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 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.
As a business leader, listening shows that you appreciate your team and it forges trust between you and your employees.
We all feel the need to be recognised and one of the ways leaders can recognise team members is to praise them in public and be sure to give them the time they need.
It is one of the most important leadership skills you can develop.
The best leaders give their teams the necessary tools, resources, training, technology, people, and most importantly their time and attention.
The rabbit and the tortoise. The wolf in sheep’s clothing. The three little pigs. Animals have featured in tales about morals and decisions about life since dawn began. But have you heard about the hedgehog and the fox?
The concept stems from an ancient Greek parable, which roughly translates as “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one thing”.
In 1953, famous philosopher Isaiah Berlin applied this to how we live in modern society. He said that people can be split into one of two creatures – foxes and hedgehogs.
Foxes choose to pursue a great many things at one time, but as a result, they achieve very little.
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.
You may have never considered offering business coaching to your leadership team.
You might think it is too expensive, or too hard to find the right coach, or you may not have realised what the benefits would be for your business.
Here are four of our top benefits to consider:
Growing any business entails strong leadership skills.
A good leader helps maintain and enhance the employee motivation and creativity required to increase levels of service or the products you are offering.
Signs your business growth is slowing
Businesses never grow in a straight line, they generally thrive and grow then “hit a ceiling” when they reach a period of slowdown or growing pains.
When this happens, business leaders often feel they’re stuck in a rut or overwhelmed and frustrated with daily operations.
Five leadership abilities for business growth
These five essential leadership abilities will help you break through the ceiling and get back on track:
In order to stay competitive with changing work patterns, most companies need to consider a policy for remote and flexible working.
With so many advances in technology, it doesn’t make sense for people to waste time commuting during peak hours, when they can work remotely, far more conveniently and efficiently.
Companies which focus on results, rather than the number of hours seen at a desk, will be able to attract the smartest, most personally responsible and accountable team members.
I can see a number of companies outsourcing to the best person, regardless of where they are located, whether in the UK or elsewhere. For example, my outsourced marketing contractor uses a graphic designer who lives in Canada.
Entrepreneurs running their own business often have many people giving them advice – parents, friends, consultants, lawyers and even your hairdresser or barber. Everyone thinks they know what somebody else should be doing.
However, tried and tested words of wisdom always work best. Here are four simple yet effective ways to develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
There is a lot of noise around at the moment about how to manage millennials.
But what exactly is a millennial? When I canvassed the team in the office, the one person we thought was a millennial – our office assistant – did not identify as one.
She described them as “following the latest trend”, “high maintenance”, “seeking approval through social media” and “shallow.”
She felt that they are afraid of showing who they really are, being themselves and it’s hard to have a genuine conversation about things that matter with them.
Although she is officially a millennial (Wikipedia defines them as having been born between 1981 to 1996 – 22 to 37 year olds), she believes it’s become more a description of a type of person than simply being defined by the dates you were born.
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.
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?”
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.
The other day, I was talking with a tech entrepreneur and asked him “What are the biggest challenges you face in your business?
He replied “Me, I’m the bottleneck. I tend to see something isn’t working, and I jump in and get involved.”
Most dedicated business owners can relate to this.
Letting go of the reins and handing them over your employees can be a real struggle, and if you want to grow your business, you’ve got to do it.
If you struggle with “bottleneck syndrome”, we recommend Ken Blanchard’s The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey.
Don’t do what doesn’t need doing.
Figure out your strengths and what you love, and resource everything else.
When you started your business, you probably did a number of non-core things in an attempt to save money.
And even once a business has grown, leaders often don’t consider outsourcing key skills, roles or responsibilities.
However, today’s market has changed.
Hiring the right staff is one of your most important tasks – if you don’t have the right people in the right seats, it can have a real impact on success of your business.
It is important to hire people who share the vision and culture of your business.
Here, our intregrator Majida Burch, describes the steps we take to make sure we hire staff who meet our vision and values.
It’s rare that anyone who starts their own business has a totally smooth ride. Ask any entrepreneur what they learn most from, and they’re bound to say their mistakes – and the lessons they learnt.
And I’m no different. I have experienced the entrepreneurial roller coaster.
Since 2001, I’ve launched a business in three European countries and have also lost a business, restarted it, rebuilt it, merged the business with my largest competitor and exited.
In 2014, I started my current business, Bold Clarity.
Regardless of where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, it’s vital to have a network around you who understand what you’re going through, can revel in the good times, and can help and support you through the bad.
Throughout this journey, I have had a supportive peer group of entrepreneurs.
There are many different networking and support groups aimed at business owners, both non-profit and some are for profit.
We recently exhibited at our first trade exhibition – the Entrepreneurs Organisation Global University – London at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane.
It was an inspirational event with speakers including Michelle Mone, the founder of Ultimo, Jim Lawless, former jockey and free diver, the journalist Matthew Syed, and the whole event was hosted by Gyles Brandreth. He was hilarious.
Growing businesses which want to scale have a lot of competing priorities. There is a lot going on with endless lists of to dos.
Imagine spinning plates on the end of a stick, with the MD and the leadership team running from plate to plate, trying to keep them all spinning, while other people in the organisation don’t know how to contribute.
Sometimes it feels like everything is a priority and there are not enough days and hours in the week to complete them all.
Just when you feel like you have accomplished a major to do, something in IT crashes and you have lost a day’s work.