The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) was not created for companies with investors and boards of directors. But that doesn’t mean EOS won’t work for companies with a board. The system just requires some customizations to make the process work.
Out of the box, EOS requires a leadership team that can consistently make decisions for the greater good of the organization. Any interference with the team’s decision-making ability causes disruption and frustration.
What typically happens when a company with a board of directors starts Running on EOS™?
The leadership team meets for their Focus Day® with their EOS Implementer®. They create their Accountability Chart, set their Rocks, install The Meeting Pulse®, and develop their first Scorecard.
The leadership team leaves their Focus Day healthy, cohesive, and ready to rock ’n’ roll. The group comes together for their Vision Building® Days 1 and 2 and answers the eight questions in their Vision/Traction Organizer® (V/TO). They are 100% on the same page with their core values, Core Focus™, 10-Year Target™, marketing strategy, 3-Year Picture™, 1-Year Plan, Rocks, and Issues List.
The Visionary and Integrator™ take their documents to their next board meeting. The board doesn’t agree with The Accountability Chart™ or maybe the 3-Year Picture. Perhaps a board member insists the company must have “integrity” as a core value. Now the team has to go back and change what they decided was best for the business.
The leadership team decides on a vision and begins getting that vision shared by everyone in the organization. Then the board doesn’t agree, and they have to pivot again.
That results in what we call “organizational whiplash.”
How EOS Worldwide Runs on EOS with a Board
Any company with a board that wants to run on EOS needs a healthier and more efficient process than that. They want their vision shared by all for 100% alignment by pointing all human energy in one direction. To avoid organizational whiplash, the leadership team needs to retool and customize the process slightly.
Using EOS Worldwide as an example, we have five significant stakeholders that must be in constant lockstep to make our vision a reality:
- Board of Directors
- Leadership Team
- EOS Worldwide Team
- Community of EOS Implementers®
Initially, there were no customizations to the EOS process made. Still, our leadership team felt we weren’t in control of driving decision-making. This left our owners and board members unable to provide meaningful support and our EOS Implementers out of the loop.
After an open and honest conversation with our owners, we decided to change our Quarterly Pulsing®. We wanted to ensure all our stakeholders were on the same page, everyone felt heard, and we could consider all the best thinking toward serving the greater good.
We had to center all our decision-making around our V/TO®. The V/TO had to serve as the guiding document for every owner and board conversation. We used the simple two-page business plan to get our leadership team, EOS Worldwide team, and EOS Implementers on the same page.
This process didn’t happen for EOS Worldwide overnight. Rather, it resulted from over five years of tweaking, honing, and refining the relationship between EOS Worldwide and its stakeholders.
For context, our founder, Gino Wickman, sold the company in 2018 to a private equity firm, Firefly Group. The firm required us to create a corporate governance structure that was foreign to the organization.
As an entrepreneurial company, we had to create everything from scratch. That meant preparing for board meetings as well as finance, audit, and compensation committee meetings. It was challenging, but we consistently progressed by focusing on the greater good.
Every word in the V/TO was written with the greater good of the organization in mind, plus the peaceful resolution and genuine care and concern. We lived by the belief that as long as everyone fought for the greater good, we could overcome almost any situation as a group.
The Right Meeting Pulse
Do you run your company on EOS and have a board? We encourage you to create a meeting pulse to keep everyone aligned and 100% on the same page with your vision. This ensures you get the best from all your stakeholders and everyone gets what they want from the business.
At EOS Worldwide, we have a five-step process that allows us to stay aligned and focused on the greater good of EOS. This way, we can continue helping entrepreneurs live their ideal lives.
Step 1: Quarterly Vision-Setting Meeting
In this meeting, we meet with the leadership team about one week before the next scheduled board of directors meeting. We review the entire V/TO to ensure we are 100% on the same page as a leadership team:
- Core Values
- Core Focus
- Core Target™
- Marketing Strategy
- 3-Year Picture
- 1-Year Plan
- Issues List
Usually, we only make a few updates to the 3-Year Picture and the 1-Year Plan during this meeting. Before an annual planning session, we’ll make more significant changes to the 3-Year Picture and create a draft of our 1-Year Plan and quarterly Rocks. We then focus on a draft of our quarterly Rocks for the remaining three quarters.
With the leadership team on the same page for the draft V/TO, we understand the board will have input that may require changes.
Step 2: Visionary V/TO Walk-Through Video
As a leadership team, we record a video walking the board of directors through the draft V/TO. As part of the video, we highlight the changes from the previous quarter.
We send each board member the video and the standard board packet as pre-work to prepare for our board meeting.
We’ve found this gives the board members space to digest the V/TO before the board meeting thoughtfully. At the same time, it grounds us all and sets the context for our time together.
Step 3: The Board Meeting
We conduct our board meetings using the following agenda:
- Welcome and Call to Order
- Visionary Report
- V/TO Review
- Financial / Data Review
- Next Steps
Our board has the opportunity to challenge our thinking in our V/TO. They ensure we have the support and resources we need to execute. They’ll also suggest customizations or ideas for the next year or quarter.
We get everything we need to update our draft V/TO. Now we’re ready to head into our full-day annual or quarterly session with our EOS Implementer. And, yes, EOS Worldwide needs the help of an EOS Implementer too.
Step 4: Leadership Team Annual Planning/Quarterly Pulsing
We meet as a leadership team, create our draft V/TO, and present it to our board of directors. We have everything we need to solidify our plans.
Now we go deeper as a team on team health or tools. Even though we’re prepared and have already done a lot of thinking, our sessions still take seven hours, plus or minus an hour. It’s incredible what you still need to work through and the issues you need to solve.
We follow the typical annual planning/Quarterly Pulsing agenda and come out 100% on the same page with our final V/TO.
Step 5: Vision Shared by All
Our process concludes with the crucial step of ensuring that all stakeholders fully understand our vision and plan. We strive for complete alignment among everyone involved. We use the following tools to make sure we’re all 100% on the same page:
- Record a final video of our V/TO for the board of directors, highlighting any changes
- Deliver a compelling State of the Company to our EOS Worldwide team
- Deliver a compelling State of the Community to our EOS Implementers
Following steps like these ensure your stakeholders are 100% aligned with your vision. You’ll eliminate confusion and organizational whiplash. Plus, you’ll make better decisions and get more of what you want from your business. You’ll feel more confident in the organization’s direction and united as a strong, cohesive team and board.
Remember, you must also define a great Meeting Pulse within your organization, including your owners, if applicable. For example, here’s our Meeting Pulse at EOS Worldwide.
- Annual Planning (2 Days)
- Quarterly Pulsing (1 Day)
- Quarterly Vision Alignment Meeting (4 Hours)
- Board Meeting (1 Day)
- Monthly IDS Sessions (1 Day)
- V/I Same Page Meetings (Weekly)
- Ownership Same Page Meetings (Every Two Weeks)
- Level 10 Meetings (Weekly)
- Committee Meetings (Finance, Compensation, Audit), as needed
If your company has a board and runs on EOS, tell us about your experiences. If you need a little help, like EOS Worldwide does, get matched with one of our EOS Implementers.