When someone just begins learning to play a musical instrument, they spend a lot of time doing scale exercises. They practice ascending from the lowest note to the highest note and descending back from highest to lowest. The exercises help budding musicians learn the proper ways to use their instruments.
Learning to master the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) in your business is like practicing scales. You intentionally have to take steps that may feel awkward at first. And you’ll probably hit a few sour notes, especially at the beginning. But stick with it, and pretty soon you’ll be playing the scales to EOS mastery.
Start at the Very Beginning
Musicians learn to play notes moving up the scale and then coming back down. They have to do it thousands of times before muscle memory takes over.
Business leaders learn to run their businesses on EOS in the same way. When a new client is learning EOS, I write out the EOS compartments across the whiteboard. It almost looks like we’re solving a simultaneous equation.
This doesn’t always come easily. A rookie musician will stumble when learning notes, and leadership teams new to EOS might struggle to comprehend some tasks.
The leadership team reviews where they want to take the business in the next 10 years. How will they get there? We break that big goal down into smaller and smaller tasks until we get to daily tasks.
To do that, we draft their Vision/Traction Organizer™ (V/TO™). We build the 10-Year Target™ then move to the 3-Year Picture™ then the 1-Year Plan. We keep getting more and more granular with quarterly Rocks, weekly To-Dos, Scorecards, and Measurables.
Then we play the V/TO back: Measurables, Scorecards, To-Dos, Rocks, 1-Year Plan, 3-Year Picture, and 10-Year Target.
Every member of the leadership team needs to understand what drives the economic engine of their business. What do they need to complete as part of their job to support company goals? What Measurables for the Scorecard, weekly To-Dos, and quarterly Rocks can their department do to support the greater good?
As their Expert EOS Implementer™, I teach, coach, and facilitate their effort to find clarity. Then we document the plan in their V/TO.
Practice Makes Progress
Everyone learns with their own style and at their own pace. Sometimes we go over the V/TO “scale” only a handful of times before the leadership team gets it. Other times they have to hear it seven times (or more!) before it is heard.
That doesn’t matter. We look for progress, not perfection.
I had one client who sold phone line subscriptions. Everyone had a number related to selling, installing, or retaining customers to meet their revenue goals. One leader didn’t understand how the install quality measurable impacted the company goals.
We all came to the conclusion that a sloppy install requiring a second visit by the install technician costs money. It also put the sale at risk and ultimately had the potential to impact retention.
To solve this problem, they focused their efforts on installation quality by setting a relevant Rock. And they included a weekly rework measurable in the company Scorecard. Finally, they ensured every installer received training to focus on their rework number.
“Oh, the whole business is just endpoints [number of phone lines]!” this leader shouted in session one day.
Ding ding ding! They got it. Now they could make real progress.
Keep Calm and Play On
Nothing comes easily at first, and you have to learn the basics before you can do anything truly extraordinary.
If a musician wants to play at Carnegie Hall, they practice daily, making small incremental improvements at each session. And they get feedback on their progress from mentors, instructors, or conductors.
For a business leader to get what they want from their business, they have to do the same with EOS. It doesn’t matter if they want to grow, sell, or create a self-managing business; they have to work hard. It will feel awkward at first, but I encourage them to keep practicing every day.
And to get feedback on their progress, I encourage them to periodically take the Organizational Checkup™. When answered honestly, this assessment gives business leaders a clear picture of their strengths and areas where they could use a little help. Armed with this assessment, an EOS Implementer can help get you on your journey to running on EOS too.