What is the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®Model™)?
Are you an entrepreneur who owns a small to mid-sized company? Has business growth reached a ceiling that is difficult to break through? The Entrepreneurial Operating System, also known as the EOS® Model™, was created by Gino Wickman to help businesses achieve their goals with greater ease. In his book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, Wickman outlines Six Key Components® he uses to help companies get on track and achieve success. They cover the following areas:
What is an EOS® Vision? A vision is a view an entrepreneur has for the future of their organization. An EOS® Vision is clearly defined, easily shared, and understood by every company member. By using the EOS® Model™, Wickman provides tools to accomplish these goals, such as the Vision/Traction Organizer™ or V/TO™ for short. The purpose of the V/TO™ clarifies the business’s vision and the path they need to take to achieve it. Wickman (2011) summarizes the importance of a clear vision.
“The process of gaining traction starts here. Clarify your vision and you will make better decisions about people, processes, finances, strategies, and customers” (p. 29).
Once the mission statement is clarified, the business sets its 10–Year Target™, 3-Year Picture™, 1-Year Plan, 90-Day Rocks or top priorities, and weekly goals (Wickman, 2011, p. 8). Then the leadership monitors the company’s growth and issues. After the company’s V/TO™ is completed, everyone from the management team to the employees will know their part in achieving the Vision.
Business growth causes challenges when workers cover more than one seat or role. Picture the order fulfillment department falling behind due to increased sales. The administrative assistant helps ship orders for one hour per workday until the company hires a new employee. Does the administrative assistant work well in their new seat? Are they happy?
Leaders need to evaluate each seat in their organization to ensure the right person occupies the right seat. According to Wickman (2011), the right person can occupy the wrong seat; conversely, the wrong person can be in the right seat (p. 83). Either situation can hinder the company.
The People Analyzer™ rates employees on how well they adhere to the core values. The closer they exhibit them, the better they fit the company culture.
Why give every employee a number to achieve? Because as Wickman (2011) says, “What gets measured gets done” (p. 122).
When the numbers represent achievable goals, they bring energy and accountability into the workplace. This synergy comes from friendly competition among the departments, shifts, or individual workers. People cooperate to see how their numbers improve. The business reaches more goals and gains momentum.
Collecting data reaches beyond the weekly revenue, sales activity, and accounts receivable and payable. Other measurables include the time it takes to complete a task, how many times the phone rings before answering and customer satisfaction. These numbers are different for every organization, but they can bring positive cultural change and quickly solve issues.
Does your leadership team procrastinate when it comes to problem-solving? The EOS® approach trains management to prioritize the top three issues and then decide which business leader, group, or department solves them. The Level 10 Meeting Agenda, or L10 for short, is a 90-minute weekly meeting attended by the leadership team and follows a specific timed format (Wickman, 2011, p.189). It is successful because issues are solved by allocating 60 minutes to IDS (Wickman, 2011, p. 136).
I = Identify
D = Discuss
S = Solve
First, the problem is Identified, then Discussed and prioritized according to urgency and who could best solve the challenge. Lastly, the goal is to Solve the matter in the L10 meeting or place it on the To-Do List where it is solved outside the meeting. This process repeats for each new issue.
A process is a written document that outlines the steps needed to complete a repeatable procedure. One of an organization’s most important tasks is defining and recording the business process. The leadership team meets to agree on how many core processes exist and what to name them. Once completed and simplified, the employees are trained to follow the relevant processes. Spending time writing these documents ensures the company will run smoothly and frees up the leadership to address other issues.
What is traction? It’s when the Vision becomes a reality. Picture a jeep driving into a giant mud puddle. The vehicle might slip and slide while driving towards the firmer ground. Once the jeep’s tires grip the drier, more rigid surface, it gains momentum until it moves smoothly down the road.
Like the illustration of the jeep driving through mud, implementing the EOS® takes time to see results. But once these components are in place and functioning as planned, the easier it becomes to realize your Vision.
Brian Rome is an experienced Business Operations Leader. He assists businesses positioned for growth, detangles organizational issues, and provides guidance in adopting systems such as Lean Six-Sigma, Theory of Constraints, and the EOS® Methodology™. His mentorship of Operational Leaders has been critical for businesses to get them to their next step.
After working with several companies, he has observed that successful EOS® implementations have Leadership teams who commit to using the system. Rome notes that if the Leadership team isn’t ready or gets distracted, he works with them to overcome those obstacles. Once a business adopts the system, the results may not be instant. It may take time to see the significant breakthrough improvements (Wickman, 2011, p.209). The companies committed to the plan achieve growth by attaining their goals and eventually achieving cultural and financial success.
If you are interested in integrating the EOS® Model™ into your business, here are some suggested resources:
- Wickman, G. (2011). Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business. Dallas: BenBella Books.
- EOS® Entrepreneurial Operating System®. EOS Worldwide. Last modified 2022, http://www.eosworldwide.com