The book Traction by Gino Wickman has become one of the most popular business books for entrepreneurs over the past five years. On Amazon, the book is still the #1 Best Seller in Production & Operations and the #14 Best Seller in Management with over 400 reviewers rating it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s for good reason: Gino Wickman has helped thousands of real entrepreneurs transform their businesses using the Entrepreneur Operating System®.
Wickman has a long track record as a successful entrepreneur and has dedicated his life to learning what makes businesses successful. At age 25, he took over a deeply indebted family business, turned it around, and successfully sold it. He developed the Entrepreneur Operating System® (EOS) as a practical method to help businesses succeed based on his experience and findings throughout years of running businesses and helping others succeed.
In the book, Wickman outlines the six core components of EOS® and how entrepreneurs can use them to run a profitable and frustration-free operation. This timeless advice applies to many different types of businesses across many growth stages. This article will take a look at some of the most important takeaways from the book and how entrepreneurs can implement them in their own businesses.Traction provides timeless advice that applies to many different types of businesses across many growth stages. Click To Tweet
Know Where You’re Going
Are you having a hard time managing your business’ growing complexity? Does it seem like the leadership team and employees aren’t on the same page?
Traction makes it clear that the same is true for companies. Most entrepreneurs have a specific vision for their organization, but they often don’t share it with everyone else. And without a well-defined vision, it’s easy for managers to work in different directions and employees to feel disengaged. Developing a clear vision helps everyone in an organization make better decisions and improves the odds of reaching a goal.
For example, non-profits have notoriously high employee engagement despite paying equally infamous low salaries. The simple reason is that employees buy into the organization’s vision and work tirelessly to make it a reality. Some for-profit companies have managed to cultivate the same level of engagement. For example, Elon Musk’s SpaceX set the ambitious goal of sending people to Mars and every employee is acutely focused on that vision.
The first step in defining your vision is getting the information out of your head and onto paper in the form of a vision or mission statement. Next, set some specific short-term and long-term milestones to take the vision from an abstract concept to a reality. And finally, share the vision with everyone in the company and ensure that everyone buys into the vision and understands how to get there. It’s equally important to ensure new employees do the same.
Measure Your Progress
Is your business struggling to manage people? Do you find accountability and discipline painful or difficult to implement?
The Partners in Leadership® Workplace Accountability Study found that only 15% of organizations effectively hold employees accountable, which can result in widespread confusion, organizational underperformance, and a failure to meet objectives. At the same time, the vast majority of those organizations ranked accountability as one of the top improvements that they would like to see in their organization.
Traction highlights the importance of ensuring that the right people are in the right seats. In other words, everyone in the organization should share the same core values and each person should be operating in his or her optimal place in the company. Leaders should have well-defined roles and responsibilities for each person in the organization, while being flexible enough to eliminate or change any positions that are no longer needed or relevant.
Once everyone is in the right seat, leaders should ensure that everyone fully understands their responsibilities and are held accountable to them. Everyone should have a number to guide them in their work and serve as a communication tool between leaders, managers, and employees. These numbers can then be compiled into a dashboard or ‘scorecard’ that can be used to assess the health of the company on a higher level.
Streamline Your Operations
Do you feel your business has spiraled out of control? Is the business running you instead of the other way around?
Imagine that you and a group of friends decide to randomly compete in a crewing competition without any prior experience. You would probably be hard-pressed to move the boat in a straight line and quickly grow frustrated. By comparison, the professional competition would have a well-defined system with a leader calling out commands and everyone on the team executing the right stroke with the right breathing techniques.
Companies without a system in place tend to run into the same problem as inexperienced rowers – they quickly grow tired and frustrated. Traction underscores the importance of running your business on an operating system to streamline everything. While running a business may be simple with a single founder and a few employees, communication tends to break down when an organization becomes larger and more complex.
There are many different operating systems that businesses can use, but Gino Wickman’s Entrepreneur Operating System® – or EOS – is a popular option. The EOS Model™ is an operating system with six components: Vision, people, data, issues, process, and Traction®. The EOS Toolbox™ provides a complete set of practical tools that can be used to strengthen the six components of the business and ensure everything is running smoothly.
You should carefully evaluate the many different operating systems available and select a methodology that works well for you. Having an operating system in place can help you regain control over your business and effectively delegate tasks and hold employees accountable.
Where to Go from Here?
Gino Wickman’s Traction is a great introduction to the Entrepreneur Operating System®, which helps entrepreneurs define where they’re going, measure their progress, and streamline their operations. Rather than just presenting high level ideas, the book dives into specific strategies and provides valuable tools that can help in the process. Many entrepreneurs find this to be an excellent introduction to the EOS® way of doing things.
Those looking to go deeper into EOS® may want to consider hiring an EOS® Implementer. These are professional facilitators that specialize in helping companies put EOS® to work in their organizations. Often times, an external consultant can be invaluable when mitigating internal conflicts and enforcing accountability. Implementers can also help fine-tune the EOS® system to work with specific situations, since no two businesses are the same.
Trajectory’s Matt Goldberg is an experienced guide who has transformed and built companies for over 20 years and taught over 75 businesses the most important principles of growth. With the experienced guidance of someone who’s been there, done that, and walked countless miles in entrepreneurs’ shoes, we are uniquely qualified to help companies of all sizes multiple the impact of EOS® exponentially and from the inside out.
Schedule a free 30 minutes consultation to learn more about how Trajectory can help your business succeed using the timeless principles outlined in Traction.