How You Can Work On Your Business, Not In It
You have probably heard, “don’t work in your business, work on it.” I read that in E-Myth but struggled with how to do it.
When I encountered Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, I realized our company needed an operating system.
Simply put, an operating system aligns your people’s daily activities with your goals, keeping everyone accountable and focused on your company getting traction towards your big goals.
An Operating System Ensures Priorities Get Done without You
The operating system takes you, the CEO, out of the center of daily operations, so the team is accountable to the system, not you. You still get key performance indicators (KPIs)and status updates, but you don’t need to nag to ensure progress is being made.
One CEO explained:
We used to all bring our Franklin Day Planners to leadership meetings. If someone didn’t write down an assignment, it was lost. EOS is like a company day planner, ensuring everyone does what they agree to do.
Why You Need an Operating System for Your Company
Every healthy, scalable company has an operating system to give traction to the company vision. The need for an operating system usually becomes apparent after the company grows beyond 10-20 full-time employees.
Without an operating system, the CEO is immersed in the daily operations of the business, managing people, KPIs, and projects that could be managed by a system.
An effective operating system will keep the team focused on measurable progress towards those goals by giving you a simple process for identifying your unique vision for your company:
- your core values (purpose, culture, hiring criteria, etc.)
- your core focus (opportunities, strategies, etc.),
- your long term goals,
- your marketing strategy,
- your 1-year plan, and
- weekly routines that give your company focused on moving forward towards measurable goals.
Popular Business Operating Systems
If you are like most company founders, your company’s operating system is home-grown from ideas, tools, and processes you read about or designed yourself. Increasingly, CEOs are borrowing methodologies from books like E-Myth, 4 Disciplines of Execution, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, and Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.
The most popular operating system for small and midsize companies is EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System), from Gino Wickman’s book, Traction.
What is EOS?
EOS is Gino Wickman’s accountability system from Traction. It is a best-in-class business operating system that will free you, the CEO, from the stress and daily operations of the business—to focus on your vision to elevate your company.
Author Gino Wickman describes EOS as
a set of timeless business principles and real-world tools that help entrepreneurs get what they want from their businesses. By mastering this simple “way of operating,” leadership teams of growth-oriented companies systematically and permanently improve. EOS is a proven system with over 10 years of history and over 8,000 companies are currently using EOS tools. It consistently helps companies achieve more revenue, growth, and profit, and also delivers a better balance of life to company owners and leaders.
EOS Worldwide provides a summary of the Traction EOS framework:
1. Vision. Strengthening this component means getting everyone in the organization 100 percent on the same page with where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.
2. People. Simply put, we can’t do it without great people. This means surrounding yourself with great people, top to bottom, because you can’t achieve a great vision without a great team.
3. Data. This means cutting through all the feelings, personalities, opinions and egos and boiling your organization down to a handful of objective numbers that give you an absolute pulse on where things are.
With the Vision, People, and Data Components strong, you start to create a lucid, transparent, open and honest organization where everything becomes more visible and you start to “smoke out all the issues,” which leads to…
4. Issues. Strengthening this component means becoming great at solving problems throughout the organization – setting them up, knocking them down and making them go away forever.
5. Process. This is the secret ingredient in your organization. This means “systemizing” your business by identifying and documenting the core processes that define the way to run your business. You’ll need to get everyone on the same page with what the essential procedural steps are, and then get everyone to follow them to create consistency and scalability in your organization.
6. Traction. This means bringing discipline and accountability into the organization – becoming great at execution – taking the vision down to the ground and making it real.
Can EOS Give My Business Traction?
Identifying whether EOS is right for your business would involve a few inexpensive steps:
- Buy the $10 book, Traction.
- Read the first 2-3 chapters. Then you will see exactly whether EOS is right for you.
- The rest is just implementation. There is nothing more to buy.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about EOS
Why should my company use EOS over other systems?
The key reasons an increasing number of CEOs are applying Traction EOS are:
- EOS is simple to implement (if a system is too complex, implementation is delayed or may never occur).
- EOS gets results because it daily focuses your team on their part of your company’s most important goals.
Is this a new concept?
No. The chief criticism of EOS is this: Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business merely repackages concepts that have been around for a couple decades. That is a fair criticism. McKinsey & Company has been helping companies implement similar ideas for years. Many business books have fundamentally similar concepts.
Gino Wickman repackaged proven concepts in a way that is simple for companies to understand and apply. While other systems may be more complex, the simplicity of implementing Traction has been an important factor in the increasing number of companies adopting EOS.
What are other books with similar concepts?
- Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers, by Alexander Osterwalder
- Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm, by Verne Harnish
- The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals, by Sean Covey
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber
Is there a book to give examples of applying EOS?
Yes. Get A Grip: An Entrepreneurial Fable . . . Your Journey to Get Real, Get Simple, and Get Results, by Gino Wickman, Mike Paton
Is EOS expensive?
Are you affiliated with EOS?
No. We are not affiliated with EOS Worldwide nor Gino Wickman. We are a business law firm.
Why is a Law Firm Interested in EOS?
You may be wondering, why would a business attorney be such a Traction EOS fan? Over 20 years ago, I wanted to learn how to grow great companies. To learn from successful company leaders, I needed to find a way to work closely with them, so I attended law school to be a business attorney.
A successful CEO introducted me to Gino Wickman’s book, Traction. As I read it, I was overwhelmed. “This is what I have been looking for all my life,” I thought. This book summarized the most basic tools of building an entrepreneurial company. It aligned with concepts from the best business books, without all the fluff. I have read hundreds of business books, but no book covered so many foundational business concepts in such a practical way that company leadership teams could implement.
We implemented Traction EOS in our law firm. We love it. Traction EOS reduced my anxiety, brought health to our team, improved the value we bring to our marketplace and resulted in our business having significant growth.