. Fordway implemented a new business model and had several years of good results following the 2008/9 financial crisis. However, it realised that the way forward was to generate more contractually guaranteed recurring revenue.
“We needed to establish a more consistent income across a more diverse client base. This had to be aligned with completing the change in our business model from being a consultancy led, project delivery specialist to a managed cloud service provider, ensuring consistent, contractually based ongoing/recurring service delivery.”
This meant big changes to the way Fordway worked internally and how it delivered to clients. Although a great deal of work was undertaken by the leadership team, including implementation of core values, strategy, forecasting and improved processes, a simple framework was needed to pull everything together.
Why did Fordway choose EOS?
The company first heard about the Entrepreneurial Operating System when one of its team attended a peer group at which Julia was speaking. EOS was recommended and the Leadership Team read Traction. All were impressed that the system seemed suitable for smaller companies: it covered key areas we knew we needed to improve and made sense. Traction was different: unlike many business books, it explained both what to do and provided guidance to tools on how to do it.
Fordway started working with Bold Clarity in April 2017, launching EOS properly throughout the business from September 2017. The leadership team has now been implementing EOS for nearly three years, so while they have officially “graduated”, Julia still facilitates the company’s annual planning meetings and when new members join the leadership team.
The first steps to implementation were to restructure the management team, review processes and then define the company’s vision in the Vision/Traction Organiser.
Fordway found that while some team members embraced it, there was initially some resistance from the operational management team which contributed to a year of unusually high staff turn-over. However following the disruption and getting the right people in the right place, EOS was generally seen to be a positive framework for the business.
Two new roles on the leadership team were created – Head of Sales & Marketing and Head of Operations. To date the company has found it hard to find the right people for these two ‘seats’. The initial hires for these roles had subsequently left which set the implementation of EOS back. The EOS process ensured that the leadership team had a better understanding of what they required from these roles and now both roles have been filled.
“Implementing EOS has given Fordway more consistent processes across the business, better planning and forecasting and a clearly defined 10-year target which is driving progress.”
EOS has provided objective measures for internal staff assessment and allowed the leadership team to focus on the most important areas and work.
Richard said that implementing EOS had taken time and effort. He estimates Fordway is now 85–90% there in implementation and operation of EOS.
“The company is at a stage where it has resolved the quick and easy issues and quick wins and is now concentrating on the more fundamental issues facing it.”
Within a year of implementing EOS, both Fordway’s profitability and employee retention rates had increased. The system helped the company with messaging, values and staff alignment and meant the leadership team were better able to delegate responsibility appropriately, so more is done by the operational team.
EOS has changed the structure of the business effectively, even though it is still working on the right leadership team.
“Using an implementer like Julia guided us through the EOS process and introduced the tools at the right time. Another benefit has been the discipline of having someone independent to instil good discipline and hold the Leadership Team to account.”
As time has moved on, Julia’s role has become more focused on helping the company set decent Rocks and improving the business forecasting.
“I am happy to recommend both EOS as a process and Julia as an implementer for businesses like ours”.
If our EOS case study has resonated with you, and you’d like to find out more about how the system can help your business please get in touch.