EOS® Business Strategies for Sustainable Development
Sustainability is the keystone of a business’s value. That’s just as true for an entrepreneur whose goal is to build a company for sale within a few years, as it is for business leader who plans to run the same firm for decades.
What drives sustainability? The answer sounds simple: process. People and customers come and go. Well-designed processes, on the other hand, endure.
Anyone who has led a business will tell you that developing processes is hard work. Many small businesses get by for years relying on the talent of just a few key people. The team knows their stuff, often mixing process ideas from former employers with new ideas born out of necessity.
Doing business that way is not sustainable. At some point, the business hits a wall.
Sustainability is about process, not people
I spoke with a former VP of Nestlé about this. Over the course of his career, he led teams in facilities around the world. He puts it bluntly: “Nine times out of ten, when something goes wrong it’s due to a process failure, not a people failure. If you hire and train the right way and something goes wrong, don’t waste time looking for the person to blame. It’s a process that’s to blame.”
The perspective from Nestlé, a vast multinational conglomerate with roots in the mid-nineteenth century, may feel inapplicable to a small business. Think again! By focusing on process, a business at any scale can take control of its growth trajectory.
How does EOS® help businesses build better processes?
Business leaders often turn to EOS because it offers a huge shortcut. The EOS Toolbox™ is all about process. Rather than having to reinvent every wheel to make the business move forward and grow, with EOS the leadership team can rely on proven methods to begin working with a process-first mindset right away.
As a Certified EOS Implementer®, I spend a lot of time with businesses that are looking for answers to complex questions:
- How do we keep the team in sync without losing time?
- What can we do about all the dropped balls and missed opportunities?
- Why do we keep making the wrong hiring choices?
- Why do new hires keep upending how we do things?
EOS concepts like the Accountability Chart, Level 10 Meetings™, and GWC™ are each deceptively simple on their own, but together they form a comprehensive system that helps executives efficiently tackle the shortcomings within the business itself.
Using the Three-Step Process Documenter™: A Case Study
Like so many tools in the EOS Toolbox, the Three-Step Process Documenter looks too obvious to be effective. Sometimes, I need to make believers out of skeptics.
The Process Documenter has three steps: Identify, Discuss, and Solve, or IDS. Many businesses overcomplicate their decisions by putting carts before horses. They’ll discuss what they think is the problem for hours, only to solve a different one. IDS forces everyone at the table to go through the same steps together.
Carl is the owner of an engineering business, which he’s run since the mid-90’s. He’s good at what he does, and his team is full of people he has mentored. As an engineer, he tends to look for the most straightforward solution to a problem. Except, that is, when it comes to his business.
When I started working with Carl, he’d lost two key people in the prior month. The team was scrambling to keep projects on schedule and searching for qualified hires. “It all comes down to not knowing how to get out of our own way,” he told me at the time.
EOS in general, and the Three-Step Process Documenter in particular, have been critical to the company’s turnaround.
“The first time I saw IDS I thought it was a joke,” Carl told me. “I said to myself, ‘It can’t be that simple.’”
In the two years since they started running on EOS, Carl’s team has adopted the mantra, “Let’s IDS it!”
I asked him what changed. “Putting the Identify step first,” he said. “We didn’t know who our enemy was. Now we take the time to understand the real source of a problem so we can tackle it at its root.”
Today, Carl’s business is humming. The processes they have developed by following IDS run throughout the company. They have used IDS to resolve inefficiencies in their management structure, improve the way they screen new hires, and fine-tune the way they manage projects.
Run on EOS To achieve sustainable development
Are you ready to grow your business from the inside? I’m here to answer your questions about EOS and set you and your team on a path to a more sustainable future. Send me an email or give me a call at (818) 649-1103 to get a conversation started today!