Streetwise: Is EOS Right for Me?

November 2, 2020

From our friends at Eure Consulting:

Lots of business owners have read about, or at least heard of, the Entrepreneurial Operating System or EOS. Outlined by Gino Wickman in his book Traction, EOS is a simple and straightforward system for running a business more effectively and efficiently. After reading Traction most business owners ask themselves if implementing EOS at their company is a good idea. Our answer is always an unqualified, ‘Perhaps!’

When we say ‘Perhaps’, the biggest factor we are including in that answer is the fact that implementing EOS is not for everyone. You as the CEO need to understand if EOS is right for you.

EOS is not for those who do not enjoy the core of what they are doing.

If you don’t like leading others, being responsible for the success or failure of your enterprise, putting yourself and your net worth on the line, and having the buck stop with you, EOS is not going to change any of that. EOS will help you get your business running better and more profitably faster with fewer missteps, but it is not a magic wand. It is a great system on which to operate your small business, but the buck still stops with you. You are the ultimate decision maker. Using EOS effectively will make your decision making easier and more intentional, but when the you-know-what hits the fan, you are still the person that has to make the call.

EOS is not for those looking for a project to keep them busy or who are chasing the next shiny ‘management’ thing to try.

EOS is about running your business better. It works if you commit to it and work it. It is not a system to try in passing or to experiment with for a few months. It is not something you can hand off to your number two. You as the owner/CEO have to own it and push down throughout your organization. EOS will make your job as a CEO easier. You will have the data you need to make decisions and you will have the talent you need to execute those decisions. But you have to live it to make it work.

EOS is not for those with limited resources and time.

We don’t just mean monetary resources. If you don’t have the money to pay an implementer, EOS can still be for you as you can self-implement it. Implementing EOS, whether individually or with an outside implementer, is first and foremost a commitment to invest your time and energy. It is an investment in the long-term success of your business. EOS is something you will use for years because it really is that good.

Once you are sure that EOS is right for you as an individual, next you need to make sure EOS is right for leadership team and your company.

Implementing EOS can make you, your company, and your team better, happier, healthier, and more profitable. It is simple to understand and the concepts are wonderful, but the implementation is not easy. Like all things worth doing, EOS is worth doing right. You need to be prepared for hard work and tough decisions. Here are some basic requirements to keep in mind before you begin implementation:

Commitment

Like Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill, you too may never think you will make it to a full implementation of EOS. The first year requires the most time. You will simultaneously be doing things both the old way and the new way. As a result, everyone on the leadership team will be pulling double duty: their regular job plus the preliminary work of implementation. You have to be prepared to keep with the process and push the boulder over the hill despite the extreme demands on your time and attention.

People

EOS’s approach to people is smart because it gets you thinking of your organizational chart first – what roles are needed – and your current employees second. This might mean having to move someone to a different role that is better suited for them and/or moving someone off of the leadership team that just isn’t ready. EOS also makes you reexamine whether everyone is the right fit for the company which will lead you to letting those poor fits go. Be prepared to make tough decisions.

Accountability

One of the major benefits of EOS is that it instills a sense of accountability across your company. But if you do not have a history of holding your team accountable, you will get some pushback during the EOS implementation process as you work to improve accountability. Once everyone sees you are serious about it and that it is now the new normal it will be accepted. Many people will be excited by this new level of performance expectation, but there may be a few folks who are not willing to match this change in culture. Again it’s about getting the right people in the right seats.

Once you are able to really embrace these areas, then you are more than ready to bring EOS to your company. Like we said, it’s not rocket science. But you have to make sure that you, and your leadership team, have completely bought in to the process and are willing to make it a priority. You have to be able to ensure that you will be able to continue that momentum even when your workloads are heavy. We often see that there is a lot of enthusiasm for a project like this in the beginning stages, but as time goes on and the whirlwind of the everyday comes back into play, commitment, or perhaps more accurately, focus, starts to wane. Be prepared to combat that loss of energy, otherwise your EOS implementation will fizzle out.

And if you are prepared to commit to the time, investment, and personal growth that EOS implementation will take, but still think that you’ll need an accountability partner to make sure that everything keeps moving forward, despite day-to-day obstacles, then working with an outside implementer may be right for you.

An implementer will be able to take you through the implementation process, answer your questions, help you avoid the bumps in the road, hold you accountable to a time line, advise you on where you will have issues with your people and your operations/systems, and help get you into the routine of EOS until you are ready to run it on your own.

But, just like EOS itself, an outside implementer is not for everyone.

Implementers are not for those that want to or have to do it all themselves. If you are the type of leader who has to have all the answers, be the smartest person in the room, be the hub of your proverbial wheel, then working with an implementer is not for you. I was one of those guys. So, I get it. When you learn not to be one of those guys give us a call. Until then, do it yourself. Read all of the books. Use all of the wonderful tools that EOS Worldwide has to offer. Connect with others that have already implemented EOS at their companies.