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The 1 Thing “Traction” Doesn’t Tell you About EOS Implementation

Updated: May 11


If there’s one thing in this world that’s certain, it’s that the fastest way to success is emulating the success of others.

So, let’s look at how Tractions and EOS works for other companies, how it can work for your business, and what to look out for along the way.


Implementing an EOS or Entrepreneurial Operating System has worked for over 40,000 companies around the world, so you decide to give Traction a read and now your leadership team is excited about giving the EOS a whirl. Congratulations, you’ve made the decision – that’s the easy part.


What Does EOS Do For You:

In its simplest form, EOS get all your arrows pointing in the same direction. In this case, the people in your business as the arrows – all pointing in different directions. This makes sense, as everyone has their own way of working, where they’re focus is, different goals and puts non-identical emphasis or priority on a certain task. Most organisations operate like this.

Now think about each of these arrows as energy or momentum. There’s a saying: “Where attention goes, energy flows.” What is meant by that is if you have all these arrows pointing in all sorts of directions, the company as a whole won’t really be moving anywhere.

So, EOS gets your arrows all lined up. Now we have common goals. We have a united focus. We have movement towards a singular vision. This structure uses a plan and values to galvanise your workforce – and the net result is business growth, control and balance.

In short, you now get everything you want out of your business.


THE FIRST DECISION:

To self-implement, or not to self-implement – that is the question. Blatant Hamlet rip off aside, the first decision you have to make is whether you go through the appropriate channels and get a certified EOS implementer to come on board and train your team, or chose to do it yourself.

Though an implementer isn’t cheap, and you’re essentially trusting your business to someone who you might regard as a total stranger. On the other hand – is there anyone in your business has the fortitude and drive to undertake the monumental task and challenge of implementing EOS in your business?

There are plenty of horror stories about companies who spent years attempting to implement EOS, before a lack of traction made them bite the bullet and hire a professional. The entrepreneurial spirit is like a superpower – that ability to figure out any problem, do anything, and generally tackle things head on. The way entrepreneurs are wired may as well be kryptonite though. EOS seems simple, and a business thinks it can do it without any help, but hubris straight out of the gate may cost you in the long run.

It’s an important decision, and one you have to consider from all angles if you’re to hit the ground running.


FROM THE TOP DOWN:

A common pitfall is to only run EOS through the executive level of a business, leaving out the managerial and frontline levels to either save on time, money, or effort. It’ll be something that hurts your business in the long run though!

There’s no point getting some arrows pointing in the same direction, and leaving others to point in whatever direction they want. The EOS only works properly when everyone embraces it.


THE ONLY SHOW IN TOWN:

So, you’ve implemented the six key components of your business – Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process, and Traction – as a model for solving issues, growing your vision, and achieving your goals faster. Brilliant.

The only issue is in bigger companies, each department is going to have its own way of operating. It’s all well and good to have your leadership team in sync and on the same page, but it’s useless if other levels of employees are still using their own methods of getting things done. Arrows pointing fanned out over 360 degrees.

There’s no point going in different directions, as they will cancel each other out and have your business stagnated and not going in any direction. The key here is to make sure everyone in your business is across the EOS. This means the cleaners that vacuum the office at night, to the CEO – all working off the same operating system.

It’s up to you to breed that culture. Employees have the option to get on board and be a team player, or be stubborn and work somewhere else. If some arrows can’t change direction, then the arrows are removed. Simples.


AN OLD DOG CAN LEARN NEW TRICKS

A big hurdle companies face when implementing EOS is resistance to change. The people working for them haven’t embraced EOS, and the whole thing has fallen over in one spectacular failure.

Employees that don’t buy into the benefits of working within the EOS point to one of two things. Either you have the wrong people working for you, and tough decisions have to be made as to whether they have a future in your business. Or you haven’t been assertive enough in building an ethos that fully encompasses your company’s values and way of doing things.

Middle management who aren’t using the EOS properly start a cascading chain of insufficient training – the frontline workers downstream won’t know any better and won’t use the EOS correctly either. The solution here is constant and updated manager training.

Have some patience, make yourself available to field queries about the EOS, and make sure that they get the hang of it and are comfortable working within an EOS. Some arrows may be easier to redirect than others, but the end result is worth it. Then sit back and watch as you regain control of your company, and watch it grow.


SORRY, YOU’LL HAVE TO SPEAK UP

Sometimes it’s not a case of having staff that are resistant to change, or who can’t see the benefits of implementing an EOS. There may be a communication breakdown somewhere, or a disconnect that prevents your staff from understanding what’s being taught to them.

What you think you’re communicating, and what is actually being understood, can sometimes be miles apart. Explanation, repetition, and response. Explain what you want your staff to do from here on out, make sure you say it often enough to sink in, and then question your staff about the processes to make sure they comprehend it.


If you’re unsatisfied with the quality of their answers or your discussion with them, then start from the top and explain it until all arrows are moving in the same direction.


WHEN IN DOUBT, OVERCOMMUNICATE

At the end of the day, you’re restructuring how an entire company operates in its day to day activities – a “one and done” attitude won’t cut it. Instead of feeling frustration at having to explain something multiple times, be thankful that you’re aware that there is a breakdown in communication, and you get the chance to address and remedy it.

Be patient. Repetition is the mother of all learning, so you’ll need to change it up a bit and interchange between written, verbal, and demonstrated communication in order to get the message across better. Everyone learns a little differently, so vary the vehicle of learning.

The arrows want to move in the same direction, so help them do just that.


WHERE IT ALL FALLS OVER

So, here’s how self-implemented EOS looks:


- Week 1: Everything is set up and everyone is onboard.

- Week 2: People get busy, and forget some action items on the to do list.

- Week 3: The busy people get further off track, and more to dos got missed.

- Week 4: Half of the stuff that was meant to get done, didn’t get done.

- Week 5: The scorecard and to do lists get breezed through in the meeting because no one can be bothered to do them anymore.


The next thing you know, you’re throwing your hands up in the air screaming “this traction book didn’t help at all”. Lack of accountability is like a cancer – once you let it spread, it will rip through your business like a disease.


It’s important to utilise the 4 Disciplines of Execution or 4DX during this time. Sure, you have this excellent strategy of EOS and traction, but it needs to be executed the right way.

Figure out how you want the success of both your business and the EOS implementation to be measured, then create a scoreboard to keep track of how things are going. Update this weekly after a team meeting, as a process to track the items that are being actioned by each team member.


Set the WIGs – the Wildly Important Goals. Both yourself, and your team, need to set aside 20% of their productive work time to work on the one facet of the business that everyone has agreed needs the most work. Once the commitment is made, it’s a bond and a promise that much be adhered to, and that people can be held accountable to.


The other 80% of the work day is dealing with the whirlwind – that overwhelming mass of regular, day to day activities and routine that powers the engine room of your company and keeps all the lights on. It’s a necessary evil, but it’s important to maintain this 20-80 split between the WIG work and the whirlwind grind in order for everyone to move forward together.


To sum it all up, self-implementation is possible if you address the shadow in the room. We’re talking about the fact that in an EOS where the goal is to have people in the business call out those who aren’t standing up and being counted, there is a stigma to avoid telling the boss they’re doing a bad job or dropping the ball. The system only works if the head honcho can be called out and held accountable the same as everyone else.

Don’t let EOS implementation shift focus away from the 4DX framework though as the two work together concurrently.


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