Neel here, Founder of MaidThis Franchise.
I did a podcast episode recently on my favorite show called Tropical MBA. You can listen to the episode here: https://www.tropicalmba.com/neel-parekh-eos/
In the episode, I talked about my retro-fitted version of the Entrepreneur Operating System from the book Traction by Gino Wickman. I have all of our franchisees learn this system and implement t themselves. I did a write-up about this in the DynamiteCircle forum, which is a private forum group.
A few people reached out to me to ask if they could read it since they didn’t have access to the private forum, so I thought “Why not just put it out on the blog so people can see it?”
So, here it is!
Couple quick disclaimers:
- First – The EOS system is trademarked by Gino Wickman. I don’t own any rights or make any claims to it, the brand EOS is not mine at all, etc etc etc. This is just my version of it.
- Second – You should read the book Traction if you haven’t yet to get the proper understanding of the system. The below is just what worked for me, but the full-on EOS system may be more right for you.
- Third – I copy/pasted the below from my forum post so a lot of the tags and formatting might be off.
[Case Study] Implementing the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) to Systemize My Operations
This is Part 2 (ish) of my case study to systematize my company’s operations and growth, with the end goal to hire a General Manager and get me completely out of my existing function in the company and focused 100% on what I like doing, which is biz dev.
Phase 1 was to figure out how much money I had to even hire a General Manager (ask about my Profit First Case Study)
This current phase is about implementing an operating system with my management team, which I can eventually hand off to someone else (i.e. a GM) to manage. I knew that I wanted to implement SOME proven and existing system…I’ve been trying to reinvent the wheel by creating my own system for a long time now. So I decided on the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) from the book Traction.
I got linked up with Ike & Erson (one of @AdamAnderson ‘s companies), run by DCer named @AnthonyThomas. Ike & Erson implements EOS and Profit First, among other things, and I had just implemented Profit First with them in my company.
Anthony is a pure “Integrator”, if you’re familiar with the term. I brought on Anthony in a fractional executive capacity to implement EOS and also be my right-hand guy for my franchise development project, the method we decided to use to scale my company.
This ended up being a much longer Case Study than I anticipated bc there is so much that went into the implementation. If you don’t want to power through the whole thing, read the “tl;dr” and “My Key Takeaway” sections in the different phases.
If I was to summarize my main pain-point, it would be that I had no true accountability system for my team and I wanted to scale my company, but didn’t have the KPIs handy to know what’s working and what isn’t. We didn’t have a clear company vision besides “lets just work and grow”. Some things I wanted to happen:
I wanted a formalized way to run my meetings and hold my team members accountable to company KPIs
I wanted an easy way to actually track KPIs, and tie everyone’s job descriptions to this
I wanted an official Quarterly Review system on which to evaluate my team (not just hop on a call with my team member and say “Heyyy you’re doing pretty good overall, keep it up!” or “Heyyy you’re totally shitting the bed, stop please!”)
I wanted to solidify our path forward and vision, and tie in our KPIs to this goal so that the team is working in unison towards that
What is the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) anyways?
The system is based on the book titled Traction. I have this book on my shelf and read it last year…and (same as with Profit First) just half-assed the implementation.
The EOS system, while very good in its fundamentals, seems like it was designed for slightly more mature companies than MaidThis (ex: Traction recommends making a 10 year vision for the company with my full C-Suite leadership team. I don’t have a full C-Suite leadership team yet and I have no freakin’ clue where I want to be in 10 years).
Anthony developed a slimmed down version that seemed much more digestible and easier to implement for a company of my size. It’s what Ike & Erson calls “EOS Lite”. I was happy to have something which seemed like the 80/20 of EOS to implement, so we decided to roll with that.
Implementing EOS Lite
The EOS Lite system aimed to address 3 key components for MaidThis:
- Structure: Do we have the right org structure and the right people in the right roles/seats?
- Systems: Are things documented and systematized about our business processes that will be followed by all? Note: This part of EOS Lite is to make sure all my systems are documented. I’m going through a consulting process to convert MaidThis into a franchise, and therefore didn’t need to do this part of EOS Lite. But just note that its part of an EOS implementation normally.
- Sustainability-Accountability (Meetings & Goals Rhythm): How are we holding the team accountable to improve and achieve our company’s growth goals?
We designed this overhaul to be done as modules over time, so it was more of a gradual step-by-step process (versus a huge info dump which might cause a shock to my team).
In my mind, the step-by-step process to implement EOS Lite went as follows:
Phase 1: Are my people in their correct seats? Wait, what’s the seating chart supposed to look like anyways?
Prior to EOS Lite, I had an Org Chart of how my current company was structured. Keyword is current, which isn’t necessarily the ideal structure…its just showed what org structure I had running at the time.
The first thing Anthony did was read all of my team members job descriptions and roles.
Next, I had to create a new Accountability Chart (not an org chart, I’ll explain later) that answered the question ‘What will my company look like 1 year from now if all goes according to plan?’ No team members names were used…purely their job title. It was VERY tough for me to try to not have a bias based on the personnel I currently had (ex “well this person excels as X and his job is X, so maybe we should structure it like this”…I had to create the Accountability Chart with only titles and what would be the ideal structure assuming I had no personnel.
After this, we combined the key components of each role’s job description into the org chart. This explained very concisely what the person is in charge of and the MAIN goals of their Seat/position. Basically what I had across 2 pages of my job description was summarized into small bullet point format under each Seat (position) as roles. Simple is key to make anything stick.
Lastly after this process, we took a step back and talked about it, analyzed what changes needed to be made, and I presented this concise visual to my team.
tl;dr: Create a very simple Accountability Chart on how you want your org to look in the future.
My Key Takeaways/Findings from Phase 1….
My Customer Support team was previously under my Sales Team, in my original org chart. Anthony and I analyzed the Accountability chart and what each role was doing, and came to the conclusion that this needs to be a full-blown different department. I was bogging down my Sales team (and probably not handling customers as best as we could) by having everything under 1 department. We ended up separating this and identified the need to hire a C-Level Customer Support Manager (which was a gaping hole).
It also became super clear on how my Sales Department could grow and scale by hyper-focusing on just sales. So visually seeing it made the path forward much easier by clarifying what changes/hired are needed in the future..
Phase 2: Should we be friends or nah?
Next stage – now that we have the IDEAL structure, do we have the right team?
First we revisited my 4 Core Values for the company and further fleshed it out (which is a very important component to ANY company). If you’re scaling a team, definitely iron out your Core Values first.
Anthony introduced me to something called the Performance Evaluator from EOS as the basis to hire, develop/evaluate and fire. This was something I realllyyy wanted, which is a formal system to follow to evaluate my team on an ongoing basis.
Simple is better, and this is as simple as it gets. Below is pretty much it…you evaluate each team member based on the Core Values & GWC (Get it, Want it, have the Capacity to do it) for the roles listed with their Seat. If someone is below “The Bar” for Core Values and GWC, you discuss it with them and create a plan, using the Three-Strike Rule, for them to be above The Bar. That’s it.
We ran this across everyone in my organization.
tl;dr: Clarify Core Values. Use this + GWC as your Quarterly Review template to grade your team.
My key takeaways from Phase 2….
I ended up firing one person as it was blatantly obvious he wasn’t a Core Value fit.
I still use this system to evaluate my team on an ongoing basis as needed. Ex: last week my management team was talking about if a new hire is a good fit or not based on some issues we were seeing. We went through the above process and dissected that she wasn’t displaying our first Core Value (“Own it”), so she is below The Bar. I’ll have a review with this new hire to let her know the evaluation and discuss a path forward to fix it.
Personally I’m loving the simplicity of this, as opposed to doing a formal “360 Review” or something like that.
Phase 3: Where the hell are we going?
Next up – clarifying our Company Priorities and KPIs.
This exercise is more about planning your goals and jotting down EXACTLY what defines that. I created a vision of where we’d ideally be in 1 year 2 years, and 3 years. Its both a revenue target (which I had to translate to our main way of tracking this, which is # of cleanings) and also other growth goals (expand to X # of cities, hire a General Manager, etc).
tl;dr: Plan your goals down to a tee with your team. Make sure your leadership team knows where the company is going and is in agreement.
My key takeaways from Phase 3….
Sounds simple and I think we all generally know where we are going, but there is definitely power in having it formally written down and, most importantly, presenting to your team.
Phase 4: How the hell do I track my team’s performance and fix it when its not working?
The previous phase was more about planning our company goals and vision.
This phase is (in my opinion) the most important and hardest to stay on top of: translating those goals into company KPIs, quarterly goals, and then tying everyone’s job success to those goals. And (this was the part that was missing for me before) having a system to constantly check on these KPIs and hold the team accountable.
- Step 1: I changed the structure of my weekly management meeting to the same structure as EOS’s “Level 10” meeting. It’s a very structured 1.5 hour meeting to review main goals, KPIs, and discuss and solve top key issues that week.
- Step 2: Set quarterly “ROCKS” with my management team, which are tied to the overall Vision, and have each department lead own their rock. A ROCK is a quarterly goal that must get completed by the end of the quarter. Part of the Level 10 itinerary is to check in with everyone on this every single week, so we have it top of mind always.
- Step 3: Create our SCORECARD, which is our KPIs. Originally I wanted a fancy automated way to view our KPIs in a graph so everyone can see…but I just never did it bc of how difficult it was to aggregate information. The SCORECARD numbers are KPIs that my leadership team and I come up with that dictates the health of the company, such as weekly churned clients, new clients, cleaners hired, etc. Each management team member is in charge of filling out their assigned KPI, so its not all of me anymore to aggregate this information.
tl;dr: Start weekly Level 10 meetings using that specific structure. Set quarterly goals for individuals in management team that are tied to the 3-year and 1-year vision goals. Weekly review of your KPIs during the meeting.
That’s it! The most important thing now is to be consistent and trust the new system we implemented until the new structure becomes habit (and hopefully trickles down to the rest of the organization).
My key takeaways from Phase 4…
The common theme across all productivity books I’ve read (whether it be The One Thing or Getting Things Done) is that you should really nail down the top 1-3 things which are going to move the needle and focus 100% of your energy on that. The Level 10 meeting itinerary forced us to pick only the top 3 issues we need to talk about and resolve, and then focus our entire attention on that while the rest of the company keeps on working well. It gets the entire leadership team to reassess priority on a weekly basis to move towards our goal, and all work on those things.
I’m stoked that now we officially track, review, and hold team leads accountable to the KPIs every single week. If KPIs aren’t updated or quarterly goals aren’t being hit, there’s basically built-in social pressure to get on top of it since we talk about it every week.
I think it’s taking a bit of time for my team to buy into this new format, it feels a bit clunky at times. However I’m feeling comfortable in knowing that this is a proven system and not something that I just invented for us.
Results To Date
It’s a bit hard to tie to quantify why having an internal system like this is helpful…you can’t really see it on the bottom-line (yet). However, more than anything it’s about giving the entire team clarity on where we’re going and how the organization should look.
While going through this process, the below happened:
- Fired 1 team member who wasn’t in line with our Core Values, based on the People Analyzer Tool.
- I officially have an easy system for quarterly reviews now. I also tell all new hires EXACTLY what we’re going to grade them on (I actually just send them the same People Analyzer screenshot I posted above, but with our Core Values inputted)
- Established KPIs with my team and (finally) have a systematized way to track this data weekly
- Identified a new department that’s needed (Customer Support) based on our work on the Accountability Chart (org chart + key roles per “seat”). Clarified what the Sales Team needed and decided to focus that department ONLY on Sales (not other tasks).
- Talking through a 3-Year Picture and a 1-Year Plan and got buy in from my team. Set individual ROCKS (i.e. goals) for each leadership team member that track towards these overarching 3-year / 1-year plans.
- Beginning weekly Level 10 Leadership Team meetings, with having a Scorecard as leading indicators of the business. TBD on its effect on our organization as we’re still getting comfortable with it.
While many things were beneficial that came out of this implementation, I think the 3 main things about the system that have immediately moved the needle for me are (i) super simple People Analyzer Tool (ii) KPI’s established and tracked weekly (iii) Accountability Chart clarity for the entire team.
Conclusion / My Thoughts
It’s still too early to say definitively if this system helps us grow. However the main benefits for me to date are mainly clarifying and SIMPLIFYING the base on which that growth can happen.
Simple is easier for me, and I tend NOT to stick to a new system if its a lot of work (even if it would be effective in the long run). I believe that it’s significantly more impactful to have an effective slimmed down system that follow 100% rather than a bulky system that we maybbee follow through with.
I’m realizing that it would have been wayyyy easier to just pick an existing proven system and roll with that instead of trying to figure it out myself for the last 6 years. Someone already did all the work to figure this out, why not just follow their format? In this case, I was happy to follow the EOS Lite formula.
Another realization that came out of this implementation is that I am definitely NOT an Integrator, and I need someone who is more nuts-and-bolts focused to keep me on track, operationalize vision and push constructively for kaizen/continuous improvement ) within the team and company and keep the process moving
Most entrepreneurs have to step into different roles to keep things going, even if it’s not our strengths. For ex: I’m not great at keeping track of all of my to-dos to implement a system and I tend to move pretty quickly through a project, so I always have that feeling that things are “slipping through the cracks”. Therefore it’s a good match to work with someone who is an Integrator-type who can keep things moving, or visa-versa depending on your personality type.
Next up – make the EOS Lite system a habit, and get it to trickle down the organization. After that, hire a GM.