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TRUST ME I’M AN EOS IMPLEMENTER™

During World War II, in the terrible days of the Blitz, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb. In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow. Terrified, yet hearing his father’s voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, ‘I can’t see you!’ The father called to the silhouette of his son, ‘But I can see you. Jump!’ The boy jumped because he trusted his father.

Thankfully, during EOS® session days we are never dealing with anything as terrible as the Blitz. Things do however often get heated, and our clients will often question the process. As an implementer, a critical role I own is facilitation with the leadership team to build Trust – Trust in me, Trust in the EOS® process and most importantly Trust between the members of the leadership team.

Trust in me as an implementer begins early in the EOS process™ often right as a client is deciding to hire me and we discuss the flow of the first three session days; Focus Day™, Vision Building™ Day 1, and Vision Building™ Day 2. Clients will want to start with Vision Building™, they can’t fathom why we would start with Focus Day™ and by learning the 5 fundamental EOS™ tools – “Surely we have to build our Vision first they will frequently say”. The truth is Gino tried this both ways as he was building the EOS™ process and found that you have to build accountability first, to then be successful with Vision. The process works, as many thousands of successful companies running on EOS® have found. As an implementer my role is encouragement to ‘Trust the Process’, to ‘jump’.

 

Achieving true leadership team trust is a pivotal point for our clients. We begin this journey on the first day with tools and techniques then spaced throughout the EOS Process™ to take our clients on their journey to leadership strength built on a foundation of trust.

The key tool in the EOS Toolbox™ we use to achieve this is the Trust Builders™. Quite simply each quarter we work with our leadership teams and tackle a specific exercise to improve and strengthen vulnerability-based trust and team heath. These are things like reading and internalizing ‘The five dysfunctions of a Team’ by Patrick Lencioni, being comfortable tackling our ‘One Thing’ feedback exercise, understanding individual learning styles and sharing personal histories. Working these consistently into the process of our EOS® journey together gives our clients the strength and trust in each other to tackle the difficult situations which will inevitably arise in any organization.

So the question is “are you ready to Trust an EOS Implementer™ to help you and your leadership team achieve more of what you want from your company”?

Written by Richard Price on February 19, 2020

Discipline

Discipline shouldn’t be scary

Accountability and discipline are often associated with negative stereotypes and consequences. It usually means forcing something on someone. It doesn’t have to be. When done right, accountability is embraced instead of feared. If you are doing all you can as a leader and manager, then accountability results. If not, then it’s time to find another person to fill that seat.

I teach my clients that Great Leadership + Great Management = Accountability. When my clients use this formula, they get to Right Person Right Seat decisions quicker. How do you know you’re doing all you can as a leader and manager? Focus on these 4 attributes for each.

Leadership

Leadership is about providing a clear direction, creating an opening, working “on” the business and the thinking aspect of the business.

  1. Clear Direction – Does your entire organization know where your company is heading and does everyone know their part in getting there? Is it compelling to the degree that your employees are excited and see opportunities for them? My clients are crystal clear on where their businesses are going by utilizing the Vision/Traction Organizer™.
  2. Creating an Opening – When you have a clear vision, it creates possibilities for your employees. They can envision where they see themselves in the future with the company. And if they don’t, it’s not a bad thing. It just moves you closer to having the Right People in the Right Seats.
  3. “On” the Business – Do you dedicate time to work on big picture and strategy for your company, rather than tactics and daily To Dos? Are you letting go of the vine to allow others to grow and take things from you? Are you equipping your team, providing necessary resources for them to succeed so you can work “on” the business?
  4. Thinking – Are you giving yourself time to get out of the fray and out of the day-to-day to think on the business, taking Clarity Breaks™? Clarity is the key term here. It’s not just a mental break but a break to allow you to think clearly, connecting the dots and seeing the bigger picture from a new perspective. Doing this allows you to be your best so you can walk the talk and lead your company for the greater good.

Management

Management is about setting expectations, consistent communication, working “in” the business and the doing aspect of the business.

  1. Setting Expectations – You cannot hold people accountable to undefined expectations. Are you clearly communicating expectations (Core Values, Priorities, Role) and providing an opportunity to clarify expectations for alignment?
  2. Consistent Communication – Once expectations are set, are you providing the right meeting pulse (frequency) to allow for open communication on the performance of these expectations? Do you know what’s on your direct report’s mind and do they know what’s on yours (no assumptions)?
  3. “In” the Busines– Are you working in the trenches with your team, being available as a resource for them to do their job? This doesn’t mean doing their job, but being available to them so they can do their job with your support, then recognizing and rewarding their efforts.
  4. Doing – Are you fulfilling your roles and responsibilities that only you can do as a manager? Executing on your commitments and setting the example of high standards for your team?

When you take the approach of Great Leadership + Great Management = Accountability, you will have peace of mind knowing you’ve done what you can to help your direct report succeed. For those who are the Right People in the Right Seat, accountability naturally occurs. For those that don’t, the answer is obvious, even to them and they usually leave on their own. You are doing them a favor by allowing them to thrive elsewhere where they can utilize their true gifts and talents.

This formula has been revolutionary for my clients. Give yourself peace of mind and quit trying to force accountability. Let it be a result of your own actions as a leader and manager. Are you ready?

Written by Don Maranca on March 22, 2019

People Perish

Without Vision – People Perish

One of the most powerful tools in The EOS Process® and in developing the Vision/Traction Organizer™ (V/TO™) is your 3-Year Picture™.

In this vivid vision exercise, we mentally walk the halls of the business. Ultimately, we help our clients come up with a bulleted list of 10-20 items that all the leaders agree to. It’s so powerful when you have all that human energy sharing the same vision. We then have everyone close their eyes as we tell a story about their 3-Year Picture.

Your 3-Year Picture Should Be Emotional

As we walk our clients through the story of their business, oftentimes people get very emotional. Sometimes you’ll have a leader or two crying. The reason is that a great 3-Year Picture is emotionally connected and driven.  As a result, emotionally-driven teams are more likely to achieve all their goals.

The 3-Year Picture is an exercise that is intended to get you and the leadership team seeing the same thing at the same time. They are the team that will need to accomplish the goals, so they better be on the same page with every aspect of where they are going. This is a much more effective way of planning because it has essentially the same impact of very detailed strategic plans without the heavy lifting. People just don’t remember 50 pages of non-emotional spreadsheets and words.

It All Starts With Vision, Shared By All

Our Vision/Traction Organizer is a complete two-page strategic plan. The vision side of the document is comprised of your Core Values, your Core Focus™, your 10-Year Target™, your marketing strategy, and your 3-Year Picture.

As James Allen said:

“The oak sleeps in the acorn. The bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of reality.” 

The reason our method of facilitating the 3-Year Picture is so powerful is that the entire leadership team is involved. Many leaders have created a vivid vision for themselves and try to force it on their team. The issue is that they are the only ones seeing it. It’s a start, but it’s much less effective than if all 3-8 people at the helm of the business are rowing in the same direction.

You will do much better work and go faster if the entire leadership team participates in creating your 3-Year Picture.

Written by Mark O’Donnell on January 2nd, 2020

02-05-2020

TIPS FOR HIRING GREAT PEOPLE

You probably work hard to attract great employees to your company. You want the best! But what does the “best” really mean?

Of course, we all want great people, but the reality is that the definition of “great” is different for every organization, including yours! In his classic book, Good to Great, Jim Collins refers to the importance of getting the “right people on the bus” and then getting them all in the “right seats.” This is key, because who we attract and hire to our organization takes precedence over what they do. You simply can’t achieve consistent results until you get the right people in place.

Use the Accountability Chart

EOS® run companies use the Accountability Chart as their trusted roadmap to help land the right people in the right seats.

At first glance, it may look like an org chart, but it’s much different. The most important benefit of the Accountability Chart is that it helps define the right structure for your company first and then guides you in hiring the right people.

Your Core Values Will Lead You to the Right People

The term “Core Values” may be a bit overused in today’s business environment, but when truly understood, there’s no better barometer for attracting the right people. In their simplest form, Core Values represent who you are as an organization – it’s your company’s personality or culture. Once you’re clear about this, you can confidently go about attracting the right people to your organization.

Clear Roles and Responsibilities Will Lead the Right People to the Right Seats

The Accountability Chart consists of functions (or “seats”) that represent the right structure for your business. Add 3 – 7 high-level roles/responsibilities to each seat and you will gain the clarity around what your people need to accomplish in each of the seats. Now you have set up the formula to achieve “right people/right seats.”

Use the People Analyzer

Another great EOS tool is the People Analyzer™ which helps provide an objective assessment of a candidate and/or employees culture fit (Core Values/Right People) along with their ability to do the job (GWC™/right seat). This will help you make a confident decision around hiring and/or addressing issues with existing employees.

How to Attract the Best People

Similar to a good marketing campaign to gain new clients, you must do the same to attract great employees! Here are few tips to get you started:

  • Include and promote your company’s Core Values and Core Focus™ in all job postings.
  • Incorporate open-ended questions in the hiring process to help determine if the candidate truly exhibits your Core Values.
  • Make sure to get references and call them to assess the candidate’s alignment with your Core Values and the specific job requirements. It’s always beneficial to get first-hand feedback from former employers and colleagues.

The key to hiring great people is to make sure you’re clear about what “great” means in your organization and then confidently solicit and vet them through your hiring process.

Written by Randy Taussig on September 10, 2018

A road sign saying tough decisions ahead

HEALTHY vs SMART – SIX KEY QUESTIONS

Are you getting 100% of what you want from your business? The key to that – for any owner, any team, any company – is your ability to confront and make the difficult decisions we all face.

Some of those decisions involve the “smart” part of running a business – strategy, business plans, budgets, investment choices, and so on. We tend to be pretty good at these because they’re objective – often quantifiable. They’re also what we’re taught to be good at when we learn how to run businesses.

The much tougher decisions, and the ones that really determine whether you get what you want, involve the “healthy” part of running a business – culture, alignment, accountability and, most difficult of all, people. If you sometimes struggle with those issues, it just makes you normal.

Most of us struggle with them because they can’t be quantified and often involve letting go of something – or someone – familiar, safe and comfortable. These decisions require us to do things that we’ve been socialized NOT to do, especially telling people things we think they don’t want to hear. To make this even harder, few of us are ever taught how to be good at the “healthy” part of running a business.

“Healthy” means having a strong culture and vision that get people engaged and aligned. It means being great at accountability, so you can count on work getting done without having to micromanage it. It means being truly open and honest with one another, holding nothing back, so that difficult issues are addressed, not avoided, and so that difficult decisions are made, allowing the company to move forward.In his most recent book, The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni says that if you had to choose one or the other, healthy or smart, you should choose healthy for one simple reason. Healthy will help you become smart, but smart won’t make you healthy.

So the next time you take a clarity break – a chance to get your head outside the business so that you can think about it objectively – try asking yourself these questions:

  • How strong are our culture and vision?
  • Do they attract and engage the kinds of people we want?
  • If I asked my people – all of them – to describe our culture and vision, how many different answers would I get?
  • Are our lines of accountability crystal clear? When an issue arises, do we all know immediately who owns it?
  • Are my people willing to come into a meeting having NOT done the things they told their teammates they would do by that date or is that simply unthinkable to them?
  • How open and honest are our conversations? What do we hold back?

In the answers to these questions, you will find the places where your team, and therefore your business, is less healthy than it could be. These are the most important issues you face, the ones that are keeping you from getting what you want. The good news is that they can be solved (yes, we can help with that – it’s a process, not a mystery). Solving them will set you on your way. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can accelerate into the future you dream of.

Written by Dan Wallace on February 6, 2014

An image showing two powders in two jars

Do you love Simple Elegant Solutions?

I do. Take the GNC protein tubs and scoops featured in the blog picture. Before you had to dig around in your powder to find the scoop (which had a habit of hiding). Customers (including me) were clearly frustrated leading the GNC team to a simple solution – a scoop that is captured in the rim and secured by the lid when it is closed – Brilliant!

In a similar fashion, when developing the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) Gino Wickman worked tirelessly to refine and simplify, creating a Complete Proven System of Simple Practical Tools to help Entrepreneurial leaders get more of what they want from their companies.

In the EOS Toolbox™, 5-5-5™ is a great example of Gino’s obsession to simplify. It allows for a clear quarterly conversation between an employee and their manager, making sure they are both on the same page, and moving with Traction towards the Vision of the organization. Contrast this with most organizations where reviews are only annual (if at all) and the manager and employee alike dread the event. In my experience both struggle to prepare, articulate their thoughts and concerns, and as a consequence fail to have any kind of meaningful purpose-driven conversation. 5-5-5™ addresses this with simplicity, and purpose.

It works like this. Each quarter the employee and their manager schedule an hour to talk, preferably offsite, away from the office, perhaps in a coffee shop. They then simply discuss openly what’s working and what’s not working around their shared expectations of CORE VALUES (5), SEAT ROLES (5) and QUARTERLY ROCKS (5). Of course, there may not be exactly five of each and that’s okay. 5-5-5™ just makes it sticky so you both clearly know what you will be doing.

5-5-5™ Simple Elegance! Don’t you just love it!

Written by Richard Price on January 27, 2020

Several hands all holding a growing plant in soil

BOOST ACCOUNTABILITY, DRIVE PERFORMANCE!

Poor accountability could be the single greatest threat to your company’s future – creating a culture of excuses, confusion, and inefficiencies – ultimately resulting in poor performance.

According to Gallup, only 30% of employees are “engaged,” 50% are disengaged (just going through the motions) – and an incredible 20% are actively disengaged, or working against you every single day – all of which directly impacts a culture of accountability.

The Gallup survey uncovers a secret – employee engagement significantly boosts accountability leading to organizational performance. Why? Because engaged employees have an emotional commitment to the organization and its goals. They don’t just work for a paycheck. They care about their work and their company.

So why let poor accountability become an obstacle in the path to achieving better engagement and results?

10 Tips to Boost Accountability

Take action today to change the company’s DNA by creating a new culture of performance by embracing more accountability! Here are 10 ways good leaders foster accountability to grow great teams and strong cultures:

  1. Clarify your people’s roles – Employees who don’t understand the roles they play in the company’s success are more likely to become disengaged. Take the time to create the right structure for your organization, clarifying roles and responsibilities, so you have the right people in the right seats. Remember the rule of thumb: When 2 or more people are accountable for a position, nobody is accountable!
  2. Set great goals – Employees want to see how their work contributes to larger company objectives. Setting smart quarterly goals aligns everyone around what’s most important. In EOS® language, we call 90-day goals, “Rocks” – 3-7 top priorities that align everyone around what’s most important. Because “if everything is important, nothing is important!”
  3. Walk the talk – You and your leadership team have to be role models of accountability – because as you go, so does the rest of the organization. Never play the “blame game,” which is usually a ploy to control others or hand off responsibility. Accept the fact that all the company’s problems were created by you and your leadership team. But you must believe that the same team that created all the problems together can solve all of the problems together. That’s demonstrating 100% responsibility. That’s what inspires others to do the same.
  4. Communicate continuously – Make sure your expectations are clear and consistent. Remember the “Rule of 7” says people need to hear something 7 times before it sinks in. Eliminate the “I didn’t understand” excuse by using both verbal and written communications.
  5. Measure objectively – Accountability must be based on facts, not distorted by opinions, politics, and desire for power. Make sure to create a Scorecard, Dashboard or key Measurables to ensure your goals and objectives are creating the right impact. Remember, what gets measured, gets done!
  6. Give control before expecting accountability – If several levels of approvals are needed for a specific decision, no one will feel accountable, and no one can be held accountable. If more than one person is ultimately accountable, nobody is accountable.
  7. Align functional groups with business goals – If key functions aren’t under the control of the proper team, accountability will suffer. For example, if your sales group is measured on profitability, but is required to process leads from outside sources paid by volume, you have a conflict where everyone loses.
  8. Provide timely feedback on performance – High performers need regular quarterly coaching on how to improve, as well as annual full reviews. Help your people look in the mirror and see reality. Coach them to greatness!
  9. Use a process to solve your issues – Your ability to be successful and grow is directly proportionate to your ability to solve your issues. Getting to the root and solving problems should never be a “name and shame” game. Leaders need to provide a safe haven where difficult issues can be discussed and solved without assigning blame. The goal should always be to solve problems, not hurl accusations. (At EOS, we use an Issues Solving Track™ called IDS: Identify, Discuss, Solve – to knock down issues and make them go away forever).
  10. Improve trust – While accountability tools that measure data and results are important, you must also trust the people. Absolute dependence on tools leads to the abdication of personal responsibility. Build trust through strong and consistent leadership and management – all of which improves accountability!

Boost Engagement with Accountability

Can you imagine having employees who are “engaged?” Who are fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and take positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests?

If you and your leadership team are willing to be the best, you’ll realize that accountability makes it all happen. You’ll have more control over your business, build a strong, engaged and accountable culture – ultimately increasing the value of your business AND your peace of mind!

Written by Chris Naylor on October 5, 2017

an image of several people running along a beach up hill

YOUR CULTURE IS YOUR FAULT

I was recently with the leadership team of a proud company that had a big challenge. They had been experiencing declining sales and profitability. The senior leadership team understood the gravity of their situation, but they couldn’t get the mid-level managers and the frontline employees to see a need to change day-to-day habits.

Like many companies, the culture of the organization had become stale. The employees had a lackadaisical, “So what?” kind of attitude: “So what if this order is not shipped on time? So what if the customer complains?

As we set about making our goals for the coming year, one of the top priorities was, “Transform our company culture to one where ALL employees know THEY are in charge of making customers happy.”

There were some heated conversations as we discussed what it would take to achieve this transformation. As soon as one person insisted that certain operational changes must take place, someone else would disagree and say the solution was something else. The atmosphere in the room became thick with frustration and confusion.

Finally, someone said, “Hey! We are over-complicating our business. It’s not as hard as we’re making it out to be. Basically, we buy a product, then do some things to that product, and resell it to our customers. And to our customers, the basics count. If we do what we say and ship it on time, the customer is happy and he buys from us again.”

Everyone agreed that failure to deliver the basics was the reason for their decline and that if they didn’t do something, all would be lost. They weren’t delivering the basics because their culture didn’t value the basics.

And it was their fault. The senior leaders sitting in the room – it was their fault.

Culture Starts at the Top

Culture is everything, and when it gets lost or stuck, the cause is at the top. Many leadership teams get trapped into blaming the employees in their company for their own failures: “They don’t get it. They don’t embrace our values. They have lost sight of the basics.”

Becoming a great leadership team means taking ownership of the issues you have created so you can take ownership of solving them. You and your senior leaders must:

  1. OWN it yourselves
  2. COMMUNICATE it incessantly
  3. EXPECT it from every person in your organization
  4. LIVE the message by example

That’s what it takes to drive the culture you want to build beyond your senior leadership team. Transforming a culture is a deliberate act and one that must be executed by the top leaders. When an entire leadership team makes the decision to support one another completely, honestly, and with the greater good of everyone in mind, it can become an unstoppable transformative force.

Written by Ken DeWitt on May 10, 2018

A image showing an illustration of a road turning into an arrow

6 KEY DRIVERS OF SUCCESS

Photo by Artur Aldyrkhanov on Unsplash

An article by New York Times business columnist Adam Bryant poses this question, “In your experience, do these six ‘success drivers’ make sense?”

The article summarizes extensive interviews Bryant conducted with leaders of successful companies whose names you would recognize. He was looking, he says, for “the things that, if done well, have an outsized positive impact, and if done poorly or not at all, have an outsize negative impact.”

If you’d like to read the entire article, you can see it here: Management Be Nimble.
Or we can save you a little time. Bryant’s six success drivers are:

  1. Have an extremely simple plan (narrow, with an exceptionally clear focus on where you’re going, supported by a small number of key goals)
  2. Be clear about the ‘rules of the road’ (a small set of core values that are authentic, which means they truly define and differentiate your culture, and that you really live by them)
  3. Treat people with respect (so that they feel free to challenge each other and pursue the greater good of the business)
  4. Build a strong team (roles are crystal clear, right people are in right seats, and the team embraces a culture of trust and accountability)
  5. Have adult conversations (an outcome of the two previous points – the ability for people to speak openly and honestly, without fear of repercussions)
  6. Deal with difficult issues face-to-face, not via email (or other technology that makes misinterpretation and distrust more likely)

Those principles are timeless. They’re described in dozens of business books from authors like Bryant, Jim Collins, Patrick Lencioni, and many others.

And of course, they make sense. If your company has a simple, clear plan that everyone understands, a strong culture based on a few key principles that everyone embraces, a rock-solid team, and an environment in which you’ve replaced politics with open, honest conversations focused on the greater good of the business, how will you not do better?

The question is whether you know how to make it happen – to do these things really well so that you enjoy the ‘outsized positive impact’ Bryant describes.

The good news is that you don’t have to figure out how to make it happen by yourself – explore the EOS Model™ and experience Vision, Traction and Healthy in your business. We are here to help.

Written by Dan Wallace on March 3, 2014 – with edits by Richard Price

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