Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Traction: A fabulous resource for your business

I've gotten some emails asking why I'm not posting more on the site lately - the short answer? I've been really busy lately! As I mentioned in the past, I've recently taken on a new role in my company - running a new line of business. traction_cover.jpg As part of this move, I've been building a new team and trying to establish new "habits" around the way we communicate, work, collaborate, etc.

As is often the case, some resources showed up at just the right time to help me (I love it when that happens). This time, it was in the form of Gino Wickman's book, "Traction: Get a Grip on your Business." This book is really designed for a someone running an entire business - not just a division like mine. However, the concepts can easily be adapted for a team, a department, or anything larger.

Even more intriguing to me: this book just showed up for me, but it's been out there for about 3 years. Apparently, there is a re-launch going on around this book - Providence, just in time for me.

Write your own EOS

Core to Traction is the 'EOS,' or Entrepreneurial Operating System - a set of practices, principles, and more - designed to help you establish and maintain clarity, accountability, and alignment within your business.

The book focuses on what I believe is the "trifecta" of a successful business:

  • everyone is on the same page about what you're trying to achieve, how you plan to get there, and has the right metrics and indicators to track progress;
  • everyone is crystal clear on their roles & responsibilities (and there is only one owner for everything);
  • everyone agrees how they will work through issues, red flags, and obstacles encountered along the journey.

Wickman's content is crisp, actionable, and supported by a great tool set (the EOS Toolbox, available from the EOS Process web site for free). The book takes you through a lot of essential exercises, geared to help you establish the artifacts you need to align your business. This Toolbox makes the "hard work" of business a Hell of a lot easier. I'm not sure where Wickman got all of this content, but it's good stuff. While it intersects with lots of things I've read already from other authors, Wickman's approach smacks of real-world, tried & true process - not a bunch of theory.

One example is the notion of "Get the right people on the bus, and get people in the right seats," popularized by Jim Collins in his book "Good to Great." I've read this advice before, but have never been quite sure of how to really go about making sure that was happening. Wickman provides a set of tools and techniques to figure this out pretty quickly - using a simple "plus / minus" analysis of people's suitability to their roles. The book provides an example of this evaluation, and a worksheet is available on the EOS Process site.

Leadership Abilities - they're not just for the leader any more

One thing I think you'll like is "The Five Leadership Abilities" in this book:

  1. Your ability to simplify.
  2. Your ability to delegate & elevate.
  3. Your ability to predict.
  4. Your ability to systemize.
  5. Your ability to structure.

Each of these five areas is addressed as you progress through the book, and you'll get better at every one of them if you use the methodology in the book.

I really like the way all of the techniques drive toward focus and alignment - for example, pushing to get you down to a small number of metrics you focus on to run your business, making sure everyone is focused on "one number" for their job, driving toward small objectives that move toward bigger goals, etc.

The side benefit of this process is that you end up spreading leadership throughout the team - each person gets to own some part of the business, and act as a leader within that area. This is key for scalability, engagement, and keeping people challenged as the business changes. I've worked in environments where I never felt a sense of ownership or empowerment, and I want to try to prevent that within my team.

Test your business - and see if you need Traction

This book is a quick read, but it is jam packed with content, and each aspect of the EOS is a significant project. If I were to detail every bit of the book here, this would probably be the longest post I've ever done. To boil it down: I recommend this book to leaders (and aspiring leaders) without reservation.

If you want to quickly find out whether Traction would benefit your business, why not take an organizational assessment today? It's free, and only takes a few minutes. Then, if you find out you should be better than you are, pick up your own copy of Traction and get to work.

By the way, if you aren't convinced but want a taste of Wickman's work, there is a free ebook called "Decide! The One Common Denominator of All Great Leaders" that you might enjoy.