EOS Rocks: Sometimes Traction Means Making Mistakes

The first time you and your team sit down to set your EOS Rocks™, you probably left the room bright eyed and full of positive energy.  For the first time in a long time, you felt like you had real control. The leadership team had bickered a bit about exactly what EOS Rocks to set, but everyone left on the same page. That’s what counts. 

2 months into using the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, though, you started seeing a problem. Way too many people were listing their EOS Rocks as “off track”. Peopple even started expecting to hear “off track”. Eventually, you all stopped caring.

Now it’s the end of the first quarter. You had big aspirations, but all you got was a list of goals you failed to achieve. Again. What happened?

Failure Is The First Step.

I know I sound like Bruce Wayne’s butler with this one. I feel like I’m looking down at Batman saying, “why do we fall, master Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” The truth is that there is a hokey kind of wisdom in that saying. The Entrepreneurial Operating System is a journey and you’re the hero. Like all hero’s journeys it starts with a ton of optimism, gets bogged down in  a struggle, and eventually ends in victory. 

Right now you are in that second act. You’re Frodo Baggins right after he sent his best friend away. The only difference is that he sent Sam away because they were tired of walking barefoot on literal rocks, while you are struggling with EOS Rocks. 

The point is that almost no one gets it right in the first go. There is always a struggle, because struggle is how we learn and grow stronger. 

If you are here now, you are already doing the brave, difficult thing. Instead of giving up, you’re looking for ways to do it better. That’s what is truly important: getting back on that horse and trusting that the system works. And I’m here to tell you that it does.

What Should You Learn? Capacity Is Critical.

The great thing about EOS Rocks is that they do an unparalleled job of getting everyone on the same page. On top of that they make the impossible seem possible.  

That is where people trip up. Everything seems possible, so they do far too much. If you learn anything from your first attempt at using EOS Rocks it’s that you can’t do everything at once. It’s a hard lesson, one that seeing a bunch of failed Rocks teaches without any room for misinterpretation. 

So you have 2 options now.

  1. Give up. Decide that the Entrepreneurial Operating System isn’t for you. Decide that even though you can get professional EOS training through our Online Traction® Consulting, you are just OK with everything staying how it has been for years. That’s a crummy option.

So what’s the alternative?


Learn To Set Your EOS Rocks Better Next Time.

That’s a pretty general statement. I know. But this isn’t a generalist article. I want you to have real, solid take away. There are a lot of reasons for a team to fail at Rocks. Here are how to counteract a few.

Too many Rocks

Simply put, you didn’t set EOS Rocks. You started an avalanche. I have to admit that I did this the first time as well, when I started using EOS in my business (Yup. I use EOS in all of my ventures!). We had 5 company Rocks and I had 4 personal Rocks. None of them got done. Worse, the progress I did make was on the goals that seemed easy to achieve, not the ones that were a priority. 

What should you do next time?

Set 1 Rock for the company and 1 for each leadership team member.

That’s it. It seems like you’re not getting enough done, but if you have 5 people on the leadership team, you’ve just accomplished 6 major goals for the quarter.

Your Rocks weren’t strategic

I see a lot of team members set up Rocks that just sound like cool stuff to do this quarter. They aren’t real priorities. I let them do it. Why? You gotta learn the hard way that, if you’re just “playing EOS” instead of living it, you aren’t going to get anything done. The result is people ignoring their Rocks for the more day-to-day tasks.

What should you do next time?

Get serious. Set a Rock that you know for a fact is an integral part of achieving your 1 Year Plan™.

Rocks were too big

I’ve said this a few times: That’s not a rock. That’s a boulder. 

I’m cheesy. I know. But it’s an apt metaphor, because a Rock that isn’t realistically achievable in a quarter will crush you beneath it. You’ll spend the whole quarter feeling helpless.

What should you do next time?

Break that Rock up. Maybe it needs phases. Maybe it’s more like a 1 year goal. Whatever the case, don’t give up on it just because it didn’t get finished this time.

The team wasn’t 100% on board

This is just bad communication. All too often it’s the result of the biggest, baddest, worstest problem with self-implementing: the boss is acting as the implementer. 

Ugh. I hate this so much. Unless you are the best boss on Earth, a truly noble leader with insight and wisdom enough to be open to any criticism, you aren’t doing EOS right. 

Of course, sometimes it’s the result of good old fashion unhealthy (read lack of) communication. 

What should you do next time?

Get the team out of the office to set Rocks. That’s number one. Take them away from the daily power structure.

Second? If your boss is running the EOS implementation (or you’re the boss doing this), stop it. Stop it right now. Like…quit reading and go find a new implementer this instant!

You got distracted

Usually this is a result of the Rocks not being very strategic. See above.

A lack of accountability

I’d love to say that all the teams we work with just automatically go and do their Rocks without any checking in, but that doesn’t happen. In fact, EOS is all about that NOT happening. We want constant accountability. That’s part of the system.


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Need More Help?

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

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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