1 Vision Thoughts
Advice and Insight For Entrepreneurs and Leadership Teams
You may know your customer’s demographics such as their age or gender, or maybe the size of their company, and you may also know the geographical location of your customers as well, but do you know their psychographic profile? You are likely missing the most important part.
Identifying company values, along with a mission and vision of the future, is considered table stakes if you want to run a successful company. But integrating and living by those values is more difficult than it seems.
If you’re an entrepreneur or a business leader and you’re feeling ‘frozen in place,’ you’ll want to get unstuck as soon as possible so you can lead your company and your people. In the best of times, you’ll hear us at EOS talking about the importance of taking regularly-scheduled Clarity Breaks™. We feel that now is a critical time for Clarity Breaks, so we’ve dedicated an entire Lead Now session, as well as this blog, to be a “Clarity Break 101.”
Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” I’m beginning to understand the true meaning of his words as I work with my clients and businesses I own. A good Scorecard is the key to accountability. I began asking why this was and the answer became so obvious, I have to admit I was a little embarrassed that it took me so long to get it.
Do you remember the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen? When all his courtiers were too afraid to tell the Emperor that he was naked for fear of being labeled stupid? Ever feel that sometimes your team might be trying to tell you something but can’t?
The only business that doesn’t have issues is one that has already gone out of business. Having issues isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s what you do with them that counts. The first step in handling any problem is acknowledging that it exists. Then you can do the following.
The EOS Business Spotlight series showcases entrepreneurial-minded organizations running on EOS and their leaders who take initiative, confront hard facts and pressing issues, and lead with calm, clarity, and confidence. This could be your story too.
A successful coach isn’t always a game-winning coach. I’ve seen evidence of this up-close in all of my experience coaching youth sports, where our team might lose but each individual child comes out of the game with more experience, focus, and positivity. It is often the very same in business.
“Houston, we’ve had a problem!” It seems that nearly everyone in the world recognizes these five historical words. They were first spoken by Captain Jim Lovell, the Commander of the Apollo 13 Space Mission, over fifty years ago, when an explosion midway to the moon should have killed everyone on board. The actions of the three astronauts after the incident still serve as a lesson to us all about unexpected tragedy, focus, discipline, and perseverance. Today, our unexpected explosion is Covid-19, and what are we to do?
In EOS® quarterly sessions, I always ask teams, “What kind of scores are you giving your weekly Level 10 Meetings™?” If I hear low scores – sixes, sevens, eights – I ask, “Where are the 10s?!” People often respond, “We don’t give 10’s. There’s always room to get better.” Here’s how.
I recently shared a 90-Minute overview of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®) with a leadership team that was deciding whether to work with me to implement EOS in their company. The team shared that they were frustrated with their current situation.Despite growing consistently for the past several years, they felt like things were getting harder, not easier. People who used to be great for the business suddenly seemed to be struggling. Systems that had worked well for years suddenly seemed to be breaking down. Revenue was up, but profit wasn’t as high as they wanted it to be. After presenting the EOS Tools and the EOS Process® to the team, I surveyed the room to see how they reacted to the content — and was surprised to see one person wiping away tears. Worried that I had upset her somehow, I asked if she was OK. “I’m just so relieved,” she said, “After hearing you paint a picture of what EOS can do for our company, I finally have hope that things can actually get better. When can we start?”
For some, simple business might appear to be an oxymoron. Almost all of the businesses I have worked with over the past 30 years have been anything but simple. Is it possible to keep business simple, with a simple business structure, a simple business plan, simple business processes, and simple management? Is it really possible to simplify business?
In recent quarters, I’ve had four clients with the same issue. In each case, the leadership team was puzzled and felt stymied. The companies had been running on EOS® for about a year and a half and during that time, they had experienced big growth in revenue and profits. But then it stalled out without warning. What happened?
After your senior leadership team has mastered the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, there comes an exciting – and maybe slightly scary – milestone in your implementation of EOS: it’s time to teach the rest of the company how to do it. We call this the “rollout,” and it begins when your leadership team works together to help next level leaders, managers and supervisors begin using EOS foundational tools in their departments or teams. Whether you do your rollout to one layer of management at a time or to everyone all at once, there are a few things you can do to make sure the process goes as smoothly and successfully as possible.
Some time ago I had a conversation with a client’s Integrator. This was one of those lessons-learned conversations that are painful to have, but are fertile soil for learning and growing. They had just fired an employee and it didn’t go well. It was a painful and difficult termination, but the leadership team’s actions had farther-reaching effects as well. Not only did this People Issue impact the company’s internal operations, but it also impacted their clients. Here’s why.
One of my clients, a small software company in Detroit, had this a-ha moment in one of their quarterly sessions. “With great power comes great responsibility. We have great power (talent on our team), and we’re not being responsible because we aren’t focusing it effectively.”
“The roads of the world are paved with squirrels that couldn’t decide.” It paints a very clear mental picture, doesn’t it? The ability to make a decision is one of the characteristics of all great leaders. Some people are great at making decisions; others find it challenging.
As a leader in an EOS® company, you have hopefully continued to realize the importance of all of the EOS Tools you are using in your business. Seeing the strength and courage that emerges from a healthy leadership team as they use these tools is encouraging. It is extra motivating to watch teams step back and start to look for opportunities to grow despite the conditions that exist today. They are using their heads well. But what about the heart?
How can you even think about looking 10 years into the future when the world has changed so much? Yet now, more than ever, you need a 10-Year Target.A 10-Year Target is the “North Star” for your company and all your employees. Your team needs to see that you have a plan. They need to believe in a real target to get through this.
This is an overwhelming time for all people, but especially for leaders of small businesses. You feel a sense of responsibility for the health, safety, and security of your employees. If you’re in an “essential business,” customers are counting on you to continue delivering your products and services. You may be shut down completely – wondering when (or if) you’ll be able to re-open. You’re worried about your own safety, and for the health and well-being of your family and friends. It’s a lot. You’re pulled in a million different directions and it’s easy to spend all day reacting and feel like chaos is taking over. But leaders in companies running on EOS® know that now is a time to stay focused.