EOS (The Entrepreneurial Operating System®) was created by a lifelong entrepreneur Gino Wickman. Gino became an entrepreneur at 21, and at 25 he was called in to run his family business. He found it in need of a turnaround and worked with the Leadership Team to turn the company around in three years.
He ran the company for about seven years and ultimately sold the organisation. He spent a year and a half transitioning in the new Leadership Team before retiring from the business. During this time, he became one of 10 original members of the EO Detroit Chapter.
He discovered a knack and passion for the art and science of running a truly great entrepreneurial company, so after retiring from the family business, he decided to follow this passion full time.
Among those Gino credits for inspiring him during this period are:
- Sam Cupp for guiding him through the family business turnaround
- Verne Harnish for promoting the concept of Rocks through his books
- Patrick Lencioni for his unparalleled work on leadership
- Dan Sullivan for helping him discover his Unique Ability®
- Jim Collins for his research on core values and core purpose
With a different way of looking at business and a determination to help entrepreneurs get what they wanted from their businesses, he began putting together EOS – a set of simple, real-world practical tools, timeless concepts that have been around for 100 years and will be around for another 1000. He refined these through hands-on experiences, first with EO members businesses, and over the course of 11 years, with leadership teams of more than 120 entrepreneurial organisations.
In 2007 he published Traction, which pulled all these tools together and provided an open-source solution for anyone to implement. He founded EOS Worldwide, a growing organisation of successful entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds collaborating as Professional and Certified EOS Implementers to help people throughout the world experience the organisational and personal benefits of implementing EOS.
Ten years ago, he sat in a Starbucks with a couple of colleagues and asked, what if we could have 10,000 businesses running on this system in 10 years? Last month we hit that target. There are now over 10,000 businesses operating on EOS with a Professional or Certified Implementer helping them on their journey, with upwards of 80,000 others using the tools.
My story with EO and EOS?
I started my retail business in 2001 and joined the London Chapter of EO in 2003. We expanded into Russia and eventually into Germany, attracting private equity investment along the way. In 2010 we had decided to merge with an AIM-listed business in the same sector with significant synergies. It was around this time that I was given the book, 'Traction'.
Over the next few years, I introduced some of the EOS tools into the business, but I am convinced that had we implemented EOS fully, we would have grown faster. In June 2014, I decided to exit the business with my private equity investors. By August the same year, I decided to go to the US, complete the EOS Worldwide Bootcamp and become the first Professional EOS Implementer in the UK.
Throughout the past seventeen years, I have engaged fully with and extracted huge benefit from EO. Within my first six months of membership, I was the London Membership Chair, going on to become the Chapter President, then Membership Director, Area Director and Regional Director of EMEA. I have been involved in multiple global committees and have spoken at several GLC's. I continue to refer my EOS clients to EO and volunteer my time as a mentor as well as facilitating Forum Trainings, Moderator Trainings, Forum Retreats and I work as a YPO Forum Facilitator.
Are EOS and Scaling Up compatible?
To clarify, EO (Entrepreneurs Organisation) is a global non-profit peer-to-peer organisation. EOS Worldwide (www.eosworldwide.com) offers a system of simple tools you can operate your entrepreneurial business on.
Scaling Up, A Gazelles Company (scalingup.com) is a scaling up performance platform. EO, the organisation, has licensed some content from Scaling Up and uses it in their EO Accelerator Program.
As an entrepreneur, whether you are a member of EO or not, I would say, do your research. Look at all the operating systems available and make your choice. I would never compare or contrast them. It is for the individual owner, founder and leader to do the research and choose the right system for their organisation. I believe running a business on a system will help it scale and grow quicker.
On the broader question of EO and EOS, there is simply no question to answer – they are not the same thing. EO is a peer group with membership. EOS is an operating system to run your business on. EO offers peer-to-peer learning that helps you get the right information at the right time, connect to experts, and once in a lifetime experiences.
From my experience, growth has come from:
- Being a part of a peer-to-peer organisation – I don't always want to be the smartest person in the room, and I want to learn and grow from others who have been and are going through similar situations.
- Hiring numerous coaches over the years to help me with my mindset.
- Finding a mentor to mentor me.
- Running my business on an operating system (EOS).
Are there signs that a company will be a good fit for EOS?
Our target market is privately held companies (10 to 250 employees) with growth-orientated leaders who are frustrated and want help, and willing to be open, honest and vulnerable. That's why there's such a beautiful synergy with EO. EO helps founders of growth-oriented businesses learn and grow, and EOS helps the founder and the leadership team of growth-oriented companies learn and grow.
We find that entrepreneurial founders and owners typically face five common frustrations:
- Lack of control – instead of controlling the business, the business is controlling you
- Profit – simply put, there's not enough
- People – frustrations with employees, partners, suppliers or even clients
- Hitting the ceiling – growth has stopped, and the business can't get to that next level
- Nothing's working – the leadership team has tried many things but are not gaining Traction
What is the best way to implement EOS?
EOS offers three ways to implement the tools in your organisation:
- Self-Implementation – select one of your leaders to learn, teach and coach your team through The EOS Process using the book Traction and the downloadable free tools from the website.
- Supported Self-Implementation – join the EOS Community for a monthly fee where you will have access to resources to help that leader to learn how to implement EOS in your organisation.
- Professional Implementation – engage a Professional or Certified Implementer to lead you through The EOS Process. These Implementers are continually engaging in education every 90 days, have a community that supports them and have had hundreds and thousands of hours of facilitation with teams.
Founders and leadership teams often find it hard to implement the tools objectively while at the same time working in the business. That is why I think so many EO members choose to work with a Facilitator on Retreat. In the same way, there are genuine benefits of working with someone neutral, outside your organisation, and no skin in the game to help implement EOS.
EOS Implementers are not strategists or consultants. They do not tell you where your business is going. Instead, they set a context for the tools and help facilitate the right answers in that context. They hold you accountable and help coach you to success.
When we work with leadership teams, we help with three things we call Vision, Traction Healthy:
- Vision: Getting you on 100% on the same page with where you are going and how you plan to get there
- Traction: Instilling discipline and accountability throughout your organisation so that no matter where you go you see people executing on your Vision
- Healthy: Making you a more cohesive, functional open and honest, fun-loving team because most of the time, you are not.
From there so goes the leadership team so goes the rest of the organisation.
What is the optimal path to graduating from EOS?
Successful self-implementation can take years. With a Professional or Certified Implementer, it's likely to take about 24 months. You might think that is a long time, but in the first 60 days, we implement the foundational tools and help you clarify your Vision. Typically, you need a year to 18 months to get the tools rolled out to the rest of the organisation and execute on your Vision.
At Bold Clarity, I offer a 15-minute call to anyone who has questions. We're really about education and helping people wherever they are in the journey, not just selling them on implementation. We love speaking with people, sending books that might help them and operating with an overarching abundance mindset. And then, if it's appropriate, we offer a complimentary 90-minute meeting with you and your leadership team online via Zoom.
If you have any questions about my experience or anything else I can help with, please give me a call on 07795 667480 or email email@example.com.