In this post we’ll cover four ways EOS has impacted our business and gets our team involved in building something great.
What’s EOS you ask?
Over 16 years ago Gino Wickman developed what is widely known as the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). The system is now used by over 80,000 companies. Helping them “achieve more revenue, growth and profit while delivering a better balance of life to business owners and leaders.”
Augurian adopted EOS two years ago. Yes, we’re achieving the highly touted revenue, growth, profit and balance goals touted by the system. However, just as importantly we’ve found EOS tremendously valuable for aligning our entire team’s focus on key quarterly and annual goals (called “Rocks” in EOS).
Now, you might be wondering – what’s so different or special about EOS? The answer lies in the details. So let’s unpack four ways EOS has impacted our business and gets our team involved in building something great.
It may sound like a buzzword, but EOS has helped us align individual goals to the company goals so that everyone has a clear understanding of what we are trying to achieve as a company and how their work roles up to these objectives.
On a quarterly basis the entire team reviews Augurian’s:
Past quarter goals
Upcoming quarter goals
This gives us the opportunity to map the work accomplished on the company goals from the past quarter – and the new set of company goals for the upcoming quarter – to the larger 1-year, 3-year and 10-year target.
Once quarterly goals for the company are established we ask our team to take time and map departmental goals and personal goals to these quarterly company goals. Once this is completed and approved, we’ve got everyone rowing the boat in the same direction and the result is “traction”. We’ve found this process delivers greater buy-in and increased speed to goal completion. But don’t just take our word for it – we survey our employees on their level of alignment with the company direction and purpose, using our HR software, and we’re happy to report that less than 1 employee per year has reported not feeling aligned.
Alignment with Clients
We’ve taken the tenets of EOS and are applying them to our client relationships as well. We lead our clients through a similar planning process, helping them clarify for us what their most important goals for the year are. Based on these goals we work with clients to establish quarterly priorities that we agree will help us achieve those annual goals.
Because our team helps develop their own goals and map them to Augurian’s larger company goals, there isn’t a whole lot of room for misinterpretation or unclear expectations. However, we still monitor progress using a series of reporting mechanisms and scorecards that are reviewed on a weekly basis.
This allows ample time for identifying if a goal is off-track. In these cases, we dig into what is holding the person who is accountable back. Do they need to re-prioritize their work? Are they in need of additional resources? Was the goal too ambitious? Has something changed in the industry, landscape or company that merits a reevaluation of the goal?
Lastly, at the beginning of each quarter we have a show and tell where all departments describe the goals they have and how they map to the larger company quarterly goals. At the end of the quarter we do a retrospective and have each team report out on what they’ve accomplished. This peer review creates an added level of accountability and the entire process feels less top-down than traditional goal planning processes.
Accountability with Clients
With client goals set and quarterly priorities established, our teams create a series of scorecards and reports. Within these scorecards we outline the sub-tasks that need to be completed in order to deliver on each priority. These sub-tasks are assigned to individual team members, or individuals on the client side.
We take a page out of agile sprint methodology and have short weekly check-ins (scrums) with clients to ensure everything is on-track and there aren’t any blockers in our way or priority changes on the client side that we need to be aware of.
This high degree of accountability leads to greatly appreciated transparency for both our internal team as well as for our clients. Transparency from:
Goals that are agreed upon, clear and measurable.
Strategies and tactics to reach the goals are agreed upon.
Sub-tasks that need to be completed for each strategy and tactic are assigned.
Tracking of progress and completion of sub-tasks happens in reports and scorecards.
Scheduled weekly check-ins to discuss sub-task progress and completion.
Being intentional about following EOS processes takes the mystery out of the work that is being completed. It allows everyone to understand their own responsibilities and what other team members are working on. It ensures that if something is off-track, for any reason, it can be surfaced immediately, discussed and decisions can be made about moving forward.
Lastly, EOS provides a common language and cadence that everyone can get behind. We ‘re seeing how effective a high degree of communication and organization can transform the work that we do, both at Augurian and with clients.
The adopted EOS nomenclature of Rocks (goals), combined with the adopted agile nomenclature of Sprints (sub-tasks) structures conversations so that a high degree of focus is always put on the agreed upon priorities that the team has set out to accomplish.
Adopting the EOS meeting cadence and structure has also improved focus and made meetings more efficient and impactful. The Level-10 (L10) meeting structure has worked so well at all levels of Augurian’s organization that we’ve adopted this structure for client meetings as well. Here is what a typical meeting agenda looks like:
Personal & Professional Good News – 5 minutes
This provides time for a little personal sharing, chit-chat and relationship building prior to digging into the meeting.
Scorecard & Rock Review – 5 minutes
Here we quickly review our progress toward completion of our goals. If at this time anyone surfaces an issue that is impeding their ability to complete their assigned sub-tasks we make a note of it and cover it further down in the agenda.
Headlines & Kudos – 5 minutes
Headlines are things that are happening, or additional context that the group might need – because it could impact the work of the team. Kudos are call outs for other members of the team for the great work they are doing. We’ve found Kudos to be one of the most cherished parts of meetings. At the end of the day, we are all human beings and it feels great to recognize someone for their hard work and help they may have given you. Just like it feels great to receive that recognition.
To-Do List – 5 minutes
Every meeting has a running to-do list with individuals assigned to each task and a date for completion of each task. We leverage Asana project management software to keep track of these meetings, agendas and to-do lists. So when we review the to-do list we only discuss those that are due. If there is an issue with getting a to-do completed or an update that requires more discussion we make a note of it and cover it in the next section called the Issues List.
Issues List – 40 minutes
This is the heart of every meeting. Here everything and anything that is impeding our progress to complete our sub-tasks or goals are discussed. It is also the place where anyone can raise a new issue or new idea. Prior to jumping right into the list, the group is asked if anyone has anything they’d like to add to the list and then the entire list is prioritized with the goal of thoroughly covering at least the top three on the list. At the end of a conversation about something on the issues list there must either be a resolution to the issue, or a to-do has been created and assigned for follow up at the next meeting.
This EOS structure has become the foundation for more efficient and effective meetings and communication.
So, there you have it, those are the four ways EOS has impacted our business and gets our team involved in building something great. Augurian is fully bought into leveraging EOS to help our company grow, be more aligned and have an extremely high degree of accountability and transparency. We’re also using the major tenets of the system with our clients and seeing how positively their in-house teams are responding and how much more efficient and effective we’ve become. We’ve even got employees who are practicing a version of EOS in their personal lives as well!
If you have any questions about our experience with EOS, or how we’re leveraging tenets of the system with our clients, please feel free to contact us.