For entrepreneurs, or any business owner for that matter, one of the key functions is to manage risk. Warren Buffett says that all business management is essentially risk management. That which we know and can measure, we can manage. If we know of a risk, we are better able to manage the risk. But there is a key ingredient missing in just about every organization. There is no operating system. There isn’t a systematic framework for distilling the vision into actionable steps, managing the team, managing meetings, coordinating communication and executing on the vision and goals.
While there are a number of effective operating systems in the marketplace, EOS has developed one with the startup or small business in mind. At the heart of the system is recognizing the two key roles in every business. The business starts with the Visionary… almost always the Founder. But he or she desperately needs the Integrator.
In the very early days the Visionary usually has no choice but to play both roles. But recognizing the need for a true Integrator enables the Visionary to work toward identifying someone to take on this role as soon as possible. Further, it provides tools for the person with the aptitude to be an Integrator, to actually be an effective Integrtor.
EOS finds this operating system really kicks into gear when teams are approximately 10 people, and it scales well up to about 250. That doesn’t mean the essence of the system cant be utilized before the team gets to the magical 10. On the contrary. The sooner a methodology is in place, the better. The tool-set can help the Visionary at least double up doing an adequate job on Integration until they can turn the reigns over.
The Integrator, by the way, does not need to hold a specific title. They could be Chief of Staff, Operations Director etc. It doesn’t matter. Performing the functions is what matters.
But why an “operating system?” Every member of a team comes to the equation with past experience. They may have strong ideas as to what needs to be done, priorities etc. What they almost always lack is a system. A repeatable methodology. A documented, proven blue-print that can be communicated to the team; and it empowers everyone to row in the same direction. Its more than just a set of checklists that a Project Manager would employ. Further, the EOS system identifies the critical need to capture the vision and goals of the Visionary and convert those into actionable steps that generate cohesive progress faster.
Our own experience is mirrored in just about every startup we see day in and day out. When we ask entrepreneurs to describe their operating system it usually draws a blank stare. If they do describe one, it’s almost never the same description if we ask someone else on the same team. No matter. This is normal. The key is to be aware of the gap and find a way to address it. Again, the EOS system is as good as we have seen.
In subsequent posts, we’ll describe the attributes and challenges of the Visionary. We’ll do the same for the Integrator. We’ll share how teams can leverage outside coaching to help implement and stay on track with an operating system. We’ll also be transparent and share some of the examples of where we made (and make) mistakes and are working to course correct.
We want entrepreneurs and investors to win. While there is no one way to get from here to there, part of what we bring to the table is a lot of experience and pattern observation. When we find something that works, we’re going to surface it for your benefit. There are few tool-sets we can speak more highly about than EOS.