I've always been skeptical of new business operating philosophies. This skepticism was developed over time – through system implementations dating back to the late 1980’s. First it was W. E. Deming’s Total Quality Management (TQM), then came Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma and so on. ISO-9000 was the first international standard I was a student of – becoming both a champion and auditor of this system.
Each of these operating systems had their strengths. TQM started with changing the business “climate”, Lean was a development of the “Toyota Way” – working to improve the value chain, and Six Sigma concentrated on process improvement. When I was introduced to the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS), I thought it was a re-packaged amalgam of these older systems. I was wrong.
After completing my training and certification in EOS as part of The Resultants Business Advisor onboarding, it was suggested I take one of our existing businesses through their Accelerate Your Business™ process. My wife and I were a bit apprehensive because we would be experimenting and possibly breaking something that was already working well - or so we thought.
Back in 2006, my wife and business partner established a moving company that serves only the older adult population. For the first ten years, the business grew every single year – becoming well-recognized in the community and a solid provider of jobs and income for the owners. Yes, revenues had been flat for the past few years but we attributed this to forces outside our control. Not long after starting the process, it became apparent that if the business was not growing in both revenue and profit, it would be slowly moving backward toward extinction. There were found fundamental issues that prevented the business and its employees from reaching full potential.
The first three months were difficult as we had to learn how to put the tools to use. After all, EOS is as much a discipline as it is operating system and people don’t care for discipline!
The leadership team now meet on a regular basis, with an unchanging, predictable agenda and concrete start and stop times. Issues are now being “smoked out”, root causes identified, discussed and solved. Trust between the leadership team is being strengthened. People are now being held accountable for their assignments and excuses are no longer acceptable. With the discipline in place, we can now talk about our hopes and dreams – the company’s strategic vision, and how best to make the world a better place.
One year ago, had the idea of doubling our sales been presented, we would have snorted “not possible”. Now this idea not only has merit but is one of our intermediate strategic goals. By implementing EOS through the Accelerate Your Business program, I am having to practice what I preach and see from the inside the effect of my teachings!
Every year, companies recognize the need for change and decide to implement some new way of operating. They hire consultants, spending great sums of cash as well as time and human energy, only to end up falling short of expectations and with several grand three-ring binders gathering dust on a shelf. Why would this process be any different?
It’s different because we first learn the tools, create a vision and use people and data to achieve that vision. Then we follow through. Just like a golfer hits a ball farther with a good follow-through, we don’t simply let things ride after implementation but establish a discipline and cadence that the company can use for years thereafter. Follow-through is the key – it’s like a flywheel that once spun-up takes minimal energy to keep it turning.
I look forward to sharing more about our journey in the coming months.
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