It’s easy for business leaders to become entrenched in day-to-day operations. Time gets swallowed by constantly arising challenges and issues that need “immediate” attention.
As my Dad always tells my kids, “You have to dribble with your head up so you can see what’s happening on the court!” It’s the same in business: you have to figure out a way to juggle the day-to-day responsibilities while thinking broadly and long-term about your business.
Early in 2015, I picked up a bestselling business book called Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman. For me, it ended up being one of those books you study intently, not just read one time. In it, Gino reveals his philosophy and process for establishing a solid and well-run company, which he refers to as EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System.
Of course, after I read the book I had to learn more. So I went to the website and learned that they train and certify EOS Implementers. I ended up meeting Erik Perkins, an EOS Implementer near where I live. He is the embodiment of a professional business coach. Super savvy and easy to talk to.
Based on his experience and training through EOS, here are 5 key organizational attributes he sees in successful companies: Do you have them?
1. One Person Accountable
The organization has one person accountable for running the day-to-day business. Their top 5 roles are to:
- Lead, manage, and hold everyone accountable
- Execute the business plan
- Integrate major functions
- Resolve cross-functional issues
- Communicate across the organization
Erik teaches that there are two main types of leaders: a visionary (the idea person) and an integrator (the get-it-done person). He says that it’s common for a company to have a visionary, but no integrator. For long-term success, the visionary leader must delegate accountability for the day-to-day business to another person who has the capacity to do each of the above roles.
2. One System
Imagine running a country with two governments – that could get pretty ugly. To prevent discontent and miscommunication, you need to create a uniform approach to running your company.
A well-developed system will have defined terminology so that everyone is speaking the same language, uniform processes for setting and prioritizing goals, and consistent methods for communicating with employees.
According to Erik, you can’t run a business effectively using 2 or more different operating philosophies, methods, languages, etc. People will be confused; you must choose one.
3. 80% Strong in These 6 Key Components
You should be measurably strong in the following 6 key components of the business:
- Vision – More than 80% of the people know exactly where you are going with the organization and how you will get it there.
- People – More than 80% of the people possess your Core Values and perform roles that they get, want, and have the capacity to do.
- Data – More than 80% of the people are accountable for a number that drives your financial future.
- Issues – More than 80% of people are in one weekly meeting spending time solving issues and not just discussing issues. They are great at setting up issues and knocking them down for the long-term.
- Process – More than 80% of people are aware of your Core Processes, which are documented and followed religiously.
- Traction – More than 80% of people have at least one goal for the quarter that will further the company’s Vision. They are in a weekly departmental meeting that provides time for great short-term planning: Connecting with each other, reporting, following through, and identifying issues and solutions.
4. One “Right” Person Owns Long-Term Planning
Erik teaches his clients that a successful company has one “right” person that owns all aspects of long-term planning. This trusted individual is responsible for ensuring the company stays focused on the 10 year, yearly, and quarterly targets. The “right” person:
- Has the ability to create the context before the team engages in discussion.
- Is willing to “enter the danger” to get down to the root cause of an issue, even if it’s painful at times.
- Should understand and possess the tools to build team health at the right pace.
This list goes on, but the “right” person will not only get the job done, but will also propel your team forward.
5. Satisfied Owner
This is the dream! It's when you have received everything you want out of your business: profit, more time away, less frustration, perpetuation, etc.
If all five attributes exist in your organization, great job! You’re well on your way to success. However, if there are gaps, it may be time to change things up.
I’m going to shamelessly plug Erik Perkins here! If you’re interested in learning more about EOS or just want to talk to someone about your business, give him a call at 248-342-4334. I have the highest regard for him and trust you’ll have a valuable conversation.