Whether you are an entrepreneur starting a new business, an intrapreneur developing a new department, or you simply have a vested interest in your organization’s success, I have the blueprint for becoming a healthy Agile organization. When embarking on something new, mistakes and setbacks are bound to happen. But if someone developed a toolset that would help you achieve traction towards your vision sooner, wouldn’t you use it? Gino Wickman’s book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business (2011) and his corresponding Entrepreneurial Operating System, has become our go-to playbook for becoming a high functioning Agile organization. In this article, I’ve included the top 5 reasons I love the EOS system.
EOS starts with creating a vision and trickles down from there. It defines who and what your organization is, where it’s going, and how it’s going to get there. Setting your vision includes identifying your core values, core focus, 10-year target, marketing strategy, 3-year picture, 1-year plan, quarterly rocks, and pressing organizational issues. Yes, it is a lot, but once you get it all clear, it makes taking action that much easier and more meaningful.
EOS provides a set of management tools for business leaders that takes the pain and guesswork out of achieving traction towards your vision. There are templates for documenting core processes, evaluating people, memorializing your vision, setting goals, delegating work and elevating people, running effective meetings, and much more. When I find myself struggling with process or people issues, I always refer to the EOS toolbox rather than re-inventing the wheel.
With a clear and documented vision and a common set of tools, everyone in the organization buys into the process. The leadership team is not alone in setting goals or quarterly rocks. The rest of organization adopts the same toolbox and cadence to collectively achieve traction. Goal setting becomes easy because the entire organization knows where they are heading in the next several years and can set departmental and individual goals that align with that vision.
In Traction, Wickman states the obvious “The more clearly everyone can see your vision, the likelier you are to achieve it.” To that end, one of the most critical tools in the EOS toolbox is the V/TO or “Vision/Traction Organizer,” where the path and plan are memorialized. Everyone has access to view accomplishments, setbacks, shifted priorities, and get a constant reminder of the vision. It is important for the core focus, marketing strategy, and vision to constantly be re-iterated so everyone can have a hand in growing the organization.
Hand in hand with transparency is accountability. Gone are the days of pipe dream goals or verbal brainstorming with no follow through. Everything in EOS gets documented, shared, AND followed up on. Heck, the process goes so far as to require a rating after each meeting! Scores are based on weekly task completion, quarterly rock progress, being on time, processing key issues, etc. You cannot walk out of a meeting without an immediate retrospective and improvement suggestions for next time. Vague follow through or avoiding nagging issues are not options in the world of EOS.
The EOS system is brilliant in its simplicity and common sense. It takes everything we know we should do to become a high functioning organization and simplifies it to a set of tools and templates that help us hold ourselves accountable. If you want to learn more about how we’ve implemented the EOS system (or want to geek out about how you use it too), .