We have referenced Traction®, by Gino Wickman, quite a bit in the past so today we are focusing on this tool and how it can help your business run more smoothly, improve efficiency, and gain traction to achieve your vision! Traction is part of the EOS®, or Entrepreneurial Operating System. To ensure we’ve got all the facts straight, we’ve invited CJ DuBe’, a Certified EOS Implementer, and the Global Community Leader at EOS Worldwide®, on the show to talk to us about leveraging Traction. We cover quite a bit of information in this episode, so please reference the free tools provided or Traction itself for more!
What we cover in this episode:
- 01:31 – Introduction to CJ DuBe’
- 02:40 – The value of EOS®
- 05:25 – EOS and strengthening The Six Key Components of Your Business™
- 07:56 – Vision component
- 11:53 – People component
- 12:27 – Data component
- 17:27 – Issues component
- 19:37 – Process component
- 21:34 – Traction component
Introduction to CJ DuBe’
CJ DuBe’ has always been an entrepreneur. With more than 25 years of experience, she knows a lot about business and people. As a Certified EOS Implementer, and the Global Community Leader at EOS Worldwide®, she has helped over 110 entrepreneurial companies and their leadership teams gain traction and achieve their vision, by implementing EOS in their businesses. EOS offers practical tools and simple concepts for leaders to master in order to help their business function well and grow to its fullest potential.
The value of EOS®
Traction focuses on EOS, or the Entrepreneurial Operating System. According to EOS Worldwide, EOS is “a complete set of simple concepts and practical tools that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs get what they want from their businesses.” By implementing EOS, businesses and leadership teams see improvement in three things: vision, traction, and health. These three things align with our culture at PJS & Co. CPAs, which is a large factor in why we decided to begin using the tools from Traction in our own organization and have been happy to share them with others.
EOS focuses on vision from the perspective of getting everyone 100 percent on the same page, moving in the same direction. This means defining not only where you’re going, but how you’re going to get there. Then, it focuses on traction, which is really the execution within your organization. Last, but not least, is the focus on being a healthy, cohesive leadership team who works together for the greater good of the business. This is usually the hardest part. There can be a bit of resistance to getting every member of the leadership team on the same page because it is normal for everyone to have a little variation of what the vision means. Once everyone is on the same page, they can then take the vision to all of the employees in their business.
Early on, when we were learning and implementing EOS at PJS & Co., we identified one of the benefits of doing this was the fact that we were able to gain clarity surrounding our goals and what we are trying to achieve. We all knew in a general sense, but EOS led us to have them on paper in a concise way. When everyone knows where you want to go as a company, you can all push in the same direction and make much more progress together.
EOS and strengthening The Six Key Components of Your Business™
The EOS model is made up of six key components. Each key component contains two tools, which we cover in greater detail below. At a high-level glance the six key components are:
Vision – Get everyone a hundred percent on the same page and heading the same direction.
People – Get great people in your organization.
Data – Remove the subjective to analyze hard data.
Issues – Get things out of your head and move toward a solution.
Processes – Get everyone doing things the same way.
Traction – Execute, get results, and make things happen.
According to CJ, “the first tool with the visual component is what we call ‘the eight questions.’” The official name of the tool is the Vision Traction Organizer (VTO).
The first five questions relate to vision within the VTO.
What are your core values?
This is a list of 5-7 characteristics that describe your business. Everyone should be on the same page and understand what those values mean.
What is your core focus?
Core focus is really defining your business sweet spot, what you do better than anyone else, aligning with your passion, and figuring out your niche.
What is your 10-year target?
This is your big, long-range goal. It’s anywhere from five to 30 years. Identify that goal and decide what’s the one big thing you want.
What is your marketing strategy?
This is a simplified approach to marketing. You’re answering several questions within this section. What is your target market? What are three uniques/differentiators that set you apart from your competition? Do you have a proven process for doing business?
Do you have a guarantee? Some businesses have a guarantee and some businesses don’t. For example, FedEx guarantees your package by 10 AM the next day. Establish whether or not this is required for your business.
What is your three-year picture?
Get things out of your head and onto paper. This is a short amount of time. Where are you going? How are you going to get there?
The final three questions focus on the traction piece and hone in on your one-year plan.
What is your one-year plan?
What do you want your revenue to be in 12 months? What do you want your profit to be? Then what are you measuring? What are the one to two key measurables you’re going to have? What are the three to seven most important goals for the year? Identifying what those goals are as a leadership team, being on the same page, ensuring that you’re writing them in specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely ways. Another way of saying this is by asking, as clearly as possible, what does ‘done’ look like?
What are your quarterly Rocks?
The term Rocks comes from Steve Covey’s book, First Things First, which is really talking about living your business 90 days at a time. First, thinking through your goals for the year and then living your business in a 90 day world. Again, narrowing it down to the three to seven things you want to get done in a quarter. What are the three to seven most important things you want to get done?
What are your issues?
List your issues on paper so you know what you’re going to tackle and how you’re going to solve it to move it forward.
CJ then shared, “The second tool in the vision component is what we call ‘shared by all,’ where everyone is going in the same direction and everyone knows all the answers to all the questions.” The vision components are a tremendous part of what makes up EOS.
CJ stated, “One survey from all of our clients asked what the most important component was and 82 percent answered the people component.” CJ went on to explain, “That’s partly because frustration comes from all people – employees, leadership team members, owners, vendors, clients. With your company, you should want to be able to get the right people in the right seat. There’s a couple of exercises that we do to get the right people and that ties directly back to core values.”
A tool known as the accountability chart helps you identify the right accountability and the right seats for your business. The structure should come first and people come second. Your accountability chart is like an org chart on steroids and is crucial to finalize before you begin filling the seats. This can avoid creating seats for someone who may not be a fit for your organization either based on skills or timing.
The ability to assign and delegate to people is also important for growth. In Traction, Gino shares a story from the book, The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey, by Ken Blanchard. This monkey story resonates with many business owners because it illustrates problems as monkeys that your employees may bring to you. With each problem (or monkey) that you take back, soon you have a room full of monkeys that were never yours but got passed off on you. CJ shared with us that when she teaches leadership, management and accountability, the equation is leadership plus management equals accountability. For leaders, the main takeaway from this story is, when employees come in with a problem, make sure they leave with the problem still being their responsibility. Don’t allow the employee to pass the problem to you. One good technique to do this is to ask your employee what the issue is and how they think they should solve it. Get ideas from them and talk with them to determine what the solution could look like, and then guide them back out your door… with their monkey.
Next is the data component. The tool that allows you to focus on, and consistently track, data is called a scorecard. A scorecard is a culmination of your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and allows you to see 13 weeks at a glance. We come back to that 90 day world focusing on what you are measuring, who owns that measurable, deciding the goal for that measurable, and measuring it every week. Then, look at it 13 weeks at a glance so you can see the trends that are happening in your business.
This data component is very helpful because you can’t argue with the numbers. Intentionally reviewing this data every week and analyzing trends will allow you to see weaknesses and opportunities more easily. This helps with accountability as well because every role will have an assigned number that they own and should be able to provide more insight about that information.
After you have your vision component, people component, and have compiled your data component, that’s when issues may start to bubble to the surface and you can start solving problems. The first tool is the issue solving track. It is laser-focused on building the list of problems that need to be addressed. First, all of the issues need to come out of your head and go onto a list. Then, it’s time for the second tool. This is where you identify, discuss, and solve (IDS) the issues.
Identify – Don’t focus on the issue by looking at the surface; get to the root cause of the issue.
Discuss – Ask clarifying questions, make sure you’re on the same page, discuss options for how to solve the problem.
Solve – Determine what the solution is for that issue. The solution could be something you say or do today, which solves the issue permanently or could be more long-term.
If you are at this point in the IDS process and get stuck, you may want to go back and listen to episode #64 where we covered how to overcome fear of making business mistakes and/or episode #32 where we shared how to take action in your business during difficult times.
The process component is the fifth key component and is where you identify your core processes and get everyone on the same page. If everyone is doing things their own way, your business will lack consistency and struggle in many areas. The first part of this component is to identify your core processes, document and simplify them. The second part of the tool is to ensure those processes are followed by everyone. This component can give much more structure to your business and help give direction.
The tools within the traction component are “Rocks” and the meeting pulse. “Rocks” are your 5-7 quarterly goals. The meeting pulse is where the “Level 10 Meeting” is introduced. CJ shared, “I always tell every team I meet with, if you only pick one tool, pick the level 10 meeting because the level 10 meeting is about keeping your circles connected and keeping everybody on the same page together.”
The Level 10 meeting is where you’ve got five rules to a meeting. Those rules are, the meeting takes place on the same day, at the same time, the meeting will start on time, the meeting will end on time, and the meeting will have the same agenda. For a leadership team, this meeting is usually every week for 90 minutes where everyone is laser-focused.
An overview of the agenda for a weekly Level 10 Meeting looks like this:
- Segue – Everyone gets grounded and asks questions like, “What’s your personal best? What’s your professional best together?”
- Rock review
- Customer/employee headlines
- To-do list
We cover the Level 10 Meeting in further detail and how we conduct our meetings in Episode #70 of the Cultivating Business Growth Podcast.
Today’s episode was jam-packed with a vast amount of information to help you grow your business. So much information was presented that you may need to listen to this again! The intentional integration of these tools can help your business move forward toward goals with fewer distractions. Your larger vision is important to refer to often, but when you’re in the day-to-day, focus on the 90 day world, 90 days at a time, and remember not to overwhelm yourselves. We are all human and can do great work together when you have the right tools and leadership team. As Gino Wickman would say, “Vision without traction is hallucination.”
We thank CJ DuBe’ for sharing her expertise with us on today’s episode, as well as many free resources available to our listeners! She is also available for more support (reach out via email) or if you’re interested in integrating these tools into your organization. Here are the tools mentioned for additional support:
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Traction® by Gino Wickman
- EOS Worldwide®
- First Things First by Steven Covey
- The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey, by Ken Blanchard
- EOS Toolbox™
- Traction Library
- Episode #01: Strategic Planning – Vision & Long Term Business Goals
- Episode #32: How To Take Action In Your Business During Difficult Times
- Episode #64: How To Overcome Fear Of Making Business Mistakes