Using EOS® to Develop Business Operations Strategies

For many new and growing businesses, operational questions tend to take a back seat to the demands of meeting customer expectations and identifying new prospects. Business operations—things like the processes governing how things are done, how work is staffed, and the tools used to make it all happen—often only become a focus after their lack of clarity is already a serious problem.

For a business that is up against the operations ceiling, EOS® can be transformative. Businesses that run on EOS learn to think about growing internally to achieve greater external growth over the long haul. Much of internal growth depends on improving the way the business works.

EOS is all about operational clarity

The term “operations” can mean different things to different people and in different industries. In one of my client’s recent annual meetings two of their executives used the word “operations” to refer to completely separate parts of the business.

One thought of it as all the moving parts related to their work for clients. His role focused heavily on the service end of their business, which was where most of their “operations” sit.

The other thought of it as the business’s administrative side—its HR, finance, and legal functions. His work focuses primarily on sales and financial matters, so he liked to think of “operations” as having a distinctly back-office character.

Both of them were right.

What does business operations usually mean?

Business operations encompasses a broad range of ideas that really reach throughout a business. There are three key parts of the operations equation for every kind of business:

  • Processes of all kinds

Until a business has reduced its way of working to clearly defined processes, it isn’t much more than a collection of people. Well-defined processes are what turn a business from collection of professionals into a valuable organization in its own right.

Many of the tools in the EOS Toolbox™ are designed to help businesses develop better processes. The EOS Process™ itself can be thought of as a process incubator. Among other things, it provides a shared framework for solving issues. More often than not, a lasting solution requires a documented process.

The Integrator for one of my clients told me the other day that she can’t believe how long they went without getting their processes organized. Before EOS they were all spread too thin, and mistakes were piling up. She calls their processes their “script for getting things done.” For their business and many other like it, just writing down how they do things has been huge.

  • Choosing the right people

Hiring decisions are the most important choices a business leader can make. With the right employees (and key vendors), the sky’s the limit.

The simplicity of the EOS People Analyzer™ sometimes takes executives by surprise. The question it asks is straightforward: does an individual fit into the company’s values? By putting a structure around how that question is answered, the People Analyzer offers an accurate way to use a business’s Core Values to measure the extent to which someone will fit within the organization.

Nothing is closer to the “operation” of a business than its people. Diagnosing fit problems can be really tough without a tool like the People Analyzer. I’ve seen some teams go through big changes after applying the People Analyzer and discovering that their team makeup was wrong.

Sometimes the right answer is for the company to part ways with a certain person. In other cases, the right answer is to hire a contractor full time, because they’ve checked all the right boxes. In both cases, operations get better.

  • Having the right tools

With so much emphasis on setting goals, building great communication, and problem solving, the tools employees use to run a business can feel like an afterthought. But their role in business operations often comes to the fore during routine IDS™ conversations. EOS provides the decision-making steps for both identifying where systems and tools can help a business grow, and making the right choices.

During their Vision Building™ day, one of my clients identified project management as its top issue. They had two separate systems running, not to mention the strategies each person was using independently to keep track of tasks. Whenever a question came up about the status of a project, the answer could only be reached after several phone calls and a flurry of emails. It was killing productivity.

Over the next few months, the team used the tools they’d gained from EOS to evaluate their systems. A big turning point came when the team was deciding between two project management platforms and someone in the room suggested they evaluate them in light of their V/TO™, essentially using the People Analyzer process to study software.

“It was a little weird,” their CEO said to me, “but it helped us figure out the features we really needed.”

Once again, EOS showed how it could transform business operations.

Get on the road to improving your business operations with EOS

Has your business used EOS to improve the way it works? I’d love to hear your stories. Send me an email or give me a call to start a conversation.