One thing business owners and leaders tend to misinterpret is the term ‘Issues List’ when they are using the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).
In order to move understand, we need to redefine our definition of “issues”. For most people, the natural reaction in their brain is to think of bad things once the word issue is used. Instead, you need to visualise it as somewhere to park all of the topics you need to solve in your business – positive or negative.
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.
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.
Traction® Tools is a dashboard & workspace software for businesses implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).
It is your go-to place to store all the things you need to run your business efficiently.
At Bold Clarity, we use Traction® Tools every day. We use it to update our to do lists, add issues that need to be addressed, keep track of client updates, monitor progress on our quarterly priorities, and track the most important numbers in the business.
We can see everyone’s to do lists, headlines and issues, in one place, and are able to automate our Level 10 meetings. This makes us more efficient, productive and helps us to develop good habits and discipline.
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.
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.
EOS can make rapid, tangible differences to the way your business operates – from better communication and greater transparency to stronger structures and improved accountability.
Here some of our clients describe their top six benefits of running your business on EOS.
“Following each meeting we had a list of actions and assistance to ensure our tasks were completed before the next session. The best thing was that the team can see the results immediately. They see things changing, whereas in the past we would promise but never execute.” Jason Choy, Welcome Gate MD
“We’ve found that we can embed effective business tools into our day to day habits – it turns out we all like to track, measure and create useful magic spreadsheets more than we thought!” Keren Lerner, Top Left Design CEO
The Vision/Traction Organiser (VTO) is probably the most important document you’ll complete, if you’re running your business on the Entrepreneurial Operating System.
It is a unique two-page template for organising plans and forecasts the future of a company. Once completed it acts as a time-management tool, helping you decide when to action each element of your strategy.
We have all seen simple one-page solutions for creating and organising your company strategy, but the VTO is different.
Building a good team culture in your business is essential. It can be the difference between success or failure, stagnation or growth.
When I founded my first business, Retail Profile, we started small.
Despite this, we consistently doubled the size of our business without growing the size of our team.
This was because we consciously set out to build an amazing team culture that made sure everyone fitted in, felt involved, felt valued and everyone shared the company vision.
In order to take a company to the next level, most businesses will need to continually evolving their vision.
Your business may have outgrown your initial plans and become more complex as it has grown.
These three key points will help you get your team on board and communicate your vision as it evolves.
One of the favourite sayings of EOS implementers is “Vision without traction is merely hallucination.”
Vision and Traction are two of the elements, along with Healthy, which make up the Entrepreneurial Operating System.
- Vision: ensuring everyone shares the same outlook on where your organisation is heading, and how it will get there.
- Traction: bringing discipline through responsibility and accountability, so you can execute to achieve every part of your vision
- Healthy: help them become a healthy, functional, cohesive leadership team, because unfortunately, leaders don’t always function well as a team
Which should come first – traction or vision?
Our first Business Leader Breakfast, which took place earlier this month, was a great success.
Along with fellow EOS implementer Dean Breyley, of Grow or Die, we discussed the topic of “Is your culture killing your business”.
We focused on how to put the right structure in place for your company and how to hire the right team to match your business culture.
We introduced the entrepreneurs who attended the event to some of the tools which EOS uses to help you assess your team and hire the right people.
Here’s a short video about the event.
Our first Business Leader Breakfast focused on business culture. We’re already planning our next Business Leader Breakfast, which will concentrate on one of the other elements of an organisation.
If you’d be interested in attending, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website, and we will make sure you receive an invitation.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to implementing EOS effectively, because it has a different impact on your team, across every level of an organisation.
That’s where The Traction library comes in. As everyone in your team needs to possess the correct information and means to implement it, the books in The Traction library are tailormade for every level in a business.
Whether you are senior management or below, these books are designed to make everyone more in-tune with their role and better placed to make your company thrive. Here is a brief synopsis on each.
When it comes to building a successful company in any industry, you will need to overcome a number of challenges.
Having a strong leadership team in place is one of the key ways to be confident of your company’s long-term success.