Whittle and Partners https://whittleandpartners.com Work on your business, not in your business Mon, 01 Jun 2020 17:38:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://whittleandpartners.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/cropped-favicon-1-32x32.png Whittle and Partners https://whittleandpartners.com 32 32 How EOS Process Can Save You In A Crisis Like COVID-19 https://whittleandpartners.com/2020/06/01/how-eos-process-can-save-you-in-a-crisis-like-covid-19/ Mon, 01 Jun 2020 17:35:09 +0000 https://whittleandpartners.com/?p=7946 Process Normally In normal times —  especially for businesses that run on the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, EOS process is anintegral tool  that holds your business together. If you read my…

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Process Normally

In normal times —  especially for businesses that run on the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, EOS process is anintegral tool  that holds your business together. If you read my blog or watch my videos, you know that one of our first EOS® tasks is putting the Right People in the Right Seats. But even if you have the right people, they need to know what to do and how you want it done. That’s where process comes in.

First let me clarify what I mean by process. I am not talking about some ISO 9000 document that describes every single step of every single procedure in which you might engage from the moment you walk in the door on Monday until the day you die. Instead I mean the basic flow of tasks in your handful of key processes  described in enough detail for a competent professional  (one who gets, wants and has the capacity for the job) can reasonably learn how your company does things without pestering you and follow that process consistently 

Clearly documenting and then following key processes standardization, ensures consistency, quality and efficiency.  Process drives accountability.   It’s what keeps new managers from throwing entire teams into chaos with a “new way of doing things,” and it’s what keeps your employees from tearing their hair out from frustration.  Process is your proven way of doing what you do, and it’s now more important than ever.

What Happens in a Crisis?

A crisis is, by definition, chaotic. People become reactive and foresight goes right out the window. Imagine, for example, a fire in a large office building. The alarms start going off and people are immediately running in circles, looking for the stairs they never used. People start arguing over the elevator, searching for fire extinguishers, asking if anyone has called 911. Chaos.

The reasonable, intelligent people that work in the building are suddenly incapable of doing the right thing; not because they are any less intelligent, but because they weren’t ready. They didn’t plan for this problem, and so it became a crisis.

 

Process in Crisis: Sprinkler Systems and Fire Drills

Process may not seem exciting or flashy, but it’s what saves companies in a crisis. The company that spends extra money on a brand new fire suppression system may not look as flashy as the one that bought a fountain for the lobby, but when that fire starts, they will be ready.

When it comes to the day-to-day operations of your company, the processes in place keep you moving in an efficient manner. But when crises hit, process is more important than ever. When your people know how to react, know what is a priority, and understand exactly what is expected of them, they can work together as a team. And teams make it through crises a heck of a lot better than a group of individuals.

 

The Ask

As I write this, the world is beginning to peek out from its COVID-19 bunker. The economy is restarting, restrictions are relaxing. For better or worse, we are returning to some semblance of normalcy.

How did your processes hold up in this crisis? Were you ready? More importantly, will you be ready for the next one? Even if COVID-19 passes into memory, you can be sure that there is always another crisis down the line. It may not be for a few years or it may be in a few short months. Whenever it comes, though, you will need the processes in place to ensure that your team can keep working towards its long-term goals.

Don’t let yourself get caught flat-footed. Embrace the importance of documenting and ensuring compliance with your key processes.  Start today.  Your adherence to well-documented processes  may very well be what helps you turn the next  crisis into an opportunity.

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Strategic Planning During COVID https://whittleandpartners.com/2020/05/12/strategic-planning-during-covid/ Wed, 13 May 2020 02:56:39 +0000 https://whittleandpartners.com/?p=7939 Introduction As a smarter man than I once mused, the times they are a changin’. And as myriad politicians, musicians, and dads who still wear bell bottoms have proven, if…

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Introduction

As a smarter man than I once mused, the times they are a changin’. And as myriad politicians, musicians, and dads who still wear bell bottoms have proven, if you don’t change too, you get left behind. Change, though, must not be reactive or random. Change must be intentional, designed, and directed towards an informed and intelligent future goal. If we allow our actions to be dictated purely by the emerging news of each day, we are no better off than a man dancing wildly as bullets land around his feet. While he may not yet have gotten shot, he sure as hell isn’t getting anything accomplished.

If your business already runs on the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, your team has already taken the time to make informed decisions around the future of your company. That’s something to be proud of. But like many others right now, you find yourself asking how to reconcile your existing strategic planning with the new reality of your industry’s situation. 

So, let me give you some advice: your strategic planning tools are just that — tools.

Sounds a bit redundant, I know. But hear me out.  As long as you’re still working toward a goal you must continue to use the tools.  A tool that’s used once and put away isn’t going to continue to add value.

 

In a typical EOS implementation we normally  revisit the 3-year picture™, the 1-year plan, the Accountability Chart™, and the Rocks™ during our  annual planning session. Typically,  I advise my clients not to go changing those documents all willy nilly, because a strategic planning document that you change every week isn’t a plan, it’s a goat rodeo. But, with the extreme changes we are going through, I’m reminding I am advising all of my clients and readers to take the time to pull out those tools, dust them off, and use them  to evaluate whether your prior planning remains relevant, or whether the world has changed enough that it’s time to pivot.adjust course. In all likelihood you have already adjusted course on an informal level, reacting to the world around you. What I am asking you to do is to give yourself permission to take the time necessary to make truly strategic decisions and plans for your company in this crisis.

 

3 year picture

I think this evaluation best starts with reviewing your 3-year picture. You don’t want to throw out your 10-year target just yet. That target was a hard-won commitment, and our job as leaders now is to figure out how to get to the same destination over a potentially different past.  As my son and I were preparing this blog he observed “if your current flight plan says ‘go straight’ and you’re headed toward a mountain you don’t just close your eyes and barrel mindlessly onward.”  

My son, I have learned, is way smarter than he looks.

With that in mind, it’s time to sit down with your team to look at your 3-year picture.   What do you truly think your business is going to look like in three short years?  How many people, what products or services, facilities, technology, infrastructure — everything.  Do your absolute best to visualize the business you believe you’ll be running in just 36 months.

Sure, we might not know everything there is to know about COVID, economic fallout, and a business landscape that could look radically different.  But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do your absolute best – knowing what you NOW know —  to make intelligent predictions  and informed decisions around your company’s short-term future. While you may struggle to come up with exact numbers for your revenue and profit, the “what does it look like” section is pure gold to you right now. Leave no stone unturned in your mission to reexamine and reimagine your company’s priorities and plans. Visualize that company, and try to feel what it must feel like to BE in that company.  Visualization is a powerful tool, one that can radically increase the likelihood of actually accomplishing what you envision.

You may be looking to seriously downsize your company. You may be sitting at a crossroads, needing to choose one product / service over another. You may also be ready to pounce on this transition as a huge opportunity for growth.  The truth is that the specifics aren’t important. What’s important is that you are taking the time to predict where your company will stand — and where you want it to be standing — in 3 years.

 

Accountability Chart

In my line of work, I have to be the bearer of bad news sometimes. I hate that. But here’s some bad news.

It’s possible that not all the people working at your company right now will make it through this chapter in your business.   Once you’ve worked worked through your 3-year picture and made significant changes, the chances are that you will need to reexamine your Accountability Chart as well. Now is a critical time to determine the best structure for your business going forward — and sometimes that means contraction — and the right responsibilities for people to own going forward.

When the plans of a company shift significantly, the structure and staff needed to enact that plan shift as well. In times of expansion, that means hiring new team members and shifting responsibilities to ease burdens on certain roles. In hard times, it means asking hard questions about what structure your company truly needs and can afford, and if the people in those chairs now are the right folks for the job. When businesses shrink, that typically means you have fewer people who often are called on to wear additional hats.

It’s a hard task.  I’ve been there, and there’s nothing fun about it.  . But as a business leader, your biggest responsibilities are  to your company, your customers, and the people you can still gainfully employ going forward.  Now is the time to take a hard look at your organizational structure, and The Accountability Chart is the tool you need to use.

 

1 year plan / Rocks

It’s entirely possible that you and your team have already rethought the annual and quarterly goals you set just a few short months ago. That is absolutely understandable. You wouldn’t be good leaders if you didn’t know how to think on your feet.  If you haven’t already done that you should.  Nothing is more disheartening to a team than being held to goals and commitments that are simply no longer reasonable.

I’m not encouraging you to give your team an automatic pass not to work toward the goals you originally set.  What I am encouraging, however, is that you season that work with a heavy dose of our new reality so your team can immediately realign around annual goals that are realistic and achievable while still moving you toward your ultimate goals.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make is letting a change of plans result in  a lack of plans.

Revisiting your annual goals serves several critical purposes.  First, it calibrates your team toward a future orientation of success rather than the failure that would have come from retaining unrealistic goals.  Just as importantly, alignment around your new annual goals is the critical first step in determining what you need to be working on right now to achieve the best results.  When we set our quarterly Rocks, the first thing we ask is “what absolutely must be done this quarter to make sure we stay on track to achieve these annual goals by the end of the year?”   Rocks become simply the tactical commitments that must be made to make sure you actually execute your strategy.

I cannot properly stress (without employing interpretive dance, which I assure you no one wants to see) the importance of staying on top of your short-term planning and tactical execution in a moment like this. And the only way to make good decisions about today’s priorities is to evaluate your options in light of a realistic set of annual goals.

 

If you take away anything from this article, take this away:

Now more than ever, your leadership team needs to set Rocks this quarter and stay dedicated to thinking strategically.. Now more than ever, having and fulfilling clearly defined, measurable, strategic short-term executional commitments  is the best way to continue your journey toward your long-term vision.

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Entrepreneurial Operating System: EOS Youtube https://whittleandpartners.com/2020/04/16/entrepreneurial-operating-system-eos-youtube/ Thu, 16 Apr 2020 20:27:20 +0000 https://whittleandpartners.com/?p=7703 New EOS Youtube Channel This week I’m excited to introduce a new EOS Youtube channel dealing specifically with the struggles of running your business on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (or…

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New EOS Youtube Channel

This week I’m excited to introduce a new EOS Youtube channel dealing specifically with the struggles of running your business on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (or EOS® for short).

The channel is actually called the Whittle & Partners Youtube Channel. But, the content is hyper focused on helping business owners using EOS. 

We have already created a significant amount of content. You can read about everything from the 555 Meeting™ to the Scorecard™ to IDS™. And, each week I will release new content. So, make sure to subscribe to get updates about new content.

Tips & Tricks

This isn’t just some dinky review of the tools. I built this channel specifically to act as a supplement to people using EOS. I absolutely will not be focusing on the basics. If you want the basics, you can read Traction.

Instead, this channel is about taking your EOS self-implementation to the next level with EOS videos that offer tips, tricks, and advice. This channel is aimed at helping you self-correct to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that many people make, even those who are already working with an EOS Implementer!

Expert Advice

The goal of the channel is to offer advice from a certified EOS expert. And, I don’t say that to brag. But, I worked very hard to be in the handful of people in the world that can call themselves Certified EOS Implementers. And I’m proud to call myself an expert on the topic, because I’ve managed hundreds of sessions, maybe even in the quadruple digits.

You can head to the local EO meeting and ask people about the Entrepreneurial Operating System. And, you may learn something. But, you don’t ask a mail man how to fix your car. Why would you ask a furniture store owner how to run your fast food chain on EOS? You wouldn’t. You’d ask an EOS implementer. And, since not everyone knows an implementer, I created this EOS Youtube channel.

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Hard Conversations, COVID 19, and Keeping Your Business Alive https://whittleandpartners.com/2020/04/10/hard-conversations/ Fri, 10 Apr 2020 20:45:32 +0000 https://whittleandpartners.com/?p=7927 Introduction: You’re about to have some hard conversations Our lives have all changed in the past few weeks. I don’t mean to say that we stay at home more often…

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Introduction: You’re about to have some hard conversations

Our lives have all changed in the past few weeks. I don’t mean to say that we stay at home more often or people are debating how much social contact is appropriate. Sure, that has changed. But that will pass soon.

When I say our lives have changed, I mean that we as business leaders witnessed the death of the painless years. Some of us in the twilight of our careers have had to steer the ships through the choppy water of recessions and economic uncertainty before, but for many of today’s leaders this is the first time the future has looked anything other than sunny.

And everything has changed because of that.

Six months ago your 10-Year Target was built on aggressive growth, your marketing plan was about expanding your percentage, and your Rocks were all about growing a business that would become an industry leader. Now, your thinking needs to shift.

What you need to do now is reexamine growth goals, prioritize ruthlessly, make the kinds of deals that get you through the rough patches, and cut dead weight. I know that’s a brutal outlook, but there’s one hard truth that will guide you through this.

Your job is not to be Mrs. or Mr. Nice Boss. Your job is to get your company through an economic downturn. Your employees are depending on you to do that.

 

Hard Conversations

Adjusting to a new economic reality will, no doubt, require that you make some very difficult decisions. Depending on your specific circumstances, those decision may revolve around products, employees, expansion plans, or cash flow.  Or all of them.

Some might see these decisions as problems, but those of us using the Entrepreneurial Operating System know that a “problem” is just an “Issue” – one to be solved. And the solution to hard decisions  always starts with open and honest communication between the involved parties.

Many of these solutions will involve hard conversations.  These are not conversations to wing.  These are conversations for which you need to prepare, and in which you need to be a compassionate and strong leader.

So how do you do that?

 

Preparing for Hard Conversations

Step 1: Identify The Conversations

The first step is to identifying the hard conversations on your horizon. Commit to the fact that a hard conversation requires you to prepare.  You aren’t wasting time by thinking this through.  You’re investing in the best possible outcome.  When you find yourself thinking, “I am not looking forward to this conversation,” that’s a good sign that you aren’t ready to have it yet.  Preparation generates clarity and confidence.

 

Step 2: Determine Your Needs and Wants

Any conversation that you are worried about is one in which you have something at stake. That’s why you’re worried. Maybe you want or need something from this person.  Maybe you have to deliver a hard message that puts a relationship at risk.  And maybe you have to communicate to someone that they are losing their job or their vendor relationship with your business.

Whatever the specifics are, you need to determine what you absolutely need to get out of the conversation, both in terms of agreed on action and in communication. If you aren’t 100% honest with yourself about what you want as a result, then you risk having a conversation that seems like it was productive, but didn’t really get to the heart of the matter. When that happens, you end up having the same conversation again and again, stressing everyone involved without actually accomplishing your goals and solving the issue.

So, do yourself a favor and determine exactly what it is you need in advance. The best boss I ever worked for used to ask “what does success look like?”  To prepare for hard conversations you begin by having clarity in your own mind about your desired outcome.  Be ready to ask for it and – if necessary – insist upon it.  Leave no room for miscommunication.  That starts by knowing exactly what the conversation will achieve.

 

Step 3: Get ready

It’s important to make decisions instead of kicking cans down the road, and that sometimes requires that you act without all the information you’d like to have. But whenever possible, good leaders walk into a tough conversation with as much information as they can reasonably muster in advance. Know exactly what resources you have at your disposal.  Consider what is and isn’t possible from the other party’s perspective and what what you are prepared to do that sounds like a “win” to them.  Think through contingencies and potential paths the conversation could take.

Some of the most powerful coaching work I’ve done with clients involved role playing in advance of a hard conversation.  Simulate the environment in which you’ll be and the things you can anticipate being brought up.  Prepare answers to the tough questions you know you’ll get.  There is enormous power in knowing what you’ll say in response to difficult issues and questions.  Think on your feet when you’re playing party games.  In advance of a tough conversation have a mental flow chart of how you will manage the questions and challenges you’ll face.  You’ll be amazed at how much more comfortable and confident you’ll be.

And how likely it becomes that you’ll get what you want and need out of the interaction.

 

Step 4: Keep an open mind

The people you have these conversations with are not going to be neutral parties. Chances are they have their own “dog in the hunt” if we’re speaking Texan.  You will always deal with someone who has their own agenda, and success to them may look very different than it looks to you at first blush.

It’s easy in the middle of a tough conversation to become rigid and fixated on only what you want and how you think it should look.  Focus is a good thing…keep your eye on the prize.  At the same time, don’t put your ears and brain in time-out just so your mouth can do all the work.  Listen to the other side.  Really hear them.  I’m not asking you to prepare to back down.  I’m suggesting that you give yourself and the situation the benefit of being open to a solution or outcome that still gets you what you want but looks different than what you originally envisioned.

Good leaders respect other people and that means hearing them out.  I don’t care how smart you are. You can’t think of everything. Believe it or not this actually happens – the person you’re talking to can  have a mutually agreeable solution that never crossed your mind.

Great communicators listen and think in real time.  Balance the preparation you’ve done with the commitment to being truly open minded.

 

Step 5:  Be clear on next steps

Conclude hard conversations by ensuring that everyone is on the same page about what happens next and when it will happen.  Period.  While it may feel blunt and impersonal, clarity around the future is always better than “let’s see what happens.”  Own that clarity and ensure that it happens.

 

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You Don’t Need Leadership Team Building. You Need Change. https://whittleandpartners.com/2020/04/09/you-dont-need-leadership-team-building-you-need-change/ Thu, 09 Apr 2020 20:52:12 +0000 https://whittleandpartners.com/?p=7697 Nothing Wrong With Leadership Team Building I don’t want it to sound like I’m harping on leadership team building. Quite the contrary. As an EOS® Implementer I guide leadership teams…

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Nothing Wrong With Leadership Team Building

I don’t want it to sound like I’m harping on leadership team building. Quite the contrary. As an EOS® Implementer I guide leadership teams through a pretty serious amount of trust building exercises and coaching. There’s nothing wrong with wanting (and working towards) a healthy leadership team.

When leadership teams can’t trust and communicate honestly with each other, they suffer from the same problems any other dysfunctional team would. And, if your team isn’t operating at peak efficiency, you know that is going to hurt. It’s going to hurt the bottom line. And, it’s going to hurt because every moment of work will be just a little bit more stressful.

But, in this age of “magic wand gurus” too many CEO’s think they can just hire a leadership team building coach and fix everything. Unfortunately that’s not the case.

Leadership team building is great. But, it requires a team that works well together already.

When It Doesn’t Work

If your team is already working fairly well together, get yourself some trust and team building exercises. Then, pat yourself on the back for being a great team that is just getting better.

If, however, your team is experiencing real trouble, you need real change. When the problems are deep rooted, you can’t just put a bandage on them and hope for the best. You need real change when:

These problems aren’t fixable with a few silly trust exercises. You need real, lasting change.

Creating Real Change

The kind of change that I’m talking about doesn’t come easy. Like anything else worth doing, real leadership team building requires hard work. And, that work is going to involve more than a few failures.

But, if you’re willing to endure the scraped knees and black eyes of real change, here’s how it works.

Dedicate Yourself To Honesty

Fully, completely, totally. You can only address problems in your business or your leadership team, when you acknowledge them. Don’t be afraid of the truth. It will reel its ugly head at you. But, just because you don’t acknowledge the truth doesn’t mean it isn’t still tearing your company apart. And, fair warning, if your leadership team is really struggling, that truth is going to involve someone on that team needing to make personal changes.

Hit Problems Head On

When a problem shows itself, you write it down. Put it on a list and keep that list visible. Then, commit to solving the problems on that list with regular, honest discussion. Don’t let things linger and don’t let them fester. 

Say It Once

You know what absolutely never won over a person’s opinion? Repeating your own until they just give up. I call that argumentation by attrition, and it’s awful. Reasonable, intelligent people will disagree. If your team members are just repeating their opinions, rephrasing them, or otherwise just trying to get the team to relent, they aren’t team building. It’s easy to look at that like you “searching for consent.” But, you’re not. What you’re doing is making everyone that disagrees with you annoyed. Good leadership teams state their opinion once and make decisions. If you have new information, keep talking. Otherwise, shut up and respect that someone in the room disagrees with you.

Respect Someone’s Ability To Do Their Job Or Just Fire Them

If someone is on the leadership team, respect their ability to do their job. That’s why they are there. If you were better at their job than them, you wouldn’t need them. So, when one of the team members has an opinion, you listen. When they make a decision for their department, you accept it. If you don’t, that’s because you don’t respect them. And, if you don’t respect them, either they don’t have a place on that team, or you don’t.

Fight For A Goal

You need to identify and work for a real goal. Choose something ambitious, but realistic. Ideally, this is a goal the team has felt is just outside of their reach for a long time. Then, make sure it happens. Do whatever it takes and use the advice in this article to get there. Prove the change is working.

Systems For Change

There are plenty of systems for change management.

I strongly recommend the Entrepreneurial Operating System®. It’s in depth, long-term, lasting change. Companies that have used it see immediate growth in health and profits. And, they sustain that growth for years. In fact, the only companies that quit using the system are the ones that grow so big that they need a system designed for much larger companies.

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How To Choose The Right EOS Implementer For Your Team https://whittleandpartners.com/2020/04/02/how-to-choose-an-eos-implementer/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 15:27:54 +0000 https://whittleandpartners.com/?p=7691 Deciding to run your business on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS ®for short) is no small thing. The book Traction is an incredibly well written one. It lay out the tools…

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Deciding to run your business on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS ®for short) is no small thing. The book Traction is an incredibly well written one. It lay out the tools for EOS in an easily understood way. But, that doesn’t mean using them is easy. That’s why many companies choose to work with an EOS Implementer.

The truth is that working with an EOS Implementer greatly increases your return on investment for EOS. Yes, a smart, well lead team will eventually get those returns. But, by working with an EOS Implementer you increase those returns and you get them much faster. It’s like working on your own car. Sure, I could change the brakes in an afternoon. But, I’d rather pay a professional to do it in an hour and be certain I wasn’t going to drive off a cliff when the brakes fail.

Once you have decided to work with an implementer, though, you still need to choose one. In most areas there are several EOS Implementers. Each one of them has their own approach and their own experiences. Choosing the right one can be as critical to your success with EOS as the amount of work you put in.

1: Always Choose A Professional Or Certified Implementer

Hard truth: people will lie to you.

Sorry, but it’s how the world works. I believe in honest as a matter of policy. But, not everyone is on that level with me. And, like anything else that can make you money, people are willing to lie about their qualifications as an EOS Implementer.

I’ve met more than a few folks who have read the book, decided they could do that, and just started calling themselves implementers. Well, that simply isn’t the case. First off, there is training to complete to actually know the system. And that training is a lot more intense than just reading a book. 

Follow this link and you’ll find a list of every certified and professional EOS Implementer. This list isn’t just folks who say they implement. It’s the folks who completed the training, maintain a strong active client base, and never slip below 8.5 / 10 on their client ratings. In effect, this is the list of people who will actually help your business.

I’m proud to say I’m on the list as a Certified EOS Implementer (that’s the highest possible standard.) And, while I don’t like to brag, I do tell people this one thing. I worked damned hard to be on that list along side a handful of the best in the business.

2: Get To Know The Implementer

After looking over the impelmenters in your area, get to know them.

You don’t have to commit to anything right off the bat. Any implementer with experience knows that how you click on a personal level can greatly influence your experience. And, they know there’s a decent amount of shopping about to be done.

When you first sit down with an implementer to discuss EOS, they understand it’s just an initial conversation. They won’t pressure you at all. If they do, get out! 

Never let anyone sell you on EOS or themselves. If it seems right for you, do it. If not, find the person (or system) that is.

 

3: Take A 90 Minute Meeting (Or Two!)

When you think you’ve found a good EOS Implementer for you, ask them to do a 90 Minute Meeting™.  

During this meeting the implementer will explain the tools, the process, and their approach to coaching you through your EOS journey. In a lot of ways it’s like a 2-sided interview. You get to know the implementer, and they get to know you. 

This isn’t a commitment. Instead, it’s a chance to dive down and decide if this is right for you. And, no one will be offended if you say, “no thanks.” Heck, I’ve done 90 Minute Meetings before and told the team I thought it was a bad fit. Maybe the team just isn’t in the right space, or maybe I know an implementer who used to be in their industry.

Whatever the case, remember there’s no commitment and that you can take 90 Minute Meetings from as many implementers as you like. We promise not to gossip.

4: Start The Process

You can’t finish a journey if you don’t start.

The one thing that will absolutely ensure you never get a return on your investment from EOS is not making the investment. 

A lot of teams are nervous about starting the process, because of the price tag. And, I get that. But, any legit EOS Implementer will offer you a 100% guarantee. If you don’t get value, you don’t pay. 

If nothing else, the first day is free, so you have nothing to lose by making the plunge.

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EOS Traction Book Review https://whittleandpartners.com/2020/03/26/eos-traction-book-review/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 14:03:48 +0000 https://whittleandpartners.com/?p=7688 Traction Book Review Published in 2014, Traction by Gino Wickman was written to bring his system for running businesses to the world. Gino had already been implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System®…

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Traction Book Review

Published in 2014, Traction by Gino Wickman was written to bring his system for running businesses to the world. Gino had already been implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System® for about a decade, when he decided the tools needed a new voice.

Since then, Traction has become a guidebook for thousands of businesses around the world, many of which use the tools described within under the guidance of a certified EOS Implementer

And, while the system is immensely valuable for business owners, the book itself is worth your time. You can download the first chapter for free, or purchase it on Amazon for a few dollars.

The True Story

At its heart, the book is a guide for using the Entrepreneurial Operating System. But, there’s more to it than that. The pages also contain, parsed out among the tools, the story of Gino’s journey from working at the family business to being an entrepreneurship guru.

In Traction Gino tells his own story, using each tool from his system as a vehicle for different steps in the journey. You learn what problems in the family business inspired his toolset, how he decided to leave that business behind, and how the Entrepreneurial Operating System went from his own personal system to something recognized world wide.

All About The Tools

It wouldn’t be a Traction book review without discussing the many tools Wickman introduces.  His toolset, the EOS Toolbox™ as he calls it, is a powerful one. 

Wickman does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of each tool, explaining its purpose, and training the reader in how to use it. All of this is accomplished without unnecessary detail or complexity. Wickman would likely tell you that this reflects his system. The tools themselves are simple, elegant even. And, he does an excellent job of conveying this through his writing style.

With a few short paragraphs and a diagram or two he is able to not just introduce a tool, but illustrate its value, and leave the reader excited about applying it to their own business.

Quick Read, Powerful Information

Not too long ago any decent book about running your business had to be 5,000 pages. There were always the common sense advice books that added no real value. But, any book that actually helped you required you put aside significant time. That’s not the case with Traction.

When I reread the book for this Traction book review, I set aside a day to get through it. To my surprise, it really only took a few hours. I had honestly forgotten how quickly you can get through it. What’s nice about Traction is that the depth isn’t in the wording, it’s in how you take the book and apply it to your own company.

After reading it, you’ll want to read it again and again as you consider how you’ll use it. Soon you’ll have dog-eared pages galore and a book full of notes in the margin. That’s perhaps the real power of the book. It isn’t just a cover to cover reader, it’s a reference. You can quickly and easily find advice and solutions for real world problems facing your business.

The Next Step

If you haven’t read Traction, I strongly suggest downloading the first chapter for free

If the tools in this book pique your interest, you can try implementing them in your business. Or, you can decide to work with a professional implementer to make sure you get the most out of your EOS experience.

If you decide to go it alone, though, don’t dive in blind. Sign up for monthly updates from a certified EOS implementer to get advice on using each of the tools and on the journey as a whole.

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Entrepreneurial Operating System: EOS Rocks vs Tasks https://whittleandpartners.com/2020/03/19/entrepreneurial-operating-system-eos-rocks-vs-tasks/ Thu, 19 Mar 2020 13:25:18 +0000 https://whittleandpartners.com/?p=7685 If you’re running your business on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (or EOS®), you’ve undoubtedly heard about EOS Rocks™. These are the 3-5 things that your company absolutely must achieve to…

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If you’re running your business on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (or EOS®), you’ve undoubtedly heard about EOS Rocks™. These are the 3-5 things that your company absolutely must achieve to have a great quarter. More than that, they definitively move you closer to your annual goals, which in turn bring you closer to your long-term Vision™.

Rocks are, in short, the foundation of the Traction™ component. These are the achievable, ambitious goals that make your Vision a reality.

But, so many people get confused about Rocks. My clients, podcast listeners, and readers ask me, “what’s the difference between a rock and a task,” or “how do I know it’s really a rock”.

These aren’t easy questions for someone just out of the gate in EOS. So, here’s some quick tips to help you decide if that’s really an EOS Rock.

 

1: Is This A Real Challenge?

Let’s start off with the most common mistake people make when building their EOS Rocks: not challenging themselves. 

If your Rock is something that you can complete within a week, it’s not really a Rock, it’s just a to-do. In fact, if you look at that Rock and say, “I can 100% pull that off. Easy-peezey lemon squeezey,” then you aren’t challenging yourself. Even if you leave out the part about squeezing lemons.

The reason Rocks are so powerful isn’t just because they help focus your leadership team on achieving an important goal, it’s because they inspire you to do more than you normally would. If you are 100% sure you can achieve a Rock, you need to set the bar higher. When you come to your quarterly meeting and report that you finished this task, you should be proud. And the people at the table should be proud too.

Rule 1: EOS is about doing big things, not doing any things.

2: Is This EOS Rock Possible This Quarter

On the flip side, it’s important to ask yourself if you’re being realistic. Can you really accomplish this in just 3 months? 

When a team really pushes towards a Rock but falls just short, I tell them congratulations. Why? Because they undoubtedly made big strides that quarter. But, when a team regularly misses their Rocks, you should hear alarm bells ringing. Getting used to missing goals is a slippery slope.

3: Am I Willing To Die On This Hill?

Before your team truly commits to an EOS Rock, ask yourself if you’re willing to die on that hill. What do I mean by this?

If you remember, a Rock is something that you are willing to sacrifice for. You are going to accomplish that, even if it means ignoring other opportunities. I’m not talking about not doing anything but this while the company burns down around you, but you are going to lose ground on other projects.

So, before you commit to that Rock, ask if it’s worth it. Does it truly move the ball forward on a long-term goal? Is it worth losing out on other opportunities for? Are you ready to die on that hill?

4: Is This EOS Rock Just Part Of My Job?

Lastly, I’d like to address the financial people in the room. Well, everyone really, but this always happens with the finance person. 

A task that is part of your basic job description is not a Rock. Filing the taxes or producing a quarterly PNL is not a Rock. It’s your job. And, while it’s important, it doesn’t move the ball forward.

Financial people tend to get really stuck on this. Maybe it’s just the way their brain works. But, it’s a danger for everyone. Remember, EOS isn’t about treading water. It’s about swimming the English Channel. If you want to make progress, you have to be ambitious.

 

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How To Self Implement EOS In 5 Steps https://whittleandpartners.com/2020/03/12/how-to-self-implement-eos-in-5-steps/ Thu, 12 Mar 2020 17:18:25 +0000 https://whittleandpartners.com/?p=7683 As a Certified EOS Implementer, a lot of folks ask me how to self implement EOS. The truth is that I advise against self implementation for most teams. If you’re…

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As a Certified EOS Implementer, a lot of folks ask me how to self implement EOS. The truth is that I advise against self implementation for most teams. If you’re big enough to really need the Entrepreneurial Operating System, you’re big enough to afford an implementer. And the amount of time, money, and stress you save by getting an implementer is well worth the cost.

That said, when people are dead set of self implementing EOS, or when they are still too small to really benefit, I give them a few simple steps to follow.

1: Read Traction

First off you need to read the book Traction by Gino Wickman. 

Gino is a pretty good friend of mine and I can tell you right now that the book changed my life. You can download the first chapter for free right here.

Before I met Gino I was doing complex change management systems. He gave me the book at a conference and I agreed to read it. The next time I saw him he asked what I thought and I said, “Well, Gino. It seems kinda simple, doesn’t it?”   He looked me dead in the eye and just said, “Thanks, Jeff.”

That’s when it dawned on me. A system doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. So, the first step to learning how to self implement EOS is reading the book that started the movement. Just remember that you can’t stop at just reading the book. There’s a lot more to do.

2: Decide if Self Implementation Is Right For You

As I said, I don’t recommend self implementing EOS to everyone. There are a number of factors that play into it. Here’s a quick check list of who does and doesn’t fit the bill for self implementing EOS.

 

Should Self Implement EOS

  • Small team (under 20)
  • Young business
  • Very open communicators
  • Never give up on commitments
  • Good at objective self-criticism
  • Open to feedback from the team
  • Lots of recent short term expansion

Shouldn’t Self Implement EOS

  • Teams of 20 or more
  • Business with established traditions, processes, and ways of doing things
  • Struggle with communication and openness
  • Tend to get distracted / give up on long-term projects
  • Don’t reflect on actions to self-improve
  • Don’t actively seek feedback
  • Long term, steady growth

 

3: Get The Team On Board

If you’re 100% sure your team can self-implement EOS, it’s time to get everyone on board. 

The EOS Implementer community has a saying: Drag em in, drag em around. What we mean is that, if a leadership team doesn’t seem totally motivated to get their hands dirty with EOS, they are going to be a massive pain during the process.

The Entrepreneurial Operating System requires a significant amount of work. The leadership team will need to change how they do their jobs. There will be days that you just want to pull your hair out and go back to the easy way of doing things. But, a motivated team sees the light at the end of the tunnel and knows they are working towards end game.

Talk to your team, and be very open to their opinions. Ask them to read Traction and see if this is a system that they really believe they can use. If members of the team don’t seem into the idea, it’s your job as a leader to gauge if it’s still worth moving forward. 

Of course, if one person in particular is fighting the idea, it may be because they are just plain stuck in their ways, or don’t want to have to do the extra work. We call those sacred cows.

Regardless, you absolutely don’t move forward with self implementing EOS without talking to your team first.

4: Join Basecamp

The team is on board, you’re ready to move forward. You get everyone together for the first meeting and….you just kind of look at each other. No one knows how to self implement EOS.

Reading the book is all well and good, but there is a substantial amount more to it than that. If you’re going to do this right, you’ll need the training. 

Our blog, podcast, and Youtube channel provide a great resource for self-implementers, giving advice on using the tools. However, you need the basics first. And, you can get those on Basecamp, the training program provided by EOS Worldwide.

5: Never Give Up

You’ve got this. 

The EOS Journey is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be times you want to quit. But, if you see this through to the end your business and your life will be much better off.

And, if you are truly struggling, you can reach out to me personally. I don’t like to give away all the secrets, of course, but I am always happy to give advice to people self implementing EOS.

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Get Certified EOS Traction Training For Your Team https://whittleandpartners.com/2020/03/05/get-certified-eos-traction-training-for-your-team/ Thu, 05 Mar 2020 16:19:42 +0000 https://whittleandpartners.com/?p=7675 Get The Results You’re Looking For If your team is self-implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, you’re already putting in the hard work. When you go it alone, every step of…

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Get The Results You’re Looking For

If your team is self-implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, you’re already putting in the hard work.

When you go it alone, every step of the journey is harder than it has to be.

When you work with a certified EOS® Implementer, you get the EOS Traction™ training your team needs to succeed. This includes:

When good teams self-implement the Entrepreneurial Operating System, they eventually get the results they’re looking for. But, why settle for eventually?

With EOS Traction Training you can get those results faster. That means building an efficient, more profitable business today, not on some unspecified date in the future.

Stop Doing It The Hard Way

Self-implementing EOS is a decision that lots of companies make. I’ve met some that succeed and some that fail. And, every leadership team can make that choice or themselves.

But, one thing holds true for every team that self-implements: the process is longer, harder, and less rewarding. 

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have huge benefits. It absolutely does. But, like anything else, when you work with a coach, you’re more likely to improve. That’s why you don’t see professional athletes out there devising their own training schedules. They know a coach can do all of that for them. That way they can do what they do best: win.

Working with an EOS Implementer may cost you cash up front. But, in the long run it will save you months, perhaps years of work and ensure that your business gets the most out of their EOS Traction training.

Start Today

If you’ve read this far, you’re serious about EOS Traction training. So, here’s the good news.

You can start today at zero cost with zero risk. That’s not an offer you will see many places, no matter what the service.

All you have to do is schedule a 90 Minute Meeting. During this 100% free meeting you and an EOS Implementer work together to decide if EOS is really right for your business as you learn about the tools and the process. No sales BS, no pressure to commit. It’s just pure discovery. Why?

Because the process is long and hard. And as I like to say, “drag em in, drag em around.” If your team isn’t ready for EOS Traction training, a good implementer will let you know right then and there. They want to save you the time and money, just like they want to save themselves the hassle of dragging around a team that isn’t up for the challenge.

And here’s the final kicker. 

When you schedule your sessions for EOS Traction training with a certified EOS Implementer, you get a 100% guarantee. 

I tell my clients if they didn’t get value they don’t pay me. Period.  We can work the entire session and, if you say to me “I don’t think we want to schedule another session,” you don’t pay.

Try asking for that at McDonalds. 

Of course, I’ve never had anyone actually do that, but the option is important. The EOS Journey is about self improvement, not feeling like you’re trapped.

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