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This blog post, by my mentor Ed Callahan, was prompted by a December 2015 blog post from Seth Godin tucked away for inspiration, called, “Is it too little butter, or too much bread?” Here is the gist. When is the last time you complained about having too many resources in your business? Too many engineers, too many clients, too much revenue?

Let me guess. The answer is probably never. It is always the opposite. The engineering plan for this year to too expansive – we don’t have enough…fill in the blank – time, money, people. And so on.

I love Seth’s accusation – he probably wouldn’t use that word – that “spreading our butter too thin is a form of hiding. It helps us be busy...

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Written by Connie Chwan on December 8, 2016

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When working with our leadership teams, we spend a lot of time strengthening the People Component of their business. We work on the two disciplines: getting the Right People into the Right Seats on the Accountability Chart™. You must have both – Right People and Right Seats.

I have helped a number of leadership teams make the difficult people decision when they determine one of their employees is either the wrong person or in the wrong seat. Our approach to this issue is the Three Strike Rule.

The Three Strike Rule for Your Employees

By way of example, let’s say one of your employees is not the Right Person, but they are in the Right Seat. They are amazingly productive in their seat, but when you completed the People Analyzer™, you determined they did not exhibit three of your five Core Values. It is time to have a discussion with that individual.

You schedule the first of three meetings and explain exactly why the person does not fit the organization’s culture. I always recommend you provide no less than three examples of what’s not working, help the individual develop a corrective plan of action, and set a deadline for correcting the problem.

If the problem remains in place at the deadline, it is time for a second meeting and a written warning, followed by a new deadline for resolving the issue. A third meeting means it is time to terminate the employee.

Many times the individual will resign somewhere between the first and second meeting; they recognize they aren’t the right person for your company and will avoid the embarrassment of being terminated.

These are difficult decisions to make. However, you owe it to the organization, the individual, and the entire team. Your EOS® Implementer can help you plan the discussion.

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THE OPPORTUNITIES BEFORE US

By John Steven Montero

The white men who came to America were running from the lack of opportunity and the constraints of old, entrenched beliefs in Europe. The continual debates, often leading to wars, over theological and philosophical beliefs, and political and economic power. When they declared independence from the prevailing empires of the age, they did not know how significant their actions were.

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Little did they realize that the actions of their 13 colonies would result in the largest mass genocide in the history of the human race on the way to becoming the beacon on the hill for freedom and democracy. De Tocqueville foresaw the consequences of the launching of the arrow of freedom when he wrote: “The more I advanced in the study of American society, the more I perceived that the equality of conditions is the fundamental fact from which all others seem to be derived…” (Tocqueville, Alexis De (2007-06-13). Democracy in America, Volume I and II (Optimized for Kindle) (Kindle Locations 700-701). . Kindle Edition.)

Looking back over the 180 years since De Tocqueville observed this fundamental fact of American democracy, we can see the successive movements calling for the equality of conditions: from slave to free, from disenfranchised social conditions for “colored people” to legislation creating equality for african americans, from the limited possibilities for women to the results of the feminist movement, and from the closeted life of gay, lesbian, and transgendered people to their social and legal recognition today–through all these struggles, we can see the thread of the cry for equality of conditions.

We see the same today in the calls for attention to the gap between the majority and the wealthiest Americans. The cry is not against the wealth itself, but against the inequality of conditions that lead to an inordinate amount of power and influence by the wealthiest.

The public conversation about equality of conditions is most evident in the current political controversies. At the same time, there is a quieter conversation in the conference rooms of small and medium-sized businesses in America. These businesses create the most new jobs, produce the largest amount of GDP, and are the engine of the national economy. Small Businesses (less than 500 employees) create 40% to 50% of the new jobs every year.

What if we could grow small businesses by 10% to 15% in the next year? What if we could increase the productivity of the existing employees by 25%? What if all those businesses hitting the ceiling learned how to get beyond the inevitable experience of overwhelm, limitation, and stagnation. The Entrepreneurial Operating Systems® provides small businesses with insights, techniques, and disciplines to align everyone in the organization with the common vision. See more at www.traction-guide.com.

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our company vision includes a clear articulation of the company’s core values. Knowing the company’s core values is a significant element in sustaining a highly motivated workforce. People will come to work for a company if they believe they can achieve their personal goals. They will stay with a company when they agree with the vision and the values behind the decisions the company makes in serving both the company’s customers and its employees.

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Vision: Core Values Shared by All

When the values a company demonstrates in its day-to-day decision-making conflicts with the employee’s values, the employee will eventually leave. At EOS®, we say an employee “Gets it” when they understand, agree with, and support the company’s core values. That’s why it is important to articulate and share the company’s core values. People want to know what a company stands for and how it goes about making decisions. Building a company culture on the declared values a company has is one of the best ways to attract, recruit, and retain great employees.

But a company’s vision statement is more than the core values. It is also a clear statement from the senior management team about the purpose for the company and the major goals (like a 10-year goal). When everyone knows the goals, everyone can work toward them. Without knowing these commitments clearly, employees, and sometimes senior managers themselves, can pursue individual goals that do not contribute to the company’s overall direction and purpose. Getting everyone rowing in the same direction can make a major change in the energy and achievements of many companies. It is not easy to create this focused consistency of purpose. Sharing clearly articulated goals with everyone in the company is a powerful step on the road to getting all the oars moving in unison in the same direction.

Vision: Core Focus

The central concept of a core focus has been given many names over time, including “mission statement,” “vision statement,” “core business,” “sweet spot,” “the zone,” and “the ball” (as in “keep your eye on the”). In his book The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey calls it “voice.” Dan Sullivan calls it Unique Ability®. And in Good to Great, Jim Collins calls it “the hedgehog concept.” I call it core focus because it should come from your company’s core and you must stay laser-focused on it.

When business owners get bored, there is always the potential for them to get distracted by the shiny stuff and inadvertently sabotage what they’ve created. Fading passion and losing sight of why you’re in business are other pitfalls that could lead to the same fate. Defining your core focus will return you to your original levels of clarity and excitement.

Vision: 10-Year Target™

One common thread unites successful people and successful companies. All of them have a habit of setting and achieving goals. That’s why I am consistently amazed by the number of entrepreneurs who can’t tell me what their number one goal is. To me, they’re like rudderless ships. How do you know if you’re heading in the right direction if you don’t know which direction you’re meant to go? As Yogi Berra said, “You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you are going, ’cause you might not get there. ”

That one of the main differences between a 10-year target™ and any shorter one you might set. This is the one larger-than-life goal that everyone is working toward, the thing that gives everyone in the organization a long-range direction. Once your 10-year target™ is clear, you and your leadership team will start doing things differently in the here and now so as to get you there.

The reason this particular target’s time frame is 10 years is that 90 percent of EOS® clients have selected it in the past. Some preferred a five-year time frame, while others went as high as 20 years. The length is entirely up to you.

Vision: Marketing Strategy

The intent of this section is to create a laser-sharp focus for your sales and marketing efforts. Many companies waste thousands of dollars on consultancy fees, inconsistent marketing messages, printing, and time, all because they failed to establish a clear strategy from the outset. A focused effort will enable you to sell and close more of the right business. It will become the foundation upon which you create all future materials, plans, messages and advertising.

This enables you to be different and stand out to your ideal customer. All of your people will have clear direction on who your ideal customer is, what you’re supposed to be doing for them, and how you will do it. Ultimately, you will know which customers you should and should not be doing business with. That means you can stop trying to be all things to all people.

Have you examined the marketing strategy the company is using to generate new business? Digital age markets change continuously. Regularly taking the time to assess the efficacy of the strategy the company uses to generate new business can make a major impact on the health of the top line sales numbers as well as the bottom line results. Sharing the marketing strategy with the entire company increases everyone’s creative contributions.

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Written by Connie Chwan on February 2, 2017

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Making decisions as you and your Leadership Team work on your business is a thoughtful process. And during that process, doubts most likely creep into your thinking periodically.

Doubts are those nagging feelings of uncertainty, where you may question a belief or hesitate to take action. Doubts generally make us uncomfortable. They leave us feeling anxious. After all, we’re entrepreneurs, leaders, managers – we’re supposed to be decisive and have all the answers at our fingertips. Right?

The Good News About Doubt

Well, maybe not. Consider this. Doubts arise because we are being thoughtful. We’re contemplating the various paths that will solve a company issue. We’re evaluating new ideas, opportunities, and customer requests to see if they fit our Core Focus™. We’re thinking about our priorities for the next quarter; determining which ones deserve our attention and focused effort as Rocks.

So the next time you realize doubts are part of your thought process, revel in them – don’t try to ignore them or set them aside. Each doubt has a purpose, and if you chew on it for a bit, you’ll find the way to the best possible decision. Being thoughtful is a journey, and the journey never ends.

Using EOS® in the Midst of Doubt

Implementing EOS® into your company is also a journey. It’s your marathon-training plan that takes time, dedication and commitment in order to succeed. As with any new initiative, you may experience doubts along the way – in your team, in your business or even with your own abilities. But when you put your faith in the EOS® Method, you get the framework and stability you need to eliminate that doubt.

In Gino Wickman’s book Traction®, he thoroughly explains EOS’s Six Key Components™ and how they work together to move businesses forward. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about EOS® and how it could benefit your business. Also download Gino Wickman’s ebook Decide! and discover how to make better business decisions.

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Written by Preston True on January 30, 2017

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Data is key to getting things done. But data is just an indicator, not an objective. It’s our use of data that truly drives results.

“Expert” may be a level of status for which we strive, but many “experts” have a gift for complicating things. Take a recent client conversation, for example.

One team member positioned himself as an expert in data. He created a list of the top 37 data points he felt the company needed to measure. When asked for the weekly goal of each metric, the data expert shared two reasons weekly goals were very difficult to define:

  • Much of the data was very difficult to access

  • The weekly goal would likely change based on several factors

This client has struggled for months to understand what the health of their business was each week.

How to Use Data to Understand Your Business

“Genius” is breaking down the complex to the essential and presenting it in a simple way. Another client conversation went like this:

  • None of us are data experts, but we need to measure the health of our business

  • There are only five numbers we need to track on a weekly basis

  • We must set a weekly goal that won’t change because we do or don’t meet that goal

  • The second group knows exactly what the health of their business is and adjusts behavior regularly to ensure their health.

What’s the distinction between these two examples? There may be many, but two jump out immediately:

  • Group 2 used numbers that fit the context of their business

  • Group 2 was willing to be accountable for the behavior that drives their data

How does this play out in the real world? Let’s break down those ideas using a few examples.

Putting Data in Context

Write down the following number: 12,482,199,435. Now throw out the paper upon which you wrote that number. From memory, recite that number. How’d it go? Likely not well. It’s a totally valid number, but it has no context when presented as just a number.

Write down this number: 1-248-219-9435. Now throw out the paper upon which you wrote that number. From memory, recite that number. It likely went better than the previous number for one reason: context.

It’s the exact same number, but it’s presented in a different context—that of a phone number (mine, to be exact). Context is decisive and critical to simplifying everything in your business.

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Written by Ed Callahan on January 26, 2017

The video below offers brilliant words of wisdom attributed to Warren Buffett as career advice to his personal airline pilot, Mike Flint. I have read this story before. This gentleman, self-described creativity expert James Taylor, offers it as advice for creatives.

I offer it as advice for business owners and leaders. It syncs really well with the precepts of EOS®, which all support the idea that Less Is More. Focus on the most important goals for your business, your department, your personal life – this quarter, this year, always.

Maintain Your Company’s Core Focus

We challenge business owners to write down their Core Focus, answering two questions:

Why do they do what they do?What ...

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Written by Hank O’Donnell on January 19, 2017

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Are you a recovering Visionary? You know the type – lots of big ideas, always inventing something new, a little light on the focusing, heavy on the creating, worried about the company culture, and incredibly impatient. I’m a recovering Visionary, myself.

Visionaries can clearly see a future. Our problem is that we keep changing it, and that can get in the way of our success as leaders. It’s rooted in what I call the “Free to Be Me” syndrome of Visionary leaders.

Is Your Visionary Leadership Getting in the Way?

“Free to Be Me” Syndrome is how I describe the implicit permission Visionaries give themselves to showcase to the world their glorious, naturally-gifted selves. Symptoms I experienced as a Visionary included meetings where I did most of the talking, leadership team executives who only approached me on my “good days,” and frequent accusations that I wasn’t a good listener. Perhaps these resonate with you.

In combating this syndrome, I’ve discovered a little bit of self-awareness can go a very long way.

Are you suffering from the Free to Be Me Syndrome? Here’s a self-diagnosis checklist – and the cures.

Symptom 1: You do all the talking

When you run meetings, you find that everyone else is sitting in silence. If you’re frustrated by your team’s lack of participation, consider how you may be contributing to their reluctance to speak up.

Antidote: Practice W.A.I.T.—Why Am I Talking? A flow-of-consciousness sprinkled with a few sparkling insights does not qualify as high-impact communication. Make sure you think before speaking, practice that long-neglected executive gift of brevity, and give folks time to digest your thoughts. Less is more.

Symptom 2: Your team does a “weather report” on your emotional mood

Before addressing tough issues with you, your team will circle the office assessing your emotional state – they’ll say things like, “it’s not a good day to approach the boss” or, “I’ll wait until he’s in a better mood.”

Antidote: As a leader, you don’t have the luxury of “spilling” your emotions. Consciously manage your emotional wake. Just like an ocean liner leaves a frothy wake in its past, you as a leader leave an emotional wake after each conversation. What do you want it to be? Positive and challenging, or pessimistic and demotivating? You choose.

Symptom 3: There are frequent gripes that you’re not listening

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Written by Kurt Schneiber on December 29, 2016

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I love to eat oranges. And that’s why I never think twice about buying them by the bagful. Just a few weeks ago I picked up another bag of fresh oranges. Upon getting home, I quickly downed a couple and threw the remaining bag into the pantry.

The next morning I kissed my wife goodbye, drove to the airport and left on a four-day business trip. When I returned, I opened the pantry door and was hit with the overwhelming stench of mold. I wondered, “What the heck is moldy? Is it bread? What’s in here?” Picking up the bag of oranges, I noticed that most had turned a sickening shade of green. I quickly closed the bag up and threw them away.

Apparently, an orange in the bottom of the bag had already been moldy, and I had mistakenly left it there. In a few days, the mold spread from one orange to the next like a virulent disease.

How Mold Can Infect Your Business

I’ve noticed over the years that this same offensive transformation can happen with people, too. For instance, if you have an employee who’s not performing up to your expectations or not reflecting your company’s values, he or she can negatively affect other employees.

To be sure, colleagues may witness that this employee is not living the company’s culture and think, “I’m living the culture; I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Why doesn’t he have to? She’s getting paid the same as me, so why should I work hard?”

Over time, this thinking spreads through your business like mold on oranges, infecting everyone. Productivity slips, revenue per employee slips, and soon you have an underperforming, unproductive organization. I have witnessed some companies devolve so quickly from this affliction, they almost go out of business. The entire business turns “moldy.”

This plunge can happen because the leadership tolerated the nonconforming person. In other words, they weren’t willing to make the tough call to throw that rotten orange out of the bag. You must let underperforming people go sooner rather than later, so as not to impact your business negatively in the long-term.

Preventing Mold By Protecting Culture

What can you do to prevent mold from growing on your company?

First, you have to live and breathe your culture, your core values, at all levels of the organization. If someone isn’t living your culture, you have to call him out, regardless of how strong that person might be in a job.

Secondly, you have to evaluate how well someone fits his seat. Does each person get it? Does he want it? Does he have the capacity to do his job?

How to Analyze and Measure Fit with the Culture

Companies that use EOS® leverage a tool called GWC™. Having every person in the right seat is essential to being a great organization and GWC enables you to make those proper placements. GWC stands for Get it (understands all of the ins and outs and requirements of the job), Want it (believes and behaves as if the job is meant for him or her), and Capacity to do it (the time, energy, intellect, reach, curiosity, etc.). These are the three indicators that tell you if a person is operating within his or her real skill set.

To ensure that your people truly fit your Core Values, the People Analyzer™ will help you cut through the complexity. The People Analyzer uses a system of pluses and minuses to rate compliance to your core values. For example, if one of your values is to act with integrity, you would evaluate your team members like this:

+ He/she exhibits the core value most of the time.
+/– He/she displays the core value some of the time.
– He/she doesn’t exhibit the core value most of the time.

Each company will need to establish a bar over which employees must persist to travel on this journey. For example, a company with five core values will likely have a bar of three +s and two +/–s … but no –s.

Be decisive if you find you have a people issue. That’s when you employ the three-strike rule.

Strike one: Meet with the person and share at least three specific examples of where he is underperforming in his role or not reflecting your values. Note that no minuses can be accepted or tolerated. You must get an unequivocal yes on each of G, W, and C. Meet again in three to four weeks to discuss your progress.

Strike two: In your next meeting, review progress. If your employee is above the bar, great! Most people step up when issued a challenge to improve. A small percentage will still struggle.

If you’ve done your strike one and strike two meetings well, one of two things happens before strike three, letting him go:

He steps it up and stays above the bar.
He leaves the company because he knows what’s coming and doesn’t want to get fired.

Keeping Moldy Oranges Out of Your Company

Think of these tools—the GWC, the People Analyzer, and the three-strike rule—as techniques for keeping your business free of moldy oranges. Remember, it only takes one moldy specimen to infect your entire organization.

Next Steps

  • Start solving company issues early and quickly! Download free EOS tools.

  • Download a free chapter of Traction, the book that explains EOS in detail.

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A GREAT HABIT IS HARD TO BREAK

By Rajalakshmi.M_CML

Written by Rene Boer on December 26, 2016

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After a client’s recent EOS session, an owner of the company made a comment about the importance of repetition in mastering a skill. Specifically, he was talking about the weekly Level 10 meeting and, after just six meetings, how much better his team was becoming at identifying, discussing and solving issues, getting things done, improving communication and team health. He told his team, “Imagine how much better we’ll be after 52 weekly Level 10 meetings?”

Good Habits Yield Great Results

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell challenges the impact that intelligence plays in determining success and points to repetition – putting in the hours necessary to succeed. He mentions the “ten-thousand-hour rule” … that it takes about 10,000 hours of doing something to truly master it. He retells a well-known story behind the Beatles “sudden” success. By the time they played the Ed Sullivan show, they had completed 1200 live performances. In Hamburg, Germany, they played 270 nights during an 18-month stretch, often playing 8 hours per night – talk about “A Hard Day’s Night!”

Gladwell also points out that the child prodigy Mozart, who began writing music when he was six, developed late in life, producing his greatest works after he’d been composing for over 20 years. To become a chess grandmaster takes about 10 years. To become expert at anything requires about 10,000 hours of practice.

So, whether you aspire to be a chess grandmaster, an elite athlete, an artist, a welder, a baker, a chef, or a successful entrepreneur and business owner, you must develop great habits and repeat them often. Combine repetition with a pursuit of what you truly love doing and you’re on your way towards mastery. And, the longer you repeat great habits, the harder they are to break.

Next Steps

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Working in California

willcrist@globalmarc.com
949.355.6013

@willcrist

Will Crist on LinkedIn

For 25 years, I have helped organizations get clear about their vision, agree on the path, and progress toward achievement of their goals. I use the EOS® tools to bring clarity of vision, traction® to progress, and maintain healthy relationships in the organization.

 

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