Amber Cabral, Visionary and owner of Cabral Consulting, never expected her business to become more than a side hustle. When she decided to run her leadership and inclusion solutions firm full-time in 2017, she still only expected to be a solopreneur. Even after hiring employees and having a payroll, Amber needed convincing that she’d created an actual company. With such explosive growth, she started to feel lost.
“We grew so fast it got to a point where I didn’t know what the next goal was supposed to be,” Amber said. “We were busy and being impactful, but I didn’t know what the next goalpost should be. That made me nervous.”
After talking to other owners who’d experienced fast growth, she learned about EOS® and was referred to Certified EOS Implementer® Shea Peffly.
From the jump, Amber knew she didn’t want to re-create the corporate culture she’d left behind. Having been in charge of company culture at her former job, she wanted to create a totally different experience for her team.
Working with her Integrator™, RaSheem Barnett, Amber found defining the firm’s Core Values enlightening.
RaSheem initially served Cabral Co as a consultant. Although he’d heard of business operating systems, he’d never been exposed to EOS.
“EOS took things that I knew conceptually and put it all in one place,” he said. “Having Core Values of health, rest, and well-being were important to us. We remember what it’s like to be burned out and didn’t want to go back.”
They also clearly defined how they’re not a regular DEI training firm. Instead of holding impactless seminars to check an HR box, they challenge problematic ideas. And they’ve had the courage to turn clients down if all they want are “checked boxes.”
“A lot of people are out there doing the training, but we’re a bit more provocative than most,” Amber said. “We don’t try to turn employees into activists, but we will hold leaders accountable. Often, people point to some grand program with a lot of pretty words, but their employees don’t even know what it means.”
At first, Amber resisted things like the Level 10 Meetings™. In her corporate role, she saw how recurring meetings weren’t impactful and just ate up time. But she trusted the process even though their 90-minute Level 10 Meetings frequently ran over two hours.
“We just kept getting derailed until we learned not to talk about tangential things,” Amber said. “Learning not to talk about something besides the topic at hand was a labor for us.”
RaSheem saw how the set agenda every week brought order to their meetings. Everyone knew what to do and followed the agenda’s order. As the weeks went on, they added a Scorecard and got better at IDS® (Identify, Discuss, Solve) sessions. RaSheem said that having a place to put all of Amber’s grand ideas and get the team on the same page on their priority is heaven for him.
“We started to cut down on some unnecessary communications because everyone knew what was going on,” RaSheem said. “You knew from one Friday to the next what needed to be accomplished, who was doing things, and when. EOS helps us focus on what to do and the time frame to accomplish it.”
Plus, the metrics from the Scorecard each week started to provide objective proof of the gut feelings Amber had previously led with.
“I started to have less angst about decisions because EOS gave me the data to back up my gut feeling,” Amber said. “I have evidence for how to position us for success and involve the team in making decisions.”
Initially, another person had held the Integrator position before RaSheem, but they left the company without warning. Looking back, Amber thinks it became clear to them that they weren’t the right fit for the role and that RaSheem was.
“We were shook by the departure, and soon after that, we had a session with Shea,” Amber said. “So I called her just to give her a heads-up this happened. She said, ‘Oh, here’s what we can do.’ At that point, I realized that EOS can help fix things when they happen. Like, when a water pipe breaks, this is what we do to fix the water pipe.”
Now, Cabral is more intentional in bringing on new hires by making decisions according to a candidate’s alignment with their carefully developed Core Values.
Cultivating a positive team culture can be difficult with a completely remote workforce. Still, Amber said EOS has helped them be successful without the need to depend on in-person face time.
“There are moments I realize something creates work for us, like documenting processes,” Amber said. “But I can see their importance in getting more structure, order, and efficiency. Because now I know I can fall out tomorrow, and people can pick up where I left off.”