So, you’ve completed your Vision Building Days, usually called VB1™ and VB2™ by the very creative EOS® Implementers. You’ve spent hours of working on your EOS Core Values™ and learning many of the amazing tools the the EOS Toolbox™. And you walked away with something truly awesome, an EOS Vision Traction Organizer ™(or the V/TO for short).
But just having a Vision Traction Organizer isn’t enough. To get the most important benefits of having a V/TO, you need to use it correctly. That’s what this little guide is for.
In this guide I introduce 5 steps you need to take to get the most out of your Vision Traction Organizer and grow into the company you’ve envisioned with your leadership team.
Step 1: Be Realistic And Brave
I love that the EOS Level 10 Meetings™ use the IDS Process to always start with the most important issue at hand. And when it comes to your Vision Traction Organizer, the most important thing to remember is B-SMARRT.
You’ve probably heard of setting SMART goals. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely. It’s a wonderful little acronym that business folks have been batting around since the early 80’s. And, unlike most buzzwords, it’s an invaluable tool for measuring the viability of your goals.
I want to add to that two new pieces that are specifically relevant to people working on a V/TO.
R is for Realistic
I’m all for making goals that challenge you to do more (see below), but they have to be realistic. If you set out to increase profits by 1000% this year, you’re probably not going to actually achieve that.
That’s why the second “R” in B-SMARRT stands for Realistic. The goals of your V/TO need to be within range of your actual ability. If they aren’t, you’ll quickly get used to the idea of not achieving goals. And few things poison a company’s growth faster than the apathy that comes with constantly falling short.
B is for Brave
This is the game changer in my mind. If I say “smart” it’s not conveying any real action. If I say “be smart” I am telling you to go do something, something that you normally wouldn’t do. Well…that works as an example, but I don’t mean you normally wouldn’t be smart. Probably the opposite. If you’re following the advice from my blog, you’re probably some kind of genius.
Anyway, the “B” in B-SMARRT stands for Brave.
Why? Because if you aren’t being Brave with your goals, you aren’t really taking action. The goals of your company have to drive action, specifically action that you normally wouldn’t take. That’s what spurs growth.
How does this pertains to your Vision Traction Organizer? You’ve got to make goals that challenge the company. If you build your V/TO based on what you’re 100% sure you can achieve if you just keep plodding along, you’re not going to get the ground breaking results that you’re looking for.
Step 2: Be Proud
First, the leadership team should be Proud. A lot of work went into building a V/TO that will guide your business into the future. Don’t hide that work behind the board room doors.
Second, you owe it to the entire organization to give them the chance to invest in these goals, something for them to be Proud of. Your employees need to understand where the company is going. Showing them the V/TO gives them the direction they need to understand their role in achieving it.
When team members understand the long-term goals, they can really take ownership of their part in it. Not only do they get the perspective needed to know how important their contribution is. They also get the context that allows them to make their own decisions and support the goal in ways you might not have thought of.
Step 3: Be Committed
When it comes to achieving goals that are critical for success, don’t take no for an answer.
Sure sometimes priorities shift or outside forces cause the market to change (see below). But if an aspect of your Vision Traction Organizer is still important to the company, don’t let anything stand in your way.
That applies to every aspect of the V/TO. Everything from the 10-Year Target™ to the Core Values. Success in achieving those goals and living by those values is non-negotiable. You’ll hear no shortage of excuses. I guarantee that. How you want to handle those excuses is up to you, but they should never stand in the way.
When you stumble (and you will), remind yourself that the Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a journey, one that 6000+ successful businesses have gone on. At the end of that journey is an efficient, profitable business that is ready to scale. But that only happens when the entire organization stays on the straight and narrow.
Step 4: Be Flexible
You might see flexible and think I’m backing off from the “committed” aspect. I promise I’m not.
Flexibility isn’t a lack of commitment. It’s an understanding and acceptance that sometimes situations change. Often, when outside forces are out there shifting the playing field, they aren’t asking you if the changes to the market are in line with your goals. When things change in a way that makes achieving a goal either unrealistic or substantially less important, it’s time to get flexible.
This might be a bit lofty, but I like to reference the works of Lao Tzu. In the Tao Te Ching he writes “There is nothing in the world more soft and weak than water, and yet for attacking things that are firm and strong there is nothing that can take precedence of it.”
The wording is a bit rough, but the meaning stays true thousands of years later. If you want your business to be strong enough to move mountains, it needs to be flexible like a river. When you close yourself off to change, you can find yourself working hard to achieve something that is no longer beneficial. When you accept the reality of the world around you, you can adapt and grow stronger than those who don’t.
Step 5: Be Vigilant
My friends, there will be temptation. If you’re a client of mine, you have probably heard me talk about Shiny Stuff. And you know how much I loathe it. For non-clients, I have written quite a bit about Shiny Stuff. I encourage you to check it out.
When it comes to the Vision Traction Organizer, it’s hard to be vigilant. Sometimes the distractions will be easy to point out. But when you are working towards a goal ten years away, sometimes the Shiny Stuff will seem like it’s part of that plan.
The leadership team needs to stay vigilant, though. You need to constantly weigh the decisions you are making against the V/TO. That means comparing them to both the goals on the V/TO and the Core Values that define your business. And I don’t mean in the back of your mind. I mean explicitly asking your team if the decision you just made is really in line with the Core Values or Vision of the team.
Slip ups will happen. But when you remain vigilant you will see those slip ups for what they are. That gives you the chance to correct them. But when you stop holding your decisions up to that litmus test, you’re bound to find out all too late how off-track you’ve gotten.
My advice is to tack on a quick question at the end of your Level 10 Meeting. During the Conclusion, just ask the team, “do we feel like all of the decisions we made today are in line with our Core Values and our long-term goals?” If the answer is yes, hooray. If not, it’s time to reexamine some decisions.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.