Business Didn’t Meet Your EOS Annual Goals? Here’s How To React.

If your company is using the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, you’ve probably failed to achieve a few goals in the past. Missing goals may be part of the learning process, but it’s important you actually learn from those mistakes. The vast majority of the time a missed goal can be traced to one of five simple causes. Spotting the mistakes that lead to failed EOS annual goals is the easy part. That hard part is knowing how to react.

Be ready for you next annual planning session by planning your proactive solutions in advance. Don’t fall into the mistake of being reactionary. Trust the process. So…what are the mistakes you can make?


The Mistakes



This is probably the most common issue with long term planning that new teams make. The team is asked to predict something like revenue a year from now and, because they are ambitious, they aim high. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We want you to aim high. Of course, if your goal is absurd, it isn’t a goal. It’s a dream. When a team has an EOS® implementer with them to help out, they have a lot of guidance in addressing is this issue. If your team works alone (self implementing EOS), I strongly advice to consider ensure you are taking the proactive solution, not the reactionary path.


The Reactionary Mistake

Teams who recognize that they were too aggressive in setting their previous goal tend to overreact. The next round of goals they set aren’t aggressive enough. This comes from a desire to “win” at EOS. The teams get focused on achieving the goal and checking the box rather than the progress they’ve made in trying.

Inevitably the team sets goals that do not truly drive growth the next year.


The Proactive Process Solution

As a company running on the Entrepreneurial Operating System you should always be looking for ways to make decisions based on facts and data. If your goal was too aggressive, you should have the data to make a more reasonable goal next year. A year of EOS means 52 Scorecards, 4 quarterly reviews, and a litany of other data.

To really make accurate goals you need to use that data. Continue to challenge yourself, of course. But use the data you’ve collected to inform those goals.



Make no mistake. This will happen. Even the best employees in your company will drop the ball at some point or another. There will be personal emergencies, poor prioritizing, and personal conflicts. That’s people. If you’ve had a healthy conversation around this failed goal, it should be very clear who dropped the ball. Just as importantly, it should be clear to the entire team exactly why and how that person dropped the ball. This isn’t to hurt them, it’s to identify what went wrong and fix it. 

Even a healthy team may get a bit of mudslinging happening when someone drops the ball. However, what we really want here is a safety net.


The Reactionary Mistake

Mudslinging, blaming, and any other “punishment” that doesn’t fix the issue. Teams often want to put the entire responsibility of that failure on the person. They devise punishments (official or otherwise) that continue to point out the person’s failure.  The team deals with this kind of failure as a totally personal one.


The Proactive Process Solution

A good team recognizes that dropping of the ball can happen for three reasons. Either the person is in the wrong seat, it’s the wrong person, or the team didn’t set them up for success. If someone is in the wrong seat, that’s the entire team’s responsibility to correct. The whole team built the Accountability Chart™, they can’t blame one person when it isn’t working out. If there is a real question about this person being in the right seat, it’s important to have that conversation during the annual.

Likewise, if someone isn’t being set up for success by their coworkers, they can often drop the ball. Even if they aren’t responsible for the failure, they are closest to it. Be vigilant in getting a total understanding of exactly why this failure occurred. Then, work hard to put in place systems of accountability or resource management that prevent it from happening in the future.



Sometimes in a business using EOS, priorities shift due to acts of god. More often, though, priorities shift because the team was not effectively utilizing their V/TO™. When priorities shift, it’s always important to consider exactly why they shifted and how that effects the long term plan of the organization.


The Reactionary Mistake

It is very easy for a team to simply say, “oh well, we decided not to do that” and move on. They chalk it up to finding something better to do. Doing this once is fine,  but making a habit of it brings into question the validity of goal setting.

On the opposite side, some teams decide they will never do that again. They get religious about sticking to their guns at the cost of every other opportunity.


The Proactive Process Solution

The Vision/Traction Organizer™ exists for a reason. It isn’t just to look nice. The V/TO is designed to guide every major decision the company needs to make for the next ten years.

If your priorities on a large scale shift (meaning the 10-Year Target™), then of course your short term annual goals will have shifted. However, if the annual goals that you deprioritized were actually important for your 10-Year Target, it’s time to reinforce that target. Building a business that will last a generation isn’t easy. Doing so requires a lot of big picture thinking, and keeping your eye on a target a decade away is no easy task.

The best solution is to stay vigilant in your quarterly sessions about comparing your current priorities to the 3 and 10 year goals.


This is the one thing I never want to hear a client say. If a deadline snuck up, they aren’t using EOS properly. The Level 10 Meeting™ should have you reporting in on your goals every single week. If they aren’t on track to be completed, the whole team should know well in advance. There is no room for “sneaking up” in that situation. Either the team was using the Level 10 correctly and honestly or they weren’t It’s that simple.

The Reactionary Mistake

The reactionary mistakes that teams make in this situation can vary greatly. Some teams will go crazy with milestones to make sure they never get caught off guard again. Other teams might react by being less aggressive with goals, blaming the goal rather than their execution.  Some teams even abandon EOS completely.


The Proactive Process Solution

When a deadline isn’t met, it’s because the team isn’t properly using the EOS Process™. The best and only way to handle this is to reexamine how your team is using the tools. Are you properly reporting on Rocks? Are you using a Scorecard that actually creates predictive data? Does the person who missed the deadline really GWC their role in the organization? 

If your team is being honest with the EOS Toolbox™, they simply shouldn’t be surprised by deadlines. Ever. If you are still getting blindsided, it honestly may be time to look into getting a Certified EOS Implementer.


Resources can mean anything from time to money to people. Some teams will confuse a lack of resources with someone dropping the ball. However, asking the person if they had everything they needed to accomplish the goal should always be your first question when discussing a goal that wasn’t achieved.   


The Reactionary Mistake

It can be tempting to simply throw money at a problem, when someone says “I didn’t have the budget to accomplish that goal.” 


The Proactive Process Solution

The best resource for a team struggling to prioritize resources is the V/TO. By putting together a plan of action to achieve that man-on-the-moon goal in the 10-Year Target, the team get’s clarity on what is truly important. Not only that, but they see what needs to happen to achieve each step along the way.

This kind of long term strategic planning is critical in order to prioritize annual or quarterly goals. You can’t do everything. That’s the hard truth. So, you need to put resources in place to make sure the absolutely critical things happen to get you to that 10-Year Target.


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