Traction: Getting a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman is not new. But it is hugely popular in business circles, especially in rapidly growing industries and companies. And for good reason. The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is a comprehensive approach to resolving common problems growing businesses face in scaling to the next level in their industries.
Wickman’s book lays out simple, powerful methods to run your company with more focus to gain more traction. Starting with developing a concise value statement, moving into goal-setting and leadership team accountability, and filtering into a structured communication plan, Traction helps business owners codify their vision to make it a shared vision throughout a company. Through this shared vision, every leader and department within a company can then be focused on the same set of goals, all working toward common purpose.
It may seem like this is how all companies run, but this is really an ideal rather than a reality. Based on real-world implementation, EOS seems relatively simple and self-explanatory, but the difficulty comes in the word ‘shared’. Many owners and entrepreneurs have laser-focus on their vision but lack the skills or follow-through to effectively communicate this vision through an accountable leadership team to an organized effort by all employees. And this chaos is how companies lose traction, slipping through their day-to-day operations and putting forth huge effort without making equally huge progress toward goals.
Practically, EOS could be applied to any level of business, from an independent consultant to an established organization. After reading the book, the temptation would be to ‘dip’ in and out, taking lessons from individual sections or chapters to institute. However, as Wickman stresses, the power of EOS is in the entire system and follow-through with the communication schedule and method. Simply adopting bits and pieces won’t achieve the same results as the real-world examples discussed in the book.
Applications for Your Business:
EOS is inspiring, especially if you are feeling your business flounder, frustrated by a lack of progress or an inability to step back from your business as it grows. The first segment, about establishing core values, can be a huge step in the right direction. And reading EOS can help you articulate larger issues behind smaller problems that you’ve addressed repeatedly.
A major element of the EOS is recognizing the right people in the right seats. This segment of the system can help you identify individuals within your organization that may be fantastic fits in terms of shared values but are struggling in jobs that are simply not great matches for their skill set. Alternatively, it can help identify individuals whose differing values are pulling your business away from your vision. This is not only essential for current employees, but for future hiring.
Another essential element concerns future planning. The shared vision and core values help you and your leadership team focus on shared goals during budgeting and financial planning. In the real-world examples that Wickman provides, this ends the interdepartmental competition for limited resources. Because everyone is pulling in the same direction, capital planning priorities become immediately clear to the entire leadership team. Increased accountability ensures that other departments know that capital will be invested wisely in other departments for the good of the whole company. As an accounting and financial partner to many businesses, we have seen these internal debates hold companies back from achieving any of their goals. And we can all benefit from united organizations.
This book review is part of a longer series highlighting recently released business books. To review the entire list and read along with FNG, LLC, click here.