Traction – Get a Grip on your Business
Traction beschreibt (bisher nur in englischer Sprache) meiner Meinung nach ein in sich konsistentes Modell, um als Entrepreneur kleine Firmen oder Start-Ups aufzubauen und auf Wachstumskurs auszurichten. Das ganze ist, typisch amerikanisch, sehr begeisternd geschrieben, was mich teilweise erfasst und teilweise gestört hat, weil es für mich “too much” war. Auch gibt es bestimmt viele solcher Ansätze, aber bisher habe ich noch von keinem so konsequenten und auch sehr strukturiert aufgebauten und beschriebenen Ansatz gehört. Auch ist nicht immer alles neu. Eigentlich ist nicht wirklich viel neu, aber die Art und Weise das ganze konzentriert zu Papier zu bringen, ist bisher unerreicht, finde ich. Dabei reicht das Modell von abstrakten bis ganz konkreten Hinweisen. Es ist in sofern kompatibel zu agilen Ansätzen als das es sie nicht im geringsten streift Gleichzeitig habe ich aber nur ganz selten gedacht, dass hier kleinere Anpassungen nötig wären. Nicht weiter störend. Ich habe bisher auch nur gutes von anderen gehört und kenne schon drei Unternehmer, die sich anfangen an diesem Modell auszurichten. Absolute Leseempfehlung für die Zielgruppe! (2)
- Motivation for (or problems of) Start-Ups:
- Lack of control: Business is controlling you
- People: You are frustrated with your employees, customers, vendors…
- Profit: There’s not enough of it
- The Ceiling: Your growth has stopped
- Nothing’s working: You have spinned various new wheels, but traction to move again is missing
- EOS consists of six key components: Vision, Data, Process, People, Issues, Traction (Model)
- Preparation “Leeting go of the vine”
- build and maintain a true leadership team (sharing vision, no dictators, each departmental head should be better than you, leadership team must present a united front to the rest of your organization)
- hitting the ceiling is inevitable (reaching natural limits is a by-product of growth, grow interanlly and externally, simplify/delegate/predict/systemize/structure)
- choose exactlty one operation system (one vision, one voice, one culture, one OS -> one language)
- be open-minded, growth-oriented and vulnerable (risk-grow-yourBest-happy)
- needed: compelling visions & communication to the people, key question: “Do they see what you are seeing?”
- Vision contains answers to these 8 questions (put answers into V/TO):
- What are your core values?
=> Which existing people would you like to clone and what are their values? Narrow list down to 3-5 values. Find 3-5 supporting examples for each value. Lay out and communicate a core values speech. Values should become guiding force and be lived and incorporated in hiring process.
- What is your core focus?
=> Answer 2 questions: 1. Why does your organisation exist? What is its purpose, cause, or passion? (see checklist on p. 50) 2. What is your organization’s niche?
- What is your 10-year target?
=> Choose a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal). One statement, measurable. Mostly revenue, soldunits, customer statisfaction, …
- What is your marketing strategy?
=> 4 elements: Your Target Market (define your ideal customer: geographic, demographic, psychographic, how to reach your customer best) – Your Three Uniques (no one else has exact these 3 differentiators/value propositions) – Your Proven Process (proven way you provide your service/product to the customer: find major steps, touch points with customer – describe them shortly – print it) – Your Gurantee (pinpoint an industry-wide problem and solve it. Secondary benefit: it forces all peploe in your company to deliver to it)
- What is your three-year picture?
=> What are revenue, profit and/or other specific measuables in three years?
- What is your one-year plan?
=> Decide on same numbers as in the three-year picture. 3-7 most important priorities. Goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable.
- What are your quarterly Rocks?
=> Most important priorities in coming quarter
- What are your issues?
=> Idendtify obstacles that could prevent you from reaching your targets. Be openly and honest!
- Vision must be shared by all – tell them!
=> company kickoff meeting when vision is setup for the first time + quarterly state-of-the-company meetings (share successes/progress, review vision, communicate newly set company Rocks for the quarter) + quarterly departmental meetings (set Rocks in each department, complete review of vision as a team)
- People need to hear the vision seven times before they really hear it for the 1st time
- needed: the right people in the right seats + structure & roles/responsibilities
- Right people are the ones who share your company’s values (use People Analyser and Three-Strike-Rule)
- Right seats means that employees are operating within his/her area of greatest skill and passion
=> roles, responsibilities, expactations and job description are clear and fit with their Unique Ability (use Accountability Chart, see 5 major functions below + bullet points showing responsibilities (=core processes) of each function)
- Right person, wrong seat -> Seat too big/small? Other seat?
- Wrong person, right seat -> he/she is chipping away at what you`ve trying to build, killing you in the long run -> that person must go for the sake of the greater good
- Wrong person, wrong seat -> person must go
- Every organisation should have these top-level functions (might split up in more):
- Visionary: has 10 new ideas a week -> keeps organization growing, operates more on emotion, 5 roles: R&D/ideas, Creative problem-solving, major relationships, culture, selling
=>”know thyself and be free”
- Integrator: Integrates major functions of the business, Unique Ability is run teh organization, manage day-to-day issues that arise, integrate three functions (see below), being glue that holds company together, operates more on logic
=> “know thyself and be stressed”
- Sales/Mktg.: Generates Business
- Operations: Provides service or service to customer
- Finance and Administration: Manages teh monies flowing in and out as well as infrastructure
- GWC – get it (understand the role, culture, systems, pace, how job comes togehter) , want it (genuinely like the job and not influence by ego, hopes, ignorance), capacity to do it (time, level of intellect, skill, knowledge, emotional intelligence) -> add to People Analyser
- if require more than 100% of work time to do job well: delegate (right person, right seat and let go) and elevate (towards your Unique Ability
- needed: 5-15 high-level numbers for the organisation to manage it (“Scorecard”)
- Anything that is measured and watched is improved.
- A profit and loss statement is a trailing indicator. Its data comes after the fact, and you can’t change the past.
- Find numbers which allows to have an absolute pulse on your business (=leading indicators!) – make one person accountable for each – decide on the expected goal for the week – decide who is accountable to collect all the numbers – use it! (Scorecard example on p. 118)
- Everybody has a number which measures work done (quantity and/or quality) by him/her – 8 advantages:
- Numbers cut through murky subjective communication
- Numbers create accountability
- Accountable people appreciate numbers
- Numbers create clarity and commitment
- Numbers create competition
- Numbers produce results
- Numbers create teamwork
- You solve problems faster
- needed: transparency + ability to solve issues
- Lack of decision, or procrastination is often major cause of failure
- Reaching decisions promptly and changing them slowly
- It is less important what you decide than it is that you decide!
- Issues List: Issues that stand in the way of your vision
- Requires: Everyone feels comfortable talking about issues as they arise
- Three types in your organiszation: 1. company issues in V/TO (issues which need not to be solved in the next quarter) 2. Weekly leadership team issue list (issues for this week and quarter) 3. Departmental issues list (departmental issues for the week)
- Decide on the top three issues to be solve and solve them!
- Issues Solving Track: Identify – Discuss – Solve
- Identify: Most of the time the stated problem is a symptom of a real issue, so you must find the rrot of the matter. Most causes of real issues are people. It is ok to spend more time on identifing than on discussing and solving!
- Discuss: Do not discuss unless you have found the root cause. Don’t be afraid to suggest solutions. use “Tangent Alert” (Diverging from an original prupose or course). If tangent is a real issues, but not relevant to the current one being discussed, put it on the issues list and get to it in order of priority
- Solve: Conclusion/solution -> action item for sb. – when action item is completed, issue goes away forever. Make sure to have up-to-date vision before making decisions. Three types of resolution: 1. issue solved and requires action (sb. takes action item) 2. Awareness (team commitment) 3. More reserach and facts needed (sb. takes action item and bring result to subsequent meeting)
- 10 commandments of solving issues
- Thou shalt not rule by consensus (everybody need to be heard – someone needs to make final decision)
- Thou shall not be a weenie (solution always be simple, but just not always easy to implement)
- Thou shall decisive (make decisions quickly and change them slowly)
- Thou shalt not rely on secondhand information (solve issues with all involved parties present)
- Thou shalt fight for the greater good (put egos, titles, emotions, past beliefs aside)
- Thou shalt not try to solve them all (take issues one at a time, in order of priority)
- Thou shalt live with it, ent it or change it (if you can no longer live with it: change it or end it)
- Thou shalt choose short-term pain and suffering (solve your problem now rather than later)
- Thou shalt enter the danger (the issue that you fear the most is the one you most need to discuss and resolve)
- Thou shalt take a shot (propose a solution, don’t wait for someone else (or somesthing) to solve it)
- Have each person prepare and then share with the other what he/she believes the other’s 3 greatest strenghts and 3 greatest weaknesses are.
- List all the issues and solve them
- List the action items form the solutions
- Meet 30 days later to make certain that the acion items have been accomplished
- needed: identify, address and document core processes
- Those business owners complaining about lack of control and freedem need to work systemizing their business
- Document your Core Processes
- Identify – typically: HR, marketing, sales, operations, accounting, customer-retention
- Document – take Accountibility chart and let process owners document their processes at a high level
- Package Core Processes and build a “Circle of life” which incorporates all processes
- Ready for reference and train everyone
- Your leadership team must be convinced that everyone should follow one system – “Followed by all”
- needed: 1. Rocks: 90-day priorities, 2. Meeting Pulse: everyone is focued, aligned and in communication
- traction = bridging the gap between vision and execution
- Bringing discipline and accountability to the organization will make people a little uncomfortable. What usally holds an organization back is the fear of creating this discomfort.
- Rocks: establish 3-7 most important priorities for the company, they must be done in the next 90 days (compare with water-sand-gravel-rocks metaphor)
- brainstorm what to achieve within next 90 days
- narrow down to 3-7
- make them specific, measurable and atteinable, give them a due date (within (mostly at end of) 90 days)
- assign who owns the rock
- each member of the leadership team set his/her 3-7 own rocks
- create rock sheet and bring into weekly meetings
- share rocks with the entire company
- have each departement set their rocks as a team
- Quarterly meeting pulse of leadership team: review previous quarter and V/TO, next quarter’s rocks, tackle key issues, next steps
- Annual Meeting Pulse of leadership team: reviev previous year, team health building, SWOT/issues, V/TO
- Weekly Meeting Pulse of leadership team: scorecard, rock review, customer/employee headlines, to-do list, IDS (at least 45min of 90min total meeting time), conclude
- keep team focus on what is important (numbers and rocks on track and customer happy – passionate, intense, exhausting, never boring)
- Organizational checkup, see p.203
- Getting Startet, see p.221