I recently read the book “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business”, which was probably the most useful business book I read so far. It’s about a system called EOS®, which describes a simplified way to run your company, that I meanwhile also implemented heavily at Blogtec.
In this article, I’m sharing how I use the ideas of this system at Blogtec. Therefore, this is not a good summary of the system itself, but rather an example of how it could be used.
Introduction to the System 📖
The EOS® is ideal for small to mid-sized companies with $1-$50 million revenues and 10–250 employees. It addresses the biggest frustrations that any entrepreneurial leadership team will face:
- Lack of control.
- Lack of clear strategies/tactics.
- Lack of alignment between your people and your vision and goals.
It consists of 6 parts that together build a solid system to manage your company. Additional strategies you learn will usually fit well into one of those parts to work together with this framework.
The first step in the EOS® framework is establishing a clear and compelling vision for your company. This includes answering the following 5 questions of the framework:
- What is your core focus/mission?
- What are your core values?
- What is your 10-year target? (can be less years)
- What is your marketing strategy?
- Target market
- 3 USPs
- Proven process (your customer funnel/experience)
- Guarantee (offering customers something to make sure they can’t lose, like a trial)
- What is your three-year picture?
The book offers a “Vision/Traction Organizer” to make this easier to create. Important is that you have a document and that once you’re done creating it, you share it with your team and make it easy to access.
I created a “Vision Statement”, which is a document on the home page of our project management software, that answers these 5 questions. I update it every quarter and then re-share it with the whole team in our weekly all-hands update.
Creating a shared vision like this helps to align your team and provides a clear direction for everyone to follow. It serves as a guiding light to make sure that all teams go in the same direction in their decision-making, prioritization, and resource allocation. It also helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page about what your plans for the company are.
- Create a vision statement answering the 5 questions I mentioned above and share it with the entire company.
The next two points are having the right people and having them in the right seats.
Right people mainly means that all of your team members align with your vision and fit the company’s values and working style. I experienced myself that the value part is crucial when we had a Head, who was a great person and aligned with our vision, but came from the corporate world and didn’t fit our core value “result-driven”. While we wanted speed and see small results and progress every week, even if that means shipping something 80/20, he was “overplanning”. This created confusion and tension in the company.
Having them in the right seats means that they are in a position that truly suits them and where they can shine. We also had an issue at this point with a Head we hired for pretty different functions, realizing that he’s 9/10 in the one function, but maybe just a 6/10 in the other, at least for the requirements we had in that role. We then decided to have him focus on the function he’s excellent at and hire someone else for the other one.
The Accountability Chart:
A great tool to implement into your company is the accountability chart. This is basically your new internal org chart. The only differences to a normal org chart are that it works with functions not role titles and that you clarify the accountabilities of the functions and who owns them there.
Important is that you start with the functions first. Once you have those, you add the accountabilities. Only then, you start adding the names. This way, you make sure you build the organization the way you think is best for the organization. However, you can then make slight adjustments based on your team members and their skills and wishes. Just be careful to not change it entirely.
- Analyze your team and make sure everyone aligns with your vision, your core values, and the way you want to run the company. If not, give them a chance to change, but if they don’t, you have to let them go, even if it’s hard.
- Built a system to ensure that future hires are analyzed based on this as well, so you don’t get wrong people into your company anymore.
- Create an accountability chart. Share it first with your team members, and once everyone aligns, with your whole company.
Data is the lifeblood of any business. Therefore, you have to ensure that you identify and track key metrics that drive your company’s success. This involves:
- Determining the critical numbers that impact your business and developing a system to measure and monitor them regularly.
- Creating reporting that provides a snapshot of your company’s performance and allows you to quickly identify areas that need attention.
- Establishing a rhythm of weekly and quarterly meetings to review the data.
IMO, the most important things to build a good reporting are:
- Set up a KPI report sheet for your company that includes your key metrics like revenue, new customers, e.t.c. You can also add key metrics for each team. Then you assign those metrics to the accountable person.
- Next, you create a second sheet with additional individual measurables. You go through each team and the key KPIs you decided in the previous step, and then break that down to the metrics that are needed to reach that. For example, in Marketing, the main metrics might be new paying customers and new users. Your measurables could be CPL of your ads, how many blog posts you published, or how many people you cold-called.
- At least for the important metrics, plus for all measurables, add goals for the metrics.
- KPI sheets get overcomplicated easily, so keep them as simple as possible.
- The most essential is the KPI report, especially when your company is smaller. You can add additional measurables for inside the teams later on. Also, it’s normal if you only have a few measurables. At Blogtec, we currently only have numbers of people outreached by each Sales person, and blog articles published as additional measurables.
- Create a KPI report with the most essential metrics of your company, best each of them assigned to someone.
- If it makes sense, add an additional measurables sheet, or individual sheets for the teams.
- Schedule a weekly meeting to go through the sheet with your leadership team / key team members.
- In addition, I have a monthly meeting with my Co-Founder to review the KPI report sheet, as well as our finances.
Every organization faces challenges and obstacles. The fourth step of the EOS® framework focuses on tackling these issues head-on. That means:
- Creating a safe environment where issues can be openly discussed.
- Identifying and prioritizing the most critical issues that are holding your company back.
- Implementing a system for effectively solving these issues.
By addressing issues proactively, you can prevent them from becoming bottlenecks that hinder your progress.
- Create an environment that makes it easy to talk about issues.
- The model suggests having a database or sheet where team members can note down issues. I’d make it more simple by simply adding an “Issues & Discussion Items” part to every recurring meeting.
- In addition, you can add a part at the end of meetings where you can ask “What works well and what not?”. This usually brings out issues that you otherwise would have never heard about.
Efficient processes and systems are essential for running a successful business. Therefore, you have to learn how to create scalable and documented processes that improve productivity and consistency. This involves:
- Identifying the core processes that drive your business and documenting them in a clear and accessible manner.
- Streamlining and optimizing these processes to eliminate waste and inefficiencies.
- Ensuring that your processes are well-communicated and consistently followed by everyone in the organization.
By establishing effective processes, you can create a more organized and efficient operation, leading to improved productivity and faster growth.
- Create processes for all core elements of your company and make sure they’re easy to access.
- I simply created a Notion database with categories, tags, and owners.
- Update and optimize the processes regularly.
- To ensure they’re updated regularly, you could make a recurring task for team members to update the processes they’re responsible for.
- In the same task, they could make suggestions for processes that could be more efficient. You can add them to the backlog and do the optimizations when you think it moves your company forward.
The final step of the EOS® framework is all about execution and achieving results. It involves:
- Setting clear priorities and goals for the company, departments, and individuals.
- Implementing a system for tracking progress and holding everyone accountable.
- Establishing a rhythm of regular meetings to ensure alignment, resolve issues, and keep everyone focused on the most important objectives.
By consistently executing your plans and maintaining focus, you will gain traction and fast growth.
- Create annual and quarterly strategies that are shared with the entire company.
- Create weekly meetings with your teams where you reflect on if you’re on track with your strategies and KPIs.
I created an individual system for strategy planning and creating focus. I will publish an article on that soon.
The EOS® framework provides a comprehensive system for managing and growing your business. By following the six steps of Vision, People, Data, Issues, Processes, and Traction, you can gain control over your business, align your team, make data-driven decisions, address obstacles, establish efficient processes, and ultimately achieve the results you desire.
Make sure to read the book yourself and consider implementing this system into your company, as I did at Blogtec.