Beware of Sharks

During my clients’ journeys Running on EOS™, I see many become incredibly skilled at handling their day-to-day issues. Unfortunately, some issues lurk, hidden from even the best of us. Like sharks in the water, they swim undetected and out of sight – until they bite. I recommend my clients beware of sharks and use their two-day annual planning session to conquer them.

Annual Planning Meeting Opportunity

Recent years have taught us about the importance of building business resiliency. It starts by thinking about potential risks and prioritizing those that could affect the business the most. From there, we can take proactive steps to mitigate those risks. 

During annual planning sessions with my clients, we do an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). We use this analysis to shine a light on issues lurking in the depths. We label business risk “sharks” as either a weakness or a threat.

Usual Suspects

Over the years, I’ve found that my clients’ key business risks tend to fall into a handful of categories. 

  1. Concentration

Has the company created a system of single points of failure? Do they depend on one or a small number of customers or technology without backups? For example, they may rely on owners and key employees with proprietary knowledge or relationships to conduct business.

Solution: Use The Accountability Chart™ and Delegate and Elevate™ tools to identify any cross-training or delegation that needs to occur.

  1. Supply Chain

We’ve all heard about the ongoing global supply chain issues. Business leaders should consider which critical materials or services they need for continuing operations. If the supply chain breaks down, are backup options available? 

Solution: Consider potential redundancy in vendors or additional storage for emergency inventory.

  1. Employment

Vacant jobs hurt productivity and increase business costs. Losing employees drains morale and historical knowledge, while onboarding new people costs money. Does the business have a perpetual recruitment process or a reliable source of labor to replace employees who leave?

Solution: Review recruiting, onboarding, and engagement practices to minimize attrition.

  1. Strategy (Core Focus)

Business leaders should consider what could make their product or service obsolete. It could be automation, new competitors, or any number of things. How strong is the value proposition? Is the current marketing strategy still effective enough to keep or grow market share?

Solution: Always stay abreast of industry trends and best practices. 

  1. External Factors

A business leader may have no control over some factors (e.g., weather, health, or economic cycles). However, leaders can plan for any that seem more likely in the near term.

Solution: Use outcomes of SWOT analysis to avoid or mitigate as many likely weaknesses or threats as feasible. 

  1. Leverage

When an economic downturn looms on the horizon, business owners instinctively want to tighten budgets. First, they need to determine whether the business’s debt is sustainable in the event of a downturn. 

Solution: Explore options for taking on additional loans or raising new capital.

  1. Capacity

Optimism about the future can sometimes lead to an outsized increase in costs. For example, increasing capacity in people, infrastructure, equipment, and inventory can quickly increase costs and impact profit margins.

Solution: Ask yourself if you’ve modeled both the upside and the downside.

Anchor of The Meeting Pulse™

Make your annual planning session the anchor of your Meeting Pulse. There, your team can celebrate past successes while having the time and space to consider the future. 

By taking time to work “on the business,” your team can identify sharks that might be showstoppers for the organization.

I like to think of each “shark” as just an Issue. We can remove sharks with The Issues Solving Track™ (IDS). This way, my clients can create action steps, or Rocks, to mitigate or prevent these risks from becoming catastrophic.

The EOS Toolbox™ is a complete set of problem-solving tools designed specifically for entrepreneurial leadership teams. 

Find out which EOS Tools can help you keep sharks away at

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