There’s a lot of buzz about EOS, or the Entrepreneurial Operating System. Many small to mid size business owners talk about flailing for years then EOS saving their business, or EOS leading to massive growth, or EOS finally making it feel like the business can run on its own. I’m a big fan and have seen its effect.
What is EOS? It comes from a great book Traction that goes through frameworks and models for how to work on a business and not just get stuck in the day to day. It’ll help you get the whole aligned a long term vision, have a weekly scorecard to see the health of a business, draw out core values that strengthen culture, and more. It’s been so wildly successful that the company now has a large consulting practice.
Everyone gets excited and falls into 3 camps: buys Traction and never does anything with it, hires a certified implementer for $20-50k, or stumbles through self implementing. #2 is a great choice if you can afford it. #3 is what I want to help with.
Let’s clear up what NOT to do with EOS:
- If you’re under $1M revenue and under 5 employees, I’d recommend reading E Myth. Don’t use EOS yet.
- Read 1/3 of Traction, storm into your employees office and slam it down saying you’ve found Willy Wonka’s Golden ticket
- Don’t wait around thinking there will be a perfect time or you’ll eventually be ready for EOS. You’re never fully ready.
Here is what I would recommend to self implement EOS:
- Read the entire book Traction
- Book a half day retreat with your leaders. Just get the damn thing on the calendar – having the time set aside is the biggest domino
- Meet with your leaders (not entire staff) and explain why you want to use EOS. Tell them the half day off site is already blocked out, and have them watch this video or read What the Heck is EOS
- Have your 3 and 10 year vision ready before implementation, the rest can be collaborative with the team
- Use your first half day ‘quarterly meeting’ to focus on the issues list, quarterly rocks, and weekly scorecard. Don’t use your first meeting to do core values – it’s too nuanced and we need to move the needle with the weekly scorecard.
- Have your weekly L10 or weekly scorecard meeting saved as a recurring meeting. Keep those meetings at all costs, and always hit the scorecard.
- Use the 2nd quarterly meeting to develop core values.
- Keep in mind it takes 2 quarters to fully get into the swing of EOS and see the power of quarterly rocks and get everyone using the same language.
- Once you have core values – share them in hiring, recognition, all staff meetings, every chance you get.
We just got done with our 4th quarterly meeting retreat since I took over Appletree. It was energizing, productive, and we got buy in on some big decisions for the firm. We met out of the office at a coworking space with our 10 managers and leaders. Then we had a company social in the afternoon with the entire staff of 22.
We’re not perfect with EOS – we don’t have a written accountability chart, we haven’t scored every team member, and more. But I’d wager if you self implement EOS and do a decent job, your company will be much better off than if you’d waited or continued to operate with your hair on fire.
Read the book, schedule the half day offsite, and get started. Progress beats perfection.