We talk a lot about Running on EOS™ purely. That isn’t about making sure you wear the right color of orange (it’s Pantone 172c). I’m talking about when someone takes the core principles of EOS® and tries to “improve” on them. One of the most common attempts I see at “improving” on EOS in a family business is two family members sharing one seat on The Accountability Chart™. I often see this when people say they are co-visionaries or co-integrators. If you run on EOS, you know “co-anything” isn’t a thing.
Pure and Simple EOS for Family Businesses
Please forgive me if this comes across as a little curt. My blood pressure gets elevated when I talk about this because I want to see healthy businesses run by families that have time together outside the business and because I believe EOS is the ideal tool to help make that happen.
The beauty of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® – and the reason I fell in love with it – is its simplicity and the focus on having a healthy team. When a team messes with EOS, they mess with their chance to have a healthy family and a healthy family business.
When EOS founder Gino Wickman created and honed this system, he did so while running his family’s business. He was going through the same challenges family businesses go through today.
He didn’t make exclusions for family businesses in EOS. In fact, following the process of building the structure of your Accountability Chart first and then deciding on people is more important in a family business than any other kind of business.
Recently, I‘ve heard nearly half a dozen stories of family businesses messing around with the beauty of The Accountability Chart. I’m begging you. Please don’t do any of the following funny business with your Accountability Chart.
I’ve heard of two brothers who serve as co-Visionaries. Yes, it happens sometimes, but even co-author of Rocket Fuel Mark C. Winters said one is usually the REAL Visionary. (So, will the real Visionary please stand up?)
CEOs on The Accountability Chart
Someone shared a situation where a brother and a sister were co-CEOs. What in the world is that? That’s not even an EOS thing. What happens when childhood sibling issues arise (because they will)?
I’ve also heard of a mom and a son who sit in the Integrator™ and Visionary seats, respectively, and who really just share supervision of their leadership team. That doesn’t create accountability. That becomes a game of “when one boss says no, just ask his mom.” (“Mom said I could” takes on a whole new meaning in a family business.)
Another family business has an utterly incompetent person sitting in the Integrator seat just because he’s the oldest son. Seriously, a company’s Accountability Chart shouldn’t look like its family tree.
Share Your Snacks, Not Your Seat
Since the beginning, EOS has helped bring simplicity and clarity to tens of thousands of entrepreneurial businesses. A big piece of the system is clearly defining roles on the organization’s Accountability Chart. Every major responsibility should have one owner, and everyone should understand who owns what.
A well-structured Accountability Chart provides clarity on who is responsible for doing what. It cuts down on wasted time from knowledge gaps, and it makes someone accountable for driving goals forward to accomplish them.
When multiple people share a seat, it reintroduces that confusion we worked so hard to eliminate from the organization. Others go back to guessing who owns a particular problem or decision. After all, if everyone is responsible, then no one is responsible.
Please, help yourself and my blood pressure. If a family business owner wants to share anything in their organization, it should be their snacks, not their seat.