Many business leaders make it to the top by looking out for Number One (aka themselves). When the company they work for begins running on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®), they have unlearning to do. EOS requires the leadership team to act as an actual team. Instead of looking out for Number One, they evolve into “Team One.”
Fiefdoms of Number Ones
Some time ago, leaders from a professional services client gathered around my conference table for their first Focus Day™ session. The 10 leaders trickled in one by one and milled around in silence, staring at their phones.
Each angled to speak with the owner but not with one another. The session began with an awkward check-in filled with mostly generic comments and hazy expectations for the day.
Their eyes darted around the table when they heard that becoming a leadership team was an essential part of the EOS journey. During The Accountability Chart™ exercise, some turf wars emerged.
It became clear that the organization had become a fragmented collection of individual fiefdoms. Divisions burst open as individuals spoke with passion of “my team” but never of “our team.”
We reviewed each of the EOS Focus Day Tools. When the day ended, you could tell half the team was on board and excited, but the other half not so much.
The company’s owner said to me privately, “I can see we’ve got some work to do.”
When teams function as separate siloed entities, they continue to struggle. I’ve seen this play out many times early on with my clients. And yet, letting go of fiefdoms and running on EOS can have a profound impact on team health.
Our Healthy Team One
When beginning the EOS journey, many leadership teams suffer from a lack of cohesiveness. They also lack the ability to speak openly and honestly with each other.
Many of these leaders struggle with accountability and direction – mainly because they haven’t developed the underlying trust to be authentic. Plus, they haven’t been real about what they want from the business.
Successful entrepreneurs eventually realize their leaders haven’t invested enough time holding critical conversations about what they truly want. They have to know what they want for the business and for themselves, and how they can help each other.
EOS helps them get there. Implementing the EOS Tools simplifies difficult discussions, steering everyone toward a shared definition of success.
Through the EOS Tools, they establish a shared vision and plan a clear path to get there. Leadership teams define priorities and measures to help them become more accountable for results. By elevating what they want over individual or departmental needs, they begin to see the leadership team as “Team One.”
Team One Takes Time
A year after the Focus Day, that same professional services leadership held their quarterly planning session with me.
This time, six confident leaders came into the room together, chatting and laughing. During the check-in, they shared personal stories and warm acknowledgments of one another’s wins.
During the issues-solving portion of the agenda, they had open and honest discussions without holding back. Tough decisions emerged from strong opinions, but without rancor. These decisions had full buy-in because everyone had weighed in.
As we concluded, the owner addressed the team, thanking them for a productive day. Turning to me, he said, “I know it took us a year to get here, but thanks for your perseverance. EOS has truly helped us become Team One.”
How strong is your Team One? Take the Organizational Checkup™ to find out!