Entrepreneurial Operating System: What Is An EOS 10 Year Target™?

What is an EOS 10 Year Target™?

In a nutshell: a dream. This dream, though, is one you can achieve. Your EOS 10 Year Target is what every person in your business is working towards, it’s the reason you wake up and go to work in the morning.

The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a complete, holistic approach to running a business. We have written extensively on it in our blog. And, if your business is experiencing pain, we encourage you to learn as much about it from any source you can. It’s a truly great system of building a Vision™, putting in place the systems to achieve Traction™ so you can reach your Vision, and keeping your team healthy.

The 10 Year Target is one of the first and most important steps, a truly corner-stone piece on which a leadership team can learn to build an amazing business. So what is it?

Man On The Moon

On September 12th, 1962, John F. Kennedy stood in front of the Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas and committed to putting a man on the moon and bringing him back safely. It was a pivotal moment in history, one that defined an entire era of endless possibilities. The goal, which we achieved, was one that inspired millions to believe in the impossible, to achieve not what they knew they were capable of, but what they dreamed of.

It was also totally unrealistic.

The scientists at NASA were left scratching there heads thinking, “how in the heck are we gonna pull that off?” But, after years of hard work and laser focus on a singular goal, they did it.

That’s a 10 Year EOS Target in a nutshell. It’s a goal that should seem so far off in the future that ten years isn’t enough to even start.

So how could that possibly be helpful?

How to set a bad EOS 10 Year Target?

In order to understand what makes an EOS 10 Year Target so powerful, you have to understand what a bad 10 Year Target looks like. Here is a quick break down of the major pitfalls to avoid and why they are so bad:

A Target Outside Of Your Business Model

Time and time again I see people setting targets that are just plain unrelated to what they do today. If your company is a tire shop and your EOS 10 Year Target is to become a private investment group, we have a problem. That isn’t a 10 Year Target. That’s a whole new business. 

This seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, it comes up often because an EOS 10 Year Target is supposed to be the true dream, the “if we got everything we wanted for 10 years straight” of goals. Sometimes, that brings out that not everyone the table really wants to be in this business. They no longer have (or never had) the passion for the work.

A Target You Have Consistently Failed To Reach

Kicking the can down the road is an easy habit to fall in to. If a business has regularly failed to meet an annual (or more often a 3-year) target, it can be tempting to call that your EOS 10- Year Target. 

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that the team is failing to address the why behind not achieving the goal the first few times. Just putting a larger expiration date doesn’t make them better problem solvers. In fact, quite the opposite. It is a free ticket to not have to solve this problem anymore.

A Target That Is Too Easy To Reach

Plain and simple. This is supposed to be a man on the moon. JFK didn’t stand in front of America and say, “we choose to not grow the debt.” That isn’t an ambitious goal. Well, at least it wasn’t back then. 

The point is that a goal that is too easy to reach doesn’t inspire the kind of change an organization need to break through the ceiling.

A Target That Can’t Be Broken Into Milestones

Often this is more about the defining and describing of the target more than anything else. A goal that can’t be broken down into smaller goals is one that is at risk of getting off track.

A Target That No One Cares To Achieve

The golden gun of problems. If no one at your company is inspired by your EOS 10 Year Target, then they aren’t going to do what it takes to achieve it.

Aspects of a great EOS 10 Year Target

There are certainly a plethora of ways to screw up a 10 Year Target. The good news is that they are easy to spot, once you know what they are. The other good news is that the aspects of a great target are just as plain to see:


Just like the man on the moon, a good 10 Year Target inspires people. It represents a goal that may have seemed just out of reach, and it gets people excited about achieving it. A truly inspirational goal is the kind that, once achieved, people at the company talk about to their friends and family with pride. There are countless examples, but here’s a bit of inspiration (get it?):

  • “We’ll all be sipping cocktails on the beach” – I love this one. A client said that was their company’s 10 Year Target. It seemed so counter intuitive until she explained all of the truly amazing things they would have to do to feel they earned that.
  • “Our lifesaving hardware will be in every major hospital in America.” – Nothing says inspirational like believing so strongly in what you do that you know the world is a better place with your product in it.

Requires Change To Achieve

Nothing good comes from stagnation. Just ask water. Companies, just like people, achieve greatness not when they keep doing the same thing, but when they innovate and work through difficult, sometimes painful change to achieve more than they would have.

A great 10 Year Target wears its nature on its sleeve, leaving no doubt in the mind of anyone that hears it that change is on the horizon.

Why is this so important? Think back to that man on the moon example. JFK asked the scientist and engineers at NASA to do something they didn’t think they could do. They didn’t think they could do it, because they saw the goal through the lens of how they were doing things right now. 

A target that requires employees to ask, “how are we gonna do that,” is a great target.

How To Get Started

Further Reading / Listening

A 10 Year Target, no matter how well chosen, isn’t helpful without the Traction to achieve it. Be sure to check out the following articles on actually achieving your 10 year Target

You can also check out our podcast, on which we discuss many of the issues plaguing small and medium business leaders.

EOS Consultation Call, 90 minute meeting

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Contact US for a free  consultation phone call on what the Entrepreneurial Operating System can do for you.

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Whittle & Partners is a consulting group that provides EOS™ Implementation in the United States and beyond. We offer in-person and online solutions to fit your business and schedule.Visit our about us page to learn how and why we love bringing Dallas Traction.

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