ALPS group of companies is a leading provider of Motor Claims Solutions, Road Rescue Services and Legal Expenses Insurance products to Insurance Brokers, Networks & Intermediaries throughout the UK.
Here the Managing Director, Ian Micklewright explains why they chose to run an EOS workshop for the whole management team, as well as the leadership team.
Quick business tips from EOS Implementer, Julia Langkraehr of Bold Clarity.
The first in the series focuses on how to be a better leader.
You want your business to be the best. That means getting the best from every employee and ensuring they all work towards the same common goal of taking your company to the next level.
As a UK Certified EOS Implementer, I’m often asked the same question: how do I ensure my employees are motivated and efficient. I believe it is one of our most important jobs as leaders and managers.
People want feedback, they want to do a good job, to know it, and to be recognised and rewarded when they do.
Keren Lerner is the owner of our clients Top Left Design, a design and marketing agency she founded in 2002. Here she discusses how her decision-making processes have changed since her company started implementing EOS in 2015.
In the past when I had a business worry, I would either mull it around for ages, procrastinate thinking about it, or (most often in my case) make a quick decision so I could just move on with my life!
In our February guest post, Adrian Gregory, the CEO of our client Data IQ, describes some of the challenges his leadership team faced, while implementing EOS – and how quickly the team has come on board to create a plan and vision for the future.
- Can you explain a little about Data IQ – what you do, how many employees you have, how long you have been in business?
DataIQ is a membership business, which connects, educates and supports a fast growing community of data and analytics professionals. We also connect vendors to this community to generate business leads, build brand awareness and drive business success.
We’ve been going for 3-years as a stand-alone business, 5-years as a content marketing programme for our sister business DQM GRC. Today we have 18 staff of which 12 are full time.
In the second of our monthly guest posts, Jane Wheeler, from our clients Hine Legal, describes how introducing an operating system into their business has helped them focus on their priorities and solve issues facing them.
Hine Legal is a specialist employment law firm.
It was set up by Nick Hine in 2011. Nick’s vision was to provide practical, user-friendly employment law advice for businesses and individuals. The firm currently has 7 employment lawyers and 2 support staff.
It advises on a range of employment matters: for businesses, it advises on all issues arising in the lifecycle of the employment relationship (so, drafting new employment contracts, advising on difficult matters in the workplace – such as sickness and poor performance – helping businesses handle employment claims and providing practical training for managers and HR to equip them to deal more confidently with matters in the workplace when they arise).
For individuals (typically senior executives and board level individuals) Hine Legal advises on navigating tricky situations in the workplace.
As I speak with entrepreneurs and business owners, one of the most common questions I ask is “Who is on your leadership team?”.
I’m often met with a wry look, and the answer is “Well, I’m not really sure.” Or they start trying to justify and make excuses as they explain who they think it may be. “Well, it should be this, but I may have too many people.” Typically they’re not clear and unsure.
In my time as an entrepreneur, and working with entrepreneurs, I’ve realised that the companies which are most successful are those with a clear vision about what they do, and what they want to achieve.
They are able to define what EOS terms their “three uniques”. These are the three things that in combination mark the company out from its competitors.
It’s why a customer would choose your brand over any others.
Often a business leader might identify their people, their customer service or quality as their three uniques.
When it comes to implementing an operating system into a workplace, I often hear the same objection – “they’ll hinder creativity”.
Is that actually true? The best place to start would probably be explain what an operating system is.
What is an operating system?
An operating system is a way of running your business, using a proven method, so that every aspect is organised, documented and managed.
The operating system we recommend is the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). This includes a set of tools and a process, customised for your business, which organises the entire company in the same way.
Today, you can take control of your business by using the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to improve your business performance.
There are two major decisions you need to make:
- Is EOS is right for you and your team – are you willing to make changes and decisions?
- Who is the right implementer to help you – you need to look for the right experience and chemistry match
Before you make these decisions, let us look at EOS more carefully so you can understand how it works to improve your business.
When people discuss the most influential business books, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins, is one of the most frequently mentioned.
It’s sold over four million copies and remains one of the most instructive and important leadership resources, carrying wisdom that has remained pertinent since its publication in 2001.
The Entrepreneurial Operating System takes inspiration from Good to Great, and creates simple tools which help you put the characteristics of what makes a good company into practice.
Business growth is rarely smooth and easy.
It tends to occur in spurts, often as a business responds to the things going on around it – a changing the economic climate, winning and losing customers, launching new products and services, increased competition in the market and so on.
Having shifted to accommodate the new environment, a company will often plateau as it is set up and structured with people and processes to generate the revenue it is producing. It is not set up to generate two or three times that.
So change is needed. What got you here, won’t get you to the next level.
Most business owners recognise the importance of setting targets.
Leaders regularly set goals to achieve in the next quarter, next year, three and perhaps five years. But ten years? Really?
Introducing the BHAG
Some leaders find it difficult to set a ten year goal because they dealing with day-to-day pressures and continually firefighting.
One of my clients said; “I can’t think 10 years in advance. Why set a 10 year target?”
Many businesses around the globe have discovered the discipline, focus and accountability that the Entrepreneurial Operating System brings.
One of the key decisions for companies at the start of the process is how to implement EOS.
An effective implementation can mean the difference between the system working and helping a business to grow and scale, or it remaining unstructured, inefficient, disorganised – and stuck.
Most people are surprised to learn that the EOS tools are all free and open source. The system is described in Gino Wickman’s book Traction.
There are three different ways to introduce EOS into your business.
- Some people choose to self-implement EOS, using Traction as a guide and the free downloaded tools.
- Secondly, you can choose supported self-implementation, where for a small fee you can join Basecamp, which includes videos, explanations and access to the tools.
- And then thirdly, my clients have chosen to engage a Certified EOS Implementer™, to lead them through the EOS process.
1. Thou Shalt Not Rule by Consensus
Consensus management doesn’t work, period. Eventually, group consensus decisions will put you out of business.
2. Thou Shalt Not be a Weenie
The solution is often simple. It’s just not always easy. You must have a strong will, firm resolve, and the willingness to make the tough decision.
3. Thou Shalt Be Decisive
In a study that analyzed 25,000 people who had experienced failure. Lack of decision, or procrastination, was one of the major causes.
4. Thou Shalt Not Rely on Secondhand Information
You can’t solve an issue involving multiple people without all the parties present. If the issue at hand involves more than the people in the room, schedule a time when everyone can attend.
5. Thou Shalt Fight for the Greater Good
Put your egos, titles, emotions, and past beliefs aside. Focus on the vision for your organization. If you stay focused on the greater good, it will lead you to better and faster decisions.
6. Thou Shalt Not Try to Solve Them All
Take issues one at a time, in order of priority. What counts isn’t quantity but quality. You’re never going to solve them all at one time.
7. Thou Shalt Live With, End It, or Change It
If you can no longer live with the issue, you have two options: change it or end it. If you don’t have the wherewithal to do those, then agree to live with it and stop complaining.
8. Thou Shalt Choose Short-Term Pain and Suffering
Both long-term and short-term pain involve suffering. A great rule of thumb that makes this point is called “thirty-six hours of pain.” Solve your problem now rather than later. Choose short-term suffering.
9. Thou Shalt Enter the Danger
The issue you fear the most is the one you most need to discuss and resolve. When you’re afraid, your brain actually works against you. Being open and honest will enable you to confront and solve your critical issues and get moving forward again.
10. Thou Shalt Take a Shot
Taking a shot means that you should propose a solution. Don’t wait around for someone else to solve it. Don’t be afraid to take a shot. Yours might be the good idea.
The e-book Decide by Gino Wickman is full of great advice about good decision making. To download your copy, click here.
One of the questions my clients ask me is how can they attract and hire the right talent – ie people.
I believe finding the right talent starts with having a defined process and system, both in your hiring process, and to help you be great at the interview stage.
How to interview potential staff
One of the books I use and recommend is Who, a Method of Hiring, by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.
In a recent EOS session, I had a revealing conversation with the business founder which highlights an issue many businesses face.
He said, “I’m used to making all the decisions myself, and it’s been an adjustment for me to include others in the decision-making process.”
Some founders find it hard to let go.
Imagine, for a moment, you’re standing on a path. In front of you, there’s a large, round boulder. What do you do?
Looking at it, you can tell it would take a lot of strength and willpower to get the rock moving – and besides, where would you even take it?
Running your own business can be fun, stressful and rewarding, and for some is the culmination of a lifelong dream.
Like a lot of businesses, you can benefit from the EOS system. It strengthens your business by implementing tools to help it grow, and to focus the team.