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Two Surprising Things Traction / EOS Helps With That No One Talks About

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Sara SternWe'd like to welcome a guest writer to the Wild Fig blog—Sara Stern of Family Business Minnesota! Sara is a trained coach and EOS Implementer™. She has a unique ability to help family businesses leaders maximize the impact they have on their companies, families and communities. She is also a friend of the Fig who has helped a lot of businesses, including a few clients of ours! Read on to learn more about what she does and how it could help your business.


What People Do Talk About

Many people know the incredible power that the Entrepreneurial Operating System (a.k.a., Traction) does for businesses. 

It is a complete, proven system with simple, practical tools to help leadership teams do three things:  

  1. They get a clear vision for the business, and all leaders get 100% on the same page with where the business is going and how it is going to get there. This is a rare and awesome experience in an entrepreneurial company—sign me up!
  2. They also get Traction which is truly what everyone wants. Right?!? It helps the entire leadership team become more disciplined and accountable, executing really well to achieve every part of the vision.
  3. The really surprising and powerful thing you get when you run on EOS is that you become a healthy team. This means your leaders become a healthy, functional, cohesive leadership team—and we all know leaders often don’t function well as a team. And teamwork makes the dream work!

What many people don’t know or talk about is two other incredible things EOS gives you:

  1. One is Happiness. Gino Wickman read about happiness as he was creating the Entrepreneurial Operating System, and those concepts are woven into the tools we use. 
  2. The other thing it helps with is family business succession. Family business succession, when done poorly, can end family businesses. EOS helps family businesses continue by doing succession well.

So how the heck does EOS do that??!

Family Business Succession

Gino was literally working shoulder-to-shoulder with his own dad in their family business when he started reading every book there was to read about leadership and management and how to run a great business. 

He created two incredible tools that help two generations of a family business get together on what they want from the business. He created the Vision Traction Organizer and the Accountability Chart.

Shared Vision

The first tool is the Vision Traction Organizer (V/TO). It is a 1-page document that clearly outlines the strategic direction for the business and how you’re going to accomplish it. It is a simple and a powerful way for family members to truly agree and commit to where they’re going.

Imagine this—if the leadership team of your family business answered these 8 questions and then agreed to make decisions based on them, how much easier would your conversations be?

  • What are your core values?
  • What is your core focus (your purpose, cause or passion, and your niche)?
  • What is your 10 year target?
  • What is your marketing strategy?
  • What is your 3 year picture?
  • What are your 1 year goals?
  • What are your highest priorities for the next 90 days?
  • What are your issues?

Clear Roles

The second tool that Gino Wickman created that really helps family business succession go well is the Accountability Chart. The Accountability Chart is essentially an organizational chart on steroids. It outlines the functions of the business and what each person is accountable for. When done right it starts with the structure needed for the business and then puts the right people into those seats—not the other way around! It helps family businesses make it clear what skills are needed in the next generation. It also helps family businesses avoid building jobs around family members or keeping family members around that aren’t truly supporting the future of the business. 

When family businesses have a shared (and agreed-upon) vision and the roles you need to accomplish that vision are clear, succession gets significantly better. EOS is NOT a tool made just for family business succession but it is incredibly good at helping it happen.


So what about happiness and why do I care about that?

As Daniel Pink pointed out in his book, Drive, when people have autonomy, mastery and purpose, they are more engaged in their jobs. When you like your job more, you’re happier. EOS helps people have autonomy by showing them clearly what their job is through the Accountability Chart. It gives them mastery by showing them where they can grow in the business, giving them numbers to shoot for and processes to follow. And purpose—just looking at a V/TO (Vision Traction Organizer), the 2nd item you see is the purpose, cause or passion of the business. Team members who work in EOS companies have a purpose they are fighting for with their colleagues every day.

EOS helps people like their colleagues too. And that leads to happiness. When you spend 1/3 of your day (or more) at work with people you like, you’re happier. Companies that run on EOS hire, fire, review, reward and recognize their team based on a shared set of values. When you’re surrounded by people who share the same values, you like those people more. When you like your colleagues more, you have fewer bummer moments in your day. When you have few bummer moments, you’re happier. Boom.

Happiness often comes out of keeping things in perspective. It comes out of knowing what is the highest priority and knowing you can get it done. It is about having clarity and confidence that what you’re doing is the right thing and moving you forward. EOS is full of tools like that. Just think about rocks, to-dos, measurables, and the rarely used and very important clarity break!

EOS requires you to have open and honest communication and to avoid politicking in your work and with your colleagues.

Finally – EOS Is designed to help you have the EOS Life. What is the EOS Life? It is this:

  • Do work you love
  • With people you love
  • Make a huge difference
  • Get compensated well
  • And have time for other passions

If that isn’t a recipe for happiness, I don’t know what is!?!!

Now what

If you want more happiness or a clearer path for family business succession—or even more fun—or all of those things, here is what you can do:

  • Email me to get a free copy of the book Traction that talks about all of these tools and more
  • Call me and let’s talk about how this could work in your business

Call or email me today at (612) 220-6559 or Let’s talk about the future of your family business.