But unlike the prior business, John had decided he was going to implement EOS this time around.
“As a leader and a visionary, you don’t want to feel that a process is going to confine you and keep you from doing what you want to do. With EOS, the process doesn’t confine you, it actually releases you to do the things you should be doing to get things done.”
Timing Is Everything
Of course, the fall of 2008 was smack in the middle of The Great Recession and by January 2020, the world was just starting to wake up to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.
John laughs at his impeccable sense of timing, but quickly adds, “There’s no better time to implement EOS than in the middle of a crisis. From a leadership standpoint, I could see all the challenges the business was facing and the dysfunction of having no structure with meetings or goals.”
By implementing EOS from the get-go, he quickly got the confidence of the existing team in his leadership style. That made it easier to rally everyone around the idea that going forward, the business was going to be run differently.
Opportunity Disguised As Crisis
Even still, when the COVID-19 crisis hit, John knew they could get into deep trouble fast. Fortunately, opportunity was hiding in plain sight.
“I went to some of our suppliers and found out that the product we used for the window in our yurts was the same material that was being used for face shields.”
John had already been working with local city managers on getting his company classified as an essential business and on the very day that Colorado shut down the state, the Colorado Yurt Company received its essential business classification.
“We never missed a day,” John says.
Colorado Yurt was able to continue producing its yurts, tipis, and tents while also manufacturing face shields and safety curtains for buses.
And all through the crisis, they continued to work on EOS implementation which gave them a system to weather the “craziness” of COVID and beyond.
Turning Grapes Into Wine
When John took the reins of the company, there was plenty of work to do on every component of the EOS Model®.
“To get started, I was looking for the low-hanging fruit which the EOS Process® could help me with. Little did I know I was standing in a vat of grapes!”
And while John says he knew who they were as a business and as a company, they weren’t clear on the vision or on what their values were. By letting the team at Colorado Yurt help build the vision and values, he has encountered zero resistance because the people had been looking for direction.
“Using EOS, one of the values we identified was ‘being super hungry.’ I wanted to hire people who were hungry for our vision, but through this process, we also discovered that the people here are hungry people, who want to grow and go somewhere new with the business.
EOS is a system that not only identifies opportunities, but also challenges. When asked what the biggest challenge was in implementing EOS, John says – without missing a beat – “Me.”
“As a classic visionary, the challenge is keeping me focused once we decide on certain Rocks we’re going to run with. I’ll find that one week I’ll say, ‘Okay guys, this week we’re going to do it this way’ and then the next week, ‘we’re not doing it that way, let’s do it this way.’ I keep telling myself that because of the [COVID-19] crisis, I’m not following the rules.”
Of course, identifying the problem is half the solution. For John, a big part of that solution is mastering the Level 10 Meeting™.
“I know if I followed the Level 10 Meeting format better, we’d probably be a lot more productive. It’s the most obvious one for keeping us on track. For example, when I came into the company, nobody outside of the two leaders in the business knew what the numbers were or what they were shooting for. Now, by using a Scorecard, we’re getting better at keeping tabs on where we are and where we need to go.”
Making A Difference
For John Gibson, doing the work of implementing EOS has helped bring him clarity. He says going through the process has helped him realize that what’s most important to him is to make a difference in people’s lives. Both the people that work for him and the customers he serves.
“I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve gotten really comfortable through this whole process of understanding my personal vision of what I’m going to do with the company and how that’s in alignment with who I am personally.”
After reflecting further on his EOS journey, John sums it up.
“You know, I’m not rich by any means, but in some ways I’m really wealthy. I’m healthy and I’m happy and this process helped me feel like I’m home. I’m at a point in my life where I get to do exactly what I want to do every day.”
The Colorado Yurt Company is implementing EOS with the help of Certified EOS Implementer® Margaret Dixon
KEY TAKEAWAYS – LEADERSHIP LENS
Far from stifling creativity and innovation within their business, EOS helps leaders instill discipline in themselves and their teams to harness and organize actionable ideas. As a result, they get to reap new and exciting rewards while achieving success in all areas of their lives.