S2E1: VISION | Answering The 8 Questions™

Strong in Six
Strong in Six
S2E1: VISION | Answering The 8 Questions™

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When your business isn’t working, you need the right tools to get you back on track. I’m your host, Sue Hawkes. On this season of Strong in Six, we’ll dive into how to use 12 EOS® Tools so you can strengthen the Six Key Components™ of your business. Join me as we discuss the disciplines thousands of companies have implemented and how to put them to work and build your own success story.

Let’s talk about the V/TO, the EOS Vision/Traction Organizer®. It’s a game changer for organizations seeking clarity, focus, and tangible results. Its purpose is to help you clarify your vision, set clear goals, and achieve traction toward your objectives. Answering the eight essential questions on the V/TO® provides a framework for aligning teams and guiding your success by building a bridge and connecting your dreams to reality. When you answer The 8 Questions™ –  what are your core values, what’s your Core Focus™, what is your 10-Year Target™, what’s your marketing strategy, what is your 3-Year Picture™, your 1-Year Plan, your quarterly Rocks, and finally, what is your Issues List – you have the framework for making magic happen. It’s the key critical questions that are vital for organizational success. Let’s take this apart and talk about it a little bit.

First, let’s talk about core values. Core values define the organization’s culture, and they guide your decision-making processes. They’re the compass that guides your team toward greatness, shaping your culture by helping you maintain behavioral accountability, and in fact, behavioral accountability is where most teams fail. More on that when we get to the people tools. In EOS companies, core values are the active measurements you use to hire, fire, review, reward, and recognize people. 

Next, you have Core Focus. This question, when you answer it, it brings you into sharp focus around your organization’s primary purpose and areas of expertise. It ensures you channel your efforts to what truly matters and keeps you focused away from shiny stuff that might distract you and dilute your efforts… you know, the good ideas that aren’t really great? All of your processes and systems should be aimed at making accomplishing that Core Focus easier.

Now, when you’re clear on “the why” you do what you do, it makes what you do more impactful. Getting clear on your Core Focus, purpose, cause, or passion becomes your reason for being. Coupled with that, you have your superior skill, which we call your niche. Add Core Focus to core values, and you really have the soul of your organization. When you’re clear about who you are, why you exist, and what you have superior skills to do, it brings certainty amidst any headwinds you might face. 

When you get to the 10-Year Target, this is about setting your sights on your long-term vision, allowing you to chart a course and make decisions with confidence. It’s a simple, one-sentence, compelling statement that serves as a guide for decision-making and goal-setting over your long term. It should be “stretchy” but attainable. It should be something that gets you a little nervous but isn’t disempowering or disengaging for anyone. It sets the destination we’re trying to reach in the long term.

Next, it’s your marketing strategy. This is designed to help you understand your target market, stand out from your competition, and design a winning approach. Your focus is about understanding that ideal target market: who they are, how they think, when they’re ready to buy, and where they’re located. It’s also including your differentiators and your overall marketing approach: those things that, in concert, make you unique from all of your competitors. When you design a proven process, the picture of what you do for your ideal target market and/or a guarantee to remove or reduce your ideal target market’s number one fear should result in every employee knowing an ideal target market client when they see one.

The purpose of all of this is to help every employee in your company know your ideal customer when they see one, whether they’re on an airplane, networking at a family function, or maybe a child’s event. They would be able to tell them what’s unique about you in, perhaps, three succinct words and sentences. They could show them what you have experience and skill to do and remove or reduce their number one fear…

All in short, simple sentences so that everyone is crystal clear. What this should do is enable you to get more yeses from more places and get your sales team positioned for a win. Everything you do in your marketing strategy should be incorporated into your collateral, your website, your sales pitches, and everything that you use to approach that ideal audience.

Your 3-Year Picture paints a vivid snapshot of where you want to be in three short years, getting that comprehensive picture out of your leadership team’s head and onto paper so your entire team – your entire company – can see a picture of where you’re headed for the next three years. Then, as you’re accomplishing it, it lets people know you’re winning the game. This is all in service of your 10-Year Target, breaking it down and starting to bring it down to the ground, making it also very easy to start your one-year planning…

When we zoom in, your 1-Year Plan breaks down the 3-Year Picture. It brings it down to a 12-month time frame, translating it into actionable objectives for this year. We’re talking three to seven goals maximum – never more. My teams with three goals accomplish more than my teams with seven because they go deep, fast, and focused. What you need to do is push to determine what you need this year to get on that path to accomplishing the 3-Year.

Think about it as the first third of that journey. What should be done in order to enable us to accomplish the three-year plan two short years from now? 

Next, you have quarterly Rocks. Quarterly Rocks are specific, measurable objectives that align with your one-year goals and serve as your organization’s priorities for the next 90 days. These measurable, specific objectives become your team’s focal point, driving them forward 90 days at a time until you accomplish those one-year goals. The magic of the 90-day time frame is that it’s long enough to accomplish something but short enough to keep our attention span focused on it.

Lastly, you have your Issues List. All growing organizations have issues. Having them is normal; you’ve got to get your arms around it. In the EOS Community, you’ll hear us say things like “It’s just an issue.” We don’t mean to diminish it, but we also don’t want to add any drama to it. An issue is not a problem; it’s normal in growth. Naming, identifying, and prioritizing those critical challenges you face enables you to tackle them head-on, clearing the path for progress week by week. An issue is anything you can’t solve on your own; it’s the stuff that slows you down, ticks you off, and gets in the way. Also, an issue can be an idea or an opportunity, so they aren’t negative in connotation; they’re just things in the way causing friction on the business.

Anything you need to crystallize and align your team on can be on the Issues List. Again, naming them and making them go away the first time they appear is a game-changer for most companies. When you answer these eight questions and agree upon the answers to them, that’s where the magic happens. Clarity, alignment, and focus become your allies, and the V/TO becomes your roadmap to success. When everyone in your organization is working toward a shared vision and taking meaningful actions, traction becomes inevitable.

Answering the eight V/TO questions is absolutely vital for organizational success. It’s like constructing a sturdy bridge, spanning a vast river, connecting your dreams to reality. Your core values lay this rock-solid foundation, anchoring the bridge to unwavering principles. Your core focus acts as the towering pillars guiding your every move toward purposeful pursuits. Your 10-Year Target becomes the bridge’s destination. Your marketing strategy acts as the bridge’s support beams, ensuring your message reaches the right audience. The 3-Year Picture and one-year goals form the bridge’s sturdy structure, guiding progress and milestones, turning aspirations into tangible achievements. Your quarterly Rocks serve as stepping stones propelling you forward, allowing your teams to navigate short-term priorities and resolving issues; they become your vigilant maintenance crew, continuously inspecting and repairing any weak spots to ensure smooth progress across the bridge to your success.

Now it’s time to start putting your tools to work. To learn more about building a stronger business, check out eosworldwide.com and connect with a Professional EOS Implementer®.

About The Strong in Six Podcast

Entrepreneurs face many of the same kinds of challenges. Many of these challenges fall into one of the five most common frustrations, but all of them center around one of six key components of entrepreneurial businesses.

The Strong in Six podcast encourages business leaders to have open and honest conversations about those pain points and brings their stories to you. Learn from the real-world experiences, practical wisdom, and timeless truths told by subject matter experts as they reveal proven systems and tools that can help solve those challenges forever.  

Sit down with Strong in Six podcast host and Expert EOS Implementer® Sue Hawkes as she answers real questions from everyday entrepreneurs and chats with experts. If you’re up for the challenge, join us and get strong in the Six Key Components™ of your business.

About Sue Hawkes

Sue Hawkes is a bestselling author, award-winning leader, Expert EOS Implementer, Certified Business Coach, WPO Chapter Chair, and globally recognized award-winning seminar leader who helps CEOs and their leadership teams succeed. Sue brings over twenty-five years of business experience to her clients, and as CEO of YESS! has designed and delivered dynamic, transformational programs for thousands of people. Sue’s passion is helping people design and live successful, fulfilling lives through powerful leadership, effective communication, no-nonsense coaching, and healthy teamwork.

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