a woman on a dock looking towards the sky and birds flying

BE WHERE YOU ARE WHEN YOU’RE THERE

Are you proud of your ability to multi-task? Can you close a deal, hire someone, attend a video conference AND make dinner plans – all while driving your car?

Many entrepreneurs are not only capable of keeping all those plates spinning, they’re fiercely proud of it. Yes, it is true that cramming 20 pounds of productivity into a 10-pound bag can be an important skill when you’re building a great business from scratch. However, it’s also true that all frenetic multi-taskers reach a point of diminishing returns as their businesses and teams grow.

The fact is, none of us do our best work when we’re not fully present. If you’re a visionary entrepreneur, much of what you’ve built started with your ability to think and create something from scratch. This work is best done without distraction, without the inevitable pull of “stuff” that needs to get done. When you’re fleshing out one of those big ideas, you then need to research, test, and learn from your successes and failures – all stuff that’s best done when you can slow down, tune in, and really observe and learn.

Are You Fully Present and Engaged?

As you hire and empower other capable people, they also need your undivided attention from time to time. They need to clearly understand your vision, get your feedback on a company Rock or important hire, maybe just get to know what’s going on inside that visionary brain of yours. All these things require you to be fully present, to eliminate distractions, and to show up as your best self.

How many devices are you connected to right now? Are you racing around from one fire to the next? Are you reading this blog post while on the phone with a client, employee or family member? Did you check email, text or voice messages under the table during a meeting today?

If so, you’re just not present. You’re not fully engaged in the task at hand or with the people in the room. You’re not focused. And no matter how good you are at multi-tasking, you can’t do your best thinking, strategizing, leading, and deciding without being present. And we can tell. Your family, your leadership team, even your employees and vendors can tell.

Slow Down and Give Your Best Self

So, don’t be afraid to slow down. Consider taking a regular Clarity Break™ to give yourself time to think and to ready your best self for what’s ahead in the coming week. It’s okay to keep doing lots of stuff. Just try to do it one important thing at a time, with 100% of your focus and attention.

Being where you are when you’re there will make you AND those around you better, smarter, faster, and healthier.

Written by Mike Paton on December 28, 2017

Five professional people smiling both male and female

WHY MILLENNIALS WILL LOVE EOS® – PART 2

In Why Millennials Will Love EOS® – Part 1 we said that millennials, who were raised in a different time than we Boomers and Gen-Xers, think differently. They have very specific expectations for information and for their work environments. TheVision/Traction Organizer™ and the Accountability Chart provide the vision, big picture, and culture that millennials need to understand and to be engaged.

In Part 2 I want to share specific EOS Tools that will help you lead, manage, and hold millennials accountable, as well as the rest of your team.

Quarterly Rocks

Millennials need to see progress, completion, and evidence that they are building new skills. Setting priorities for the few most important things that must get done each quarter at the company level, by department, and for individuals creates clear alignment that everyone is rowing in the same direction. This quarterly rhythm shows completion of tasks more often, develops job skills and can provide a variety of work. It also provides an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to lead without changing positions.

Weekly Level 10 Meetings™

Maintaining human connectivity is critical for digitally native millennials. The weekly pulse of reporting, holding each other accountable, and problem-solving is frankly the lifeblood of any healthy team regardless of the ages of its members. For millennials, using the IDS and the Issues Solving Track™ during this weekly problem-solving session gives the team opportunities to be creative, share, and be exposed to new ideas

Scorecards

A powerful currency for millennials is flexibility — when, where, and how to get the work done, as long as it gets done. Working remotely and flextime don’t work for everything, but they can work for certain roles. The key is how to hold people accountable. A weekly scorecard of activity-based metrics that track specific job responsibilities will provide the tool for many to self-manage their results and keep their boss and teammates plugged in.

Process

Documenting your handful of Core Processes brings consistency and scalability to how the work gets done. When followed by everyone on the team a consistent process also gives additional autonomy.

In addition to these tools, you need to master the Five Management Practices™ that speaks directly to the kind of feedback and direction millennials need to get.

  • Practice 1. Keeping expectations clear – yours and theirs
  • Practice 2. Communicating well – more listening than talking
  • Practice 3. Maintaining the right Meeting Pulse™
  • Practice 4. Having Quarterly Conversations – 1:1 meetings to talk about what’s working and what’s not
  • Practice 5. Rewarding and Recognizing – within 24 hours, open and honest, be their boss, not their buddy

Written by Clark Neuhoff on August 14, 2017

Two people talking to each other professionally

HOW TO RIP THE BAND-AID OFF

When someone is Wrong Person (doesn’t fit our Core Values and Culture), Wrong Seat (in a job they don’t GWC®; Get It, Want It, Capacity to do it and we can’t fix it), or both, the reality is that they have to go.

As a leader, you’re there for the greater good of the business. Sometimes, helping someone to the door is what the greater good requires.

I need to ask for a little blind faith here, too. It’s also for the greater good of the person who needs to leave. Being stuck in a company where you don’t fit, or in a job at which you can’t excel, is a terrible way to live. It’s your duty as a leader to make that conversation safe and to do everything you reasonably can to help the person who doesn’t fit make a good transition.

How Do You Coach Up or Out?

There are three things you need to do well in advance of any specific conversation.

  1. Get your head in a good place. Remember that there are very few truly bad people in the world. If you have one, you should fire them immediately and have security walk them to the door. Bad people are rare, but bad fits happen all the time. When it does, it’s just an issue that needs to be solved. (It’s also an issue that you created by putting this person in their seat. So let’s get over the tough-guy stuff and stop being angry at the person who needs to go. If you need to be angry at someone, look in the mirror.)
  2. Create an environment in which it’s safe to have conversations about fit and possible departure. People who don’t fit almost always know it but are afraid to talk about it for fear that they’ll get fired on the spot and lose their income. Get rid of that fear by making sure your people know you care about their well-being. This includes caring enough to be honest with them and helping anyone who needs to go exit with their dignity intact.
  3. Provide feedback along the way. It should never come as a surprise to someone that they are falling below the bar on either Core Values or job performance. The EOS Tool The 5-5-5™ (quarterly feedback on values, GWC and Rocks) is a great way to do this.

If you do those things, the actual conversation is relatively easy. You need to be prepared with some data – at least three specific examples of performance deficits and feedback from other employees about Core Values violations.

Then start the conversation like this: “This doesn’t seem to be going very well. I’m not happy, from what I can tell, I don’t think you’re happy, and the company isn’t getting what it needs. Living with this isn’t an option. Our only other choices are to fix it or end it. What do you think we should do?”

Remember, you’re here for the greater good of the business.

Written by Dan Wallace on May 30, 2019

car driving down a road next to the verge

LISTENING TO YOUR RUMBLE STRIPS

It has almost certainly happened to each of us – you’re driving down the road on cruise control. You’re not doing anything reckless, but your mind is on a million things besides the stretch of road you’re on. You’re thinking about your destination, how long it will take to get there, whether you have enough gas, what’s for lunch, and why no one seems to know how to use a turn signal anymore.

The next thing you know, you’re literally shaken back into focus by the rumble strip just on the other side of the white line. You’ve drifted a bit, so you make a slight course correction to straighten things out and continue on your way with a more focused direction.

No big deal, right? Right. But things could have gotten really dicey if it weren’t for that rumble strip.

The rumble strip was there to serve a purpose: it let you know that you were off course before you barreled into the ditch. It nudged you into making a small adjustment so you could avoid disaster.

There are rumble strips available to your business. Are you using them? 

Those rumble strips are called Scorecards.

Scorecards provide weekly, leading-edge, activity-based metrics that predict the financial future of your business. Your Scorecard is a tool that lets you know if you’re on track, or if you might be drifting off course. If you are drifting off course, reviewing a Scorecard weekly lets you make small adjustments to get things back on track.

Hitting a rumble strip doesn’t mean you’re in trouble. It means you will be in trouble if you keep going the way you’re going. The same goes for uncovering an issue via your weekly Scorecard.

Without a weekly Scorecard alerting you to potential problems, you lose the ability to make a small course correction as you go along.  Many companies don’t stop to evaluate the course they’re on until the end of the month or end of the quarter. Unfortunately, by that point, it’s often too late to make a small course correction, and instead, they’re stuck calling a tow truck. (Or, worse, an ambulance.)

All too often, business owners who avoid weekly Scorecards are surprised when they end up in the ditch. They ask, “What happened?! It’s not like we had a scandal. No one embezzled anything. We didn’t have a recall or a PR crisis or a massive inventory shortage or a termite infestation. How could things have gone so wrong?”

You don’t need a giant crisis to end up in the ditch. Some people land in the ditch by swerving to avoid hitting a deer, and in that case, it’s pretty obvious what happened. But for most of us, it’s not about a crisis. It’s about drifting off, ever so slightly, in the wrong direction … and not noticing it until it’s too late.

Long story short: Scorecards help you stay out of the ditch and on course. Better yet, they can help you make small adjustments that’ll put you on an even faster, smoother course. And who doesn’t want to get to their destination easier and sooner?

Written by Joel Swanson on September 16, 2019

6

CONFLICT CREATES CLARITY

Some of the best meetings that I’ve been in lately are the ones where members of the leadership team challenge each other.

There’s debate and pushback and the discussions are heated. Each person is actively engaged, putting the greater good of the organization ahead of personal agendas. Sometimes the feedback they give each other stings a little. But, when the dust settles there’s clarity around the root cause. Conflict creates clarity.

Conflict, although messy, is all about going deep

Think about your meetings. Are you comfortable with conflict? What do you do when things begin to heat up? Do you attempt to smooth things over? Have you found yourself playing the peacemaker? Don’t do it.

It takes a while for a team to come together. Within the EOS® Meeting Pulse™, conflict is bound to happen sooner than later. Why? Because every week you’re in a structured meeting where the objective is to solve issues (the real ones) and get things done. There’s no place to hide. You can’t solve the real issues without some conflict – a willingness to go deep, to “enter the danger.”

Conflict creates clarity… embrace it!

Too often we seek harmony when we should be creating some conflict. Don’t be afraid of a little conflict, embrace it. Conflict creates clarity. Without clarity over the underlying issue, we’re at risk of making poor decisions. And, as Patrick Lencioni points out in his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, healthy conflict is a necessary step towards gaining commitment.

Written by Rene Boer on October 17, 2019

 

two people discussing business at a table

FIVE HIRING MISTAKES TO AVOID

As a business owner, two of your most important assets are your employees and your leadership team. Here are five common mistakes that business owners make when building their team.

1. Not Clarifying the Role You Are Hiring For

An accountancy firm needed a marketing manager but did not clarify whether it was a strategic big picture role or a role that combined strategy and execution. They ended up hiring someone who was strong on strategy and writing the plans, but not on updating and fixing the website, gathering leads for the sales team, and producing regular newsletters and blogs.

When using EOS®, we identify what seat you need to fill on the Accountability Chart and the five main roles in that seat. From these five roles, you can create a detailed job description with the skills and experience that the ideal candidate will need.

2. Not Hiring Around Your Culture and Values

Before you consider whether a candidate has the right skills and experience, we believe it is imperative that they match the company’s core values. Without a core values match, it doesn’t matter how much expertise they have, what their accomplishments are or what brands they have worked with, they won’t fit in, and may cause problems for a healthy team who have been working together well – such as disruption and division.

By using the People Analyzerand interviewing with questions around the company’s core values, you can determine whether a person matches these and/or meets a minimum standard. The People Analyzer provides a black and white view of a somewhat subjective analysis of whether the person will match and fit.

3. Not Knowing What Level to Hire At

One of the challenges a business faces when trying to scale and grow is what level of experience to hire: junior, team lead, or a senior-level position. Are you hiring someone who is going to grow into a leadership role, or someone who needs to come in with management experience, who knows how to hire, train and lead a department?

A client I have worked with hired an operations manager who had worked in a much larger organization. He was used to working with greater resources and larger budgets and he overspent on recruitment fees. Eventually, he left the business and one of the people he hired became the head of the department. It is important to use the Accountability Chart to define the seat, the roles and the responsibilities which match the departmental budget. This will ensure that you are hiring the right person (who matches core values), at the right level, who can deliver.

4. Only Considering Internal Candidates

Some companies only consider internal candidates and forget that the best practice is to recruit the right person who matches the seat requirements, regardless of whether they are internal or external.

One of my clients had a discussion and debated whether or not to promote a lead sales manager as head of sales and marketing. The founder had previously held this position and wanted to reward the existing sales manager with the opportunity.

The sales manager was promoted, but he didn’t deliver on the marketing plan. As a result, the sales pipeline shrank and there was discontent with his leadership style. After 90 days, he resigned because he had not delivered on his Rocks and was feeling overwhelmed.

The best practice is to follow a pre-determined hiring process that allows you to accept applications from internal candidates while still looking for the best qualified external candidates. Interview and appoint the most qualified candidate, regardless of whether they are internal or external.

5. Only Considering External Candidates

Only hiring external candidates can bring a different set of challenges. It is a best practice to have a training program to develop your mid-level managers, giving them an opportunity to grow their leadership and management skills. This gives them a career path within the organization.

If you consistently hire your top-level managers and leaders externally, ambitious members of your team may feel there is no chance of promotion or advancement. The danger is that your best talent may leave.

Every company needs to have a consistent hiring, on-boarding, and off-boarding process. Using the EOS tools and systems helps take the complication and hassle out of hiring, as well as finding the right talent as the company evolves and grows.

Written by Julia Langkraehr on October 7, 2019

 

five business people having a conversation in a room

“I BOUGHT THE BUSINESS, BUT MY DAD WON’T LET ME RUN THE PLACE”

Recently, one of my clients started using EOS® after he bought a business from his dad. After the purchase was completed and the money deposited in the bank accounts, his dad left to retire in a warm climate. But it wasn’t long before he returned, figuratively flying in the window of the business, dumping on everything, then flying out again. My client called it “Seagull Management.”

Who’s In Charge? 

His dad began to come into the office every day and:

  • Approach people on the team
  • Ask them to do things
  • Tell them they were doing things wrong
  • Wonder what they were thinking
  • Get mad
  • And leave

Many of the team members had worked for the dad for generations and were accustomed to taking direction from him. Even though they knew the son now owned the business, they felt it was disrespectful to not take the father’s direction. They were confused, getting pulled in multiple directions, and their loyalty was getting questioned.

At the same time, it caused a huge strain on the father/son relationship because both the son and the father were insulted. The father felt insulted because the direction of the business was changing. He also resented the fact that his son had spoken to him about the importance of talking with him directly, instead of approaching the employees. The dad felt he was helping the son and was insulted when the son said he needed to stop what he was doing. The son was equally insulted because he felt his dad didn’t trust him to run the business. He felt second-guessed and as though his dad was trying to take over.

This is a common issue for family businesses whether the business has been sold or gifted to the next generation or is still owned by the older generation. Employees need business owners to be clear about:

  • Who is leading the business /Who to take directions from
  • Where the business is headed
  • What’s a priority/what’s not
  • What success looks like

Without these things clarified, your team will be confused.

EOS Tools Bring Clarity

When the leadership team started using EOS, they created an Accountability Chart that made it clear to all members of their team who was leading the business. They also created a Vision/Traction Organizer™️ (V/TO) that defined where the business was going. Meanwhile, their scorecard helped the team define what success looks like week to week.

While the son (as the current owner) didn’t have to share these tools with the father (the previous owner), he still chose to. As a result, their relationship changed as the father became an advisor to him at a very high level. The father was able to share ideas, strengthen relationships with vendors, and see the thinking behind the changes his son was making.

By using EOS Tools to head off “Seagull Management,” you can help minimize the confusion, chaos, and frustration that comes with it.

Written by Sara Stern on October 4, 2019

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3 MUST-HAVES TO ACHIEVE THE IMPOSSIBLE

In the past several years, I have been regularly impressed by leadership teams that have achieved “big” things. 

At the front end looking forward, it was logical for each team, based upon their history, to conclude, “There’s no way we’ll do this.”

So what made the difference? How did these teams of ordinary people succeed?

What You Need to Make it Happen

Certainly, there are many contributing factors, but I think three things were necessary in all cases:

  1. Belief. A majority of the team believed they could do it. Just because they hadn’t done it in the past didn’t mean they couldn’t in the future. That core belief was essential at the start. Initial unbelievers either became believers later or exited as the rest of the team moved forward.
  2. Desire. Wanting to change and get to a better place was also essential. Leaders didn’t all share the same level of desire, but most of the initial team members wanted to advance from where they were to something better and they were willing to experience discomfort to get there.
  3. The Way. All of these teams followed a systematic process (EOS® ), taking the specified steps to progress incrementally from where they were to where they wanted to be. Having the path clearly marked made it much easier for the teams to do what initially seemed unthinkable.

Just because you haven’t, doesn’t mean you can’t. Believe it, want it, and use EOS® to get it.

Written by Don Tinney on November 7, 2019