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EOS Worldwide Blog by Dean Breyley - 1d ago

Are you a hedgehog or a fox in business? ’The Hedgehog and the Fox’ by Isaiah Berlin describes how the world can be divided into two types. The wily fox is cunning and knows many things, using various complex strategies to attack the hedgehog. Whereas the hedgehog is single-minded and only knows one big thing- rolling up into a perfect sphere of sharp spikes to defend itself against the fox. Surprisingly, the stubborn hedgehog always wins despite the many different tactics the crafty fox uses.

The Core Focus™️ Concept 

In business strategy the Hedgehog Concept is developed in the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. It is not a goal to be the best, a strategy to be the best, an intention to be the best, or a plan to be the best. It is an understanding of what you can be the best at – and sticking to it - a distinction that is absolutely crucial. The Hedgehog Concept, or Core Focus™️ as EOS® calls it, is defined as the sweet spot intersection of three circles, as follows:

  1. What you are deeply passionate about? The idea is not to stimulate passion but to (re)discover what you love doing and focus on those activities.
  2. What drives your economic or resource engine? How to generate sustained and robust cash flow and profitability? Aim to discover a single driving denominator number or metric known as ‘Profit per x’, which has the greatest impact on your economics. For non-profits or social enterprises, this could be a resource engine broken into three parts- time, money, and brand.
  3. What can you be the best in the world at? (and, equally important what you can’t be the best at). If you can’t be great at your core business, then your core business can’t form the basis of your Hedgehog Concept.
Find Clarity In Your Business

Defining your Hedgehog Concept is about clarifying what you do and why you do it. This is an iterative process. How valuable are these ideas on strategy when most leadership teams have too much to do already? It’s all about clarity. A clear strategy and vision ultimately leads to clarity with your people, your suppliers and your customers. Clarity translates into focus. With the increased intensity of focus, your people will accomplish more. Strategy drives revenue. If your company doesn’t want to grow, then these strategy elements will fall on deaf ears. Of course there’s a danger in not growing. As Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds said, “When you're green you grow; when you're ripe, you rot.”

Whether or not you’re a stubborn hedgehog or a wily fox in business, understanding of what you can be the best in business at and stubbornly sticking to it, is a proven key to success. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a blueprint for building a growth-focused company. If you own a business and are feeling frustrated, stuck or unhappy there are a number of steps you can take today.

Next Steps: 

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Hey Ms./Mr. Visionary, is your company getting everything it needs from the Visionary Seat? Not sure?

Start with these questions to find out:

  1. Is your culture something to brag about?
  2. Are you bringing new concepts and ideas to the team?
  3. Do you know the next big thing in your industry?
  4. Are you making connections with the people who could transform your company?
  5. Do you have a true pulse on your market?

If you could not answer yes to the majority of these questions, you most likely have a delegation issue.

In my 15 years of working with entrepreneurs, I have found that one of the biggest things holding the company back is the Visionary not truly embracing their role. “I don’t get what I am supposed to be doing anymore, Jim.” I have heard multiple variations of this sentiment over the years as Visionaries have started their journey to really sitting in their seat.

Visionaries Should Get Clarity of Their Roles  

Many times these Visionary were doers that struggle to see thinking as work. So, they don’t delegate the things they really shouldn’t be doing. They hang on to the sales role, even though it is causing problems with the team. They continue to manage the accounts, even though the customer isn’t really getting the service they need. They are “helping” with the design when it really isn’t much help.

Even if you are good at the role you are performing, is this really your highest and best use in the company? If not, then it is time to delegate.

Your first step to recovery is bringing clarity to the issue. What are all the things you are doing in the company? The best tool for this is your Accountability Chart. Think through your average day/week and be honest about roles that you are really diving into. If you do that work frequently, put yourself on the Accountability Chart for that role. I recently did this with a Visionary/owner and they were surprised to see their name in four other functions besides their real passion: being the Visionary.

Delegating the Work of a Visionary 

Once you have the clarity about the functions you are doing, ask the leader of that function if they think this is truly your highest and best use of time. If you are sitting in multiple Leadership Team seats ask the Integrator the same question. Depending on the size of your company, you very well may need to fill a couple of seats (most likely not 5). Without reducing your role in these additional seats, your time will always be pulled into the urgent, minimizing or eliminating the value you can bring as a Visionary (the important, but not always urgent). Your next step is to delegate what really isn’t your highest and best use. If there is no one to delegate your work to, hire.

I know all of this is easy for me to say (or write about), but trust me, if you are truly gifted as a Visionary, then it will be absolutely worth it. Get out of your team’s way and watch them flourish. Become the Visionary your team and company deserve: DELEGATE.

Next Steps: 

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There are thousands of books written about how to be an effective leader or manager and just as many “Top 10” lists of activities to do every day. The problem is, these books tend to be complex, and the lists don’t give context.

In How to Be a Great Boss, authors Renè Boer and Gino Wickman explain what defines leaders and managers, and describe the four elements of leadership and management.

Leadership

  • “On”
  • Clear Direction
  • Create Openings
  • Thinking

Management

  • “In”
  • Clear Expectations
  • Communication
  • Doing
Leaders vs. Managers

Leadership

Great leaders set aside time to meet with their team to work “on” the business and set the direction for the next five to ten years.

They create openings so employees can see opportunity for growth and advancement. And, they slow down enough to actually “think” about where the business is and where it should be going.

Management

Great managers work “in” the business, setting “expectations” with their direct reports, and communicating frequently and with consistency. This is the “doing” of the day-to-day activities to deliver the company’s products or services.

How to Find Out if You’re a Great Leader or Manager

Leadership

1.) I am giving clear direction – Y/N

  • Sharing company vision
  • Creating openings

2.) I am providing the necessary tools – Y/N

  • Resources
  • Technology
  • Training
  • People
  • Time & attention

3.) I am letting go of the vine – Y/N

  • Delegating to others
  • Not getting in the way

4.) I act with the greater good in mind – Y/N

  • My actions
  • My decisions
  • I walk the talk
  • Put company needs first

5.) I am taking clarity breaks – Y/N

  • Spending time “on” the business
  • Creating clarity
  • Daily, weekly, monthly

Management

When managing my direct reports:

1.) I keep expectations clear – Y/N

  • Mine and theirs
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Share and reinforce company core values
  • KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

2.) I am communicating well – Y/N

  • Two-way conversations

3.) I have the right meeting pulse – Y/N

  • Even exchange of dialogue
  • Weekly
  • Reposting measurables

4.) I am doing quarterly one-on-ones – Y/N

  • Reviewing core value adherence
  • Hitting KPIs
  • Completing priorities (Rocks)
  • GWC the position (Get it, Want it, Capacity to do it)

5.) I am rewarding and recognizing – Y/N

  • Giving positive/negative feedback within 24 hours
  • Criticize in private, praise in public

Review and work to master these four elements of leadership and management, and you’ll see immediate results in your efforts. Like Boer and Wickman remind us, “Often, the only difference between a group of indifferent employees and a fully-engaged team comes down to one simple thing – a great boss.

Next Steps: 

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In a growing company, it’s normal to feel like we're constantly in a battle for resources, results, energy, and people’s time and attention. Often, these daily challenges lead to unwanted tension and frustration.

Under pressure, we tend to focus on external events, such as keeping up with our competition or implementing shiny new technology. Unhealthy tension may also cause us to focus on internal issues, such as unhealthy conflict and personal politics.

"Threats," real or imagined, are much more manageable when leaders focus first on people. Leaders need to establish a Circle of Safety – a firm foundation of trust within teams – rather than playing the blame game.

What is a Circle of Safety?

In his book, Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek explains the concept of a Circle of Safety: “Only when we feel we are in a ‘Circle of Safety’ will we pull together as a unified team, better able to survive and thrive regardless of the conditions outside.”

If the circle is broken, group strength diminishes. When in the Circle of Safety, “We” becomes the protector of “Me.” When we look out for what is best for "We,” “Me” is already covered.

Establishing a Circle of Safety at work creates interdependence, protection and success for all.

How Do We Build a Circle of Safety?

How do we build a deep level of trust within a team, keeping everyone focused, aligned and communicating well?

The entire Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) process is designed to build trust amongst team members. Especially during the Annual Planning session, focus is placed on Team Health and building trust. How can this be done? Fun team social activities work well, such as going to dinner, bowling, go-karting or whirly-ball.

Rooted in the Circle of Safety is the concept of ‘leading by example’ and the willingness to place the needs of others above our own. Sinek comments, “Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.”

Organizations succeed over the long term in both good and bad times when people share values and feel valued. Teams with deep levels of trust can easily act in the best interest of the collective. Being accountable means we share credit and ownership for everything that exists in our business – the good, bad and ugly. When something is bad or ugly, we agree to take responsibility as a team and work together to fix it.

Organizations that achieve the greatest success share an important trait. They all have a firm Circle of Safety in place – a culture in which the leaders look out for the long-term greater good of the organization, even if that means putting their own self-interests aside. This is why they are willing to push hard and take risks.

Next Steps: 

EOS® is a blueprint for building a growth-focused company. If you own a business and are feeling frustrated, stuck or unhappy, there are a number of steps you can take today:

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All too often, leaders and team managers in business overlook the importance of celebrating small wins.

Have you ever heard your boss say, “It’s about time this team made some progress?" I did in my early career in corporate sales, and although the intent was to recognize progress, the tone was negative and uninspiring.

As a leader and/or team member, it’s important to recognize individual and team accomplishments –even when they’re small. By doing so, you recognize their efforts and progress toward larger company goals. This recognition will boost the energy and mood of the team, which will spread throughout the office.

EOS Tool Helps Track Weekly Accomplishments

My clients use several tools from the EOS Toolbox™️ to track and measure their accomplishments on a weekly basis. One tool, The Level 10 Meeting™️, tracks:

  • Weekly Scorecards – key performance indicators
  • to-dos – seven-day action items
  • Rocks – quarterly priorities
  • Issues

At the end of each meeting, team members rate the meeting on a scale of one to 10, 10 being the best. Rating the meeting provides an opportunity to recognize small accomplishments during the week.

Time and time again, I hear team members say, “I never rate anything a 10.” To an extent, I get it. A 10 can be perceived as perfection, and perfection doesn’t exist. But what if you hit your measurables for the week, completed your list of to-dos, all of your Rocks are on track for the quarter and your team solved a few important issues?

Small Wins Drive Employee Engagement

Remember, small wins build confidence, and they’re an opportunity to reflect on what’s working so you can do more of it. Research shows when employees see visible progress and experience small wins, they become more engaged and productive.

So, the next time you have an opportunity to recognize a small win, celebrate it! Ring a bell or give a round of applause. You might even give your team a 10!

Without the small wins, there would be no big celebrations!

Next Steps:

 

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Are you in the habit of getting an annual physical? Many of us do this as a preventative measure to stay healthy.

How about within your organization? Does your leadership team periodically assess the strength of your organization? This is a discipline that is often misunderstood or ignored.

Organizational Checkup Benefits

In my observation, strong businesses require leaders who systematically monitor their organizations, usually on an annual basis. The benefits of a check-up include:

  • A fresh look at what’s working and what’s not, with an opportunity to fix issues before they became debilitating.
  • Enabling the leadership team to get on the same page regarding organizational priorities.
  • Building renewed confidence that the organization will continue to gain strength, year after year.

The Organizational Checkup™ validates alignment around the company’s vision and assures that everyone is utilizing the tools that will help build traction.

EOS® clients answer a simple questionnaire prior to beginning the EOS Process™ and then every year thereafter. This annual discipline helps drive the conversations that lead to strong and cohesive organizations.

Real World Company Alignment

I recently completed a 2-Day Annual Planning Session with one of my client leadership teams. They completed the Organizational Checkup during our session. We then narrowed our focus to questions that were universally scored low by each member and/or skewed with a wide gap in their ratings.

This exercise enabled us to pinpoint the parts of their business that needed the most attention.

Their overall score averaged 70 out of 100, which really is not bad when you consider we strive for 80% or stronger. Of the 20 questions, 3 required specific action focused on Core Processes, Quarterly “state of the company” meetings and the need for more measurables throughout the organization. They left with renewed confidence by adding these items to their long-term issues list.

Consider the discipline of an annual check-up for your organization to help ensure a happy and healthy life span!

Next Steps:

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One key factor in managing people is to provide clear expectations around their roles and responsibilities. This builds the accountability that leads to results.

The 3-Strike Rule is a process for evaluation and action when an employee is not performing up to standards. It offers the feedback needed to help them get on track and set some clear consequences if they don’t.

Using the People Analyzer™

The 3-Strike Rule should only come into play after making an objective assessment of what specific people issues exist. Though “job performance” is a key factor, the character and behaviors of your people are just as important.

The People Analyzer is the perfect tool to help sort things out. Companies running on EOS have all solidified their Core Values, which helps provide an objective assessment of the most important values that must be shared by all of your people.

The People Analyzer is a simple tool that helps you determine if you have all the right people (share your Core Values) in the right seats (GWC their jobs) and ultimately whether you need to apply the 3-Strike Rule.

Here’s how the 3-Strike Rule works:

Strike One: Meet with your employee to address your concerns, get their input and agree on what needs specific attention. Don’t leave this meeting until you have clearly articulated what needs to change and document what has been agreed upon, then meet again in 30 days (get it on the calendar) to review results.

Strike Two: Meet again to review the required actions from the Strike One Meeting. If these actions were not met, try to understand what happened and identify any remaining issues. Put any feedback in writing to avoid any misunderstandings. Agree and document again on the desired change/outcome and schedule to meet in another 30-days to confirm resolution.

Strike Three: If by this time the employee has not rectified the issue, it’s simply time for them to exit the company. They’re clearly not the right person (core values fit) or in the right seat (GWC) or both. After 3 strikes, they’re out!

Strike three will rarely occur because most employees have made corrections by strike two or they have self-selected out because it’s too uncomfortable to continue in an environment where they are held accountable.

Experience with the 3-Strike Rule

Frankly, most entrepreneurs fly by the seat of their pants when addressing performance issues. But those who embrace a simple process like the 3-Strike Rule commonly experience reduced turnover and a more satisfied workforce.

An Integrator from one of my client teams fought hard against implementing a formal process, stating “every situation is different.” After many quarters of “unique” people issues, his team convinced him to adopt the 3-Strike Rule. Two quarters later he and his team reported that overall employee morale was up (measured by the Engagement Multiplier) and that an employee who had been a problem for over a year, quit shortly after the second strike. The clarity of the process helped provide swift results.

The 3-Strike Rule is a simple process for addressing people issues before they blow out of control. It provides clear guidance for managers and employees, and helps reinforce a culture of excellence.

Next Steps:

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You have a great business with a unique product, great market share and good cash flow. You have a clear vision for where you want to take your business. However, without the right people, in the right seats, that vision won’t be shared by your team, you will take longer to achieve it – and even risk it not happening.

Whether you outsource some roles, or employ people direct, you can’t have a good business without good people.

A client I am working with to implement EOS® realized that the operations manager wasn’t performing, clients were unhappy and the department wasn’t functioning. They let him go, and the Integrator worked in the operations department for a quarter to help fix some of the technical issues and resolve client complaints. Then they used their HR process to find and hire the right candidate for Head of Operations.

After on-boarding him, the Scorecard revealed that the number of unresolved tickets on the help desk was increasing. The Integrator brought this to his attention and they added that measurable to the leadership Scorecard so it could be tracked and managed. Subsequently the number is now back on track and that part of the operations department is functioning well.

EOS Tools and the People Component

Using the tools in the People Component™ of EOS ensures that your people match your core values, understand their roles and responsibilities, and the structure of the business.

The key EOS tools are:

  • The Accountability Chart, which defines the structure, roles and responsibilities which you need to help your business grow.
  • The People Analyzer™, which enables you to find out if your team members - and candidates - are right for your business by evaluating whether each one meets and matches your core values.
  • This includes GWC, determining whether each person’s skillset matches the role – the person G = Gets it, W = Wants it and C = has the Capacity to do the job.

The beauty of using these tools is that together they drive accountability and everyone understands how departments function together.

Next Steps:

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Bill Clinton made his national debut with a speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. He went on for 90 minutes. By far his biggest applause line of the night was “And so, in conclusion. . .” If only he’d started there. 

Issue-Solving

It’s human nature to tell the story first and make the point at the end. But issue-solving, using the EOS® IDS™ methodology, works much better when you go the other way around.

I got my personal education in this some years ago when I asked a colleague to help me think through a problem I was having with a potential client. There was a whole story. We met, it went well, we had a follow-up call. Then they disappeared. Then they came back. Then they disappeared again. And so on.

I happened to catch my colleague on a day when he didn’t have much patience. He interrupted, rudely I thought, and asked, “When this story’s over, whenever that might be, what are you going to want from me?”

“Simple,” I said, “I’m going to want to know how I can get the conversation with this company restarted.”

“Got it,” my colleague said. “You don’t need to tell me the rest of the story. The answer is that you can’t. They’re gone. What you need to do is go find some other companies to talk to.”

My colleague was absolutely right. I probably had 12 minutes of story to tell. None of which was going to change his (very good, as it happened) answer.

Issue Solving At Its Best

Issue-solving works best when you start at the end. Know which issues you need to solve in this week’s Level 10 Meeting®. Know who you need help from.

Most importantly, be prepared to tell them right up front exactly what you need from them. What does “done” or “solved” look like for you? What information do you need to give or get? What decision do you think we need to make? Be precise and clear.

You may find that this takes a little practice. One way to do this is to use a sentence like: “When this whole conversation is over, what I’m going to need from you is. . .”

Say that, and then let the team pull out of you what they need.

This will feel a little funny at first. But when the speed at which you and your team solve issues doubles or triples, you’ll learn to love it.

Next Steps:
  • Download the Issues Solving Track™ from the EOS Toolbox to learn how to IDS (Identify, Discuss, and Solve) issues more effectively.
  • Download a copy of the Accountability Chart from the EOS Toolbox™ to help you discover the right structure for your company.
  • Check the strength of your company with the Organizational Checkup™.

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It’s a good rule of thumb that when a member of your team needs to leave, you’re going to experience 36 hours of pain. The only question is when.

Get It, Want It, Capacity to Do It (GWC)

I recently watched a leadership team I have been working with for a year and a half go through that with a team member we’ll call Bill. Bill isn’t a bad guy. In fact, he’s a great guy. But he didn’t GWC™️ his seat on the leadership team. He might have been a fit for a seat one or two levels down, but the company didn’t have that seat.

None of this was a secret. Other team members told me privately that Bill wasn’t up to the job. Yet when I asked if they were going to tell him, they all said, “This team really hates conflict. It will work itself out.”

Eventually, it did. EOS® created so much transparency that the issue simply couldn’t keep hiding. It finally became so obvious in a session that Bill was setting weak Rocks and still not getting them done that the team called him out. Two days later he resigned. 36 hours of pain.

The Elephant in The Room

While Bill was in his seat, critical issues in his department didn’t get solved. That rippled into other departments. The team was unable to have truly open, honest conversations because there was an elephant named Bill in the room. Everything took longer than it needed to. All of this slowed revenue growth and reduced profits.

Clearly, the team’s unwillingness to rip the band-aid off wasn’t good for the company. The thing is, it wasn’t exactly good for Bill, either.

Every day for four years, he got out of bed, showered, shaved and drove fifteen miles to face frustration, failure, and the questioning looks of his peers, his direct reports and his boss. Whenever I saw him, he seemed scared, defensive or depressed. I never heard him laugh. Imagine how he must have felt.

Should he have quit sooner? Of course. But people usually don’t. Most of the time, we need to have the mirror held up to us. Holding that mirror up is your job as a leader. There will be 36 hours of pain. Prolonging the agony never helps.

Ripping off the band-aid isn’t easy. But you’ll feel much better as soon as it’s done.

Next Steps:
  • Download a copy of the Accountability Chart from the EOS Toolbox™ to help you discover the right structure for your company.
  • Download the Issues Solving Track™ from the EOS Toolbox to learn how to IDS (Identify, Discuss, and Solve) issues more effectively.
  • Take the Organizational Checkup™ to get a picture of your company’s strengths and weaknesses, along with a roadmap for improvement.

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