Book of the Month: Traction
As you work with your leadership team on building your business and organization to grow more easily, profitably and sustainably, it helps to have a methodology or set of tools to use, rather than figuring out on your own what best practices to implement.
Over the 17 years I’ve been working with CEOs and their leadership teams, I’ve learned to implement a half dozen methodologies, including the Scaling Up method and the 7 Attributes of Growth tools.
Traction, a book written by Gino Wickman, summarizes another such methodology: EOS (the Entrepreneurial Operating System). Like Scaling Up and the 7 Attributes of Growth, it goes beyond setting mere mission, vision, values and priorities to also address people and execution.
This isn’t coincidental. Gino was a coach in our network several years ago and used our tools. He then founded his own network of coaches and wrote Traction to capture his approach. Scaling Up and the 7 Attributes of Growth were written since that time and included many best practices that Gino did not, like the daily huddle and cash flow optimization tools.
That said, Gino includes a couple of unique tools I have found useful, for example, the People Analyser and the Visionary-Integrator model, which I sometimes implement with the CEOs and leadership teams I work with.
The People Analyser is a simple form to quickly evaluate each employee against the company’s core values. The companies I work with use this as input to our talent assessment where leadership team members assess each of their direct reports and then hold each other accountable to coach them up or out.
The Visionary-Integrator model is a way for dynamic, creative owners and CEOs to pick and effectively work with a co-CEO who is stronger in the disciplined, structured and organizational aspects of running the company that are needed to enable predictable, profitable and sustainable growth. It enables the owners to do what they do best while also having someone with the other critical skills needed to truly move the business forward.
Gino packages the best practices he selected into the six areas of EOS: Vision (including high level strategy and execution planning), People, Data (metrics), Issues, Process and Traction (meeting rhythms).
EOS and Traction is a solid, simple approach with easy-to-use tools. In my experience, it works best for smaller companies up to about 25 employees. Beyond that, there tend to be certain challenges that come up that EOS doesn’t address, for example: leadership team cohesiveness, team member productivity, effective hiring, leadership mindset, cascading metrics, planning priorities, clear competitive strategy and financial optimization, planning and forecasting.
By contrast, Scaling Up and the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth include most of the best practices found in EOS, and also address these additional challenges as they come up. The 7 Attributes of Agile Growth then go beyond to tackle some of the more nuanced challenges of growth like customer experience, systems and change and leaders’ health. See last month’s Book of the Month for more information.
If you’re looking for a simplified methodology with user-friendly terminology and a detailed how-to playbook to get started implementing a set of best practices, Traction may do the trick.
Book: 251 pgs, 6h56m audio.
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