Get Traction: EOS Expert to Keynote Annual Conference
Mike Paton, the best-selling co-author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business and a well-known practitioner of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), will address TRSA’s Oct. 19-21 Annual Conference in Carlsbad, CA, on Oct. 20. To offer attendees and prospects a taste of what they’ll hear in Carlsbad, we put a few questions to Paton regarding EOS and how it helps companies achieve stable growth.
But first, for those unfamiliar with EOS, suffice to say it’s a simple, proven business operating system that can help your organization clarify and achieve its goals. EOS provides a simple visual model in the form of its Six Key Components (Vision, Data, Process, Traction [projects, meetings], Issues and People). Paton says that each of these components must be managed and strengthened to succeed in business. With that in mind, we asked him:
While these Key Components are important goals, they require business leaders to work “on” their business instead of “in” it. With COVID stress, labor shortages and more, how can a company find time for EOS?
Well, I’ve had the benefit of living through both the financial meltdown of 2008-’09 and now COVID and the response to COVID. What I would say is demand for EOS implementation increased dramatically as we were coming out of both crises. And that’s not because we were marketing more. What a crisis has a tendency to do is shake you to your core in a way where you realize the importance of having a clear vision, being aligned around that vision, aligning around priorities, etc. So, I could just give you my real-world experience, which is to say, in response to crises, demand for a system like EOS seems to increase dramatically, which tells me that the importance of such a system is even higher in crisis than it is in good times.
EOS emphasizes the need for “focus, accountability and alignment” – Why can’t companies do that on their own?
What I find is that if you’ve already got a way of doing all that stuff on your team, you don’t need anything else. When you don’t have a way of doing that in your organization, then you need a program, or you’ll benefit from a program. And what EOS does is deliver a simple set of tools that gets you all of that, so that you and your leadership team don’t have to argue with each other, not only about what you’re going to go do, but how you’re going to do it, how you’re going to measure success, etc. It eliminates one category of stuff that people need to debate about before they get on the same page.
How can EOS help companies that are pursuing mergers and acquisitions?
I’ve had another number of clients merge their businesses, and I’ve had a number of clients aggressively acquire other businesses to grow faster than they’re able to grow organically. And I would say the two primary benefits are clarity around what the company’s core focus is. So, in EOS, when we’re answering the “A” questions on the vision-traction organizer (VTO), one of the questions is, what’s our company’s core focus? What do we love to do and are best at? And when a company is able to clearly articulate those things, and that becomes the sweet spot for the organization, it becomes easier to identify organizations that might make sense from an acquisition standpoint because they share a similar core focus.
How does the EOS “People Analyzer” help you find candidates who “get it,” “want it” and “can do it”?
Given how hard it is to find and keep people in today’s tough job market, do you alter the approach? What I would say is my clients who are winning the talent war are winning because they view finding and keeping people the same way, most entrepreneurs view finding, winning and retaining business from customers. They view it as kind of their “secret sauce,” that if they can articulate what an ideal employee looks and feels like, and they can make sure every aspect of their people process … how we describe the position, post for the position, interview potential candidates, screen the top candidates, onboard people, train and develop people, provide performance feedback … if we can do all of those things in a way that’s designed to attract and retain people with the right core values and skill sets, then it becomes a lot easier to answer the question all employees are asking right now, which is why should I work for you instead of somebody else or myself?
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