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Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

By: Gino Wickman
Publisher: Virtual CEO
Publication Date: January 2011
ISBN: 978-0979799037
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 14, 2011

Sometimes when you are a business owner, it’s difficult to figure out exactly what you want to do with your business and which way you want to go with it. There are many business books out there, but if you are floundering and don’t know quite what to do, this is the perfect book to learn how to restructure your business. The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) will help you whether you are a startup operation or a large company with many years experience and a hundred employees to deal with. If you feel you’ve lost the reins of your business, your people are not fully engaged, your profit margin ratio is negatively skewed, you’re hitting the ceiling, and nothing seems to be working, you’re a prime candidate for EOS.

Gino Wickman claims that he helps businesses “melt away” these frustrations, but as I read about the process it was not quite as simple as that. No doubt this system will help your business succeed, but there is a lot of work to be done before implementing the program. Wickman claims that “EOS is a holistic, self-sustaining system that addresses the six aspects of your business.” The six aspects are recognizing and imparting your vision to those around you, getting “the right people in the right seats,” getting a pulse on your business through data analysis, addressing preexisting problem issues, training your people to implement a defined process, and putting it all together and make your vision a reality (traction).

Perhaps, as I see it, the most important step is defining your vision and imparting it to your employees. This section is very thorough and “insists” you do things like define the core values of your company, develop a marketing strategy, set short (Rocks) and long term goals, take a close look at your problem areas, and closely examine the workings of your company. The statement, “Clarify your vision and you will make better decisions about people, finances, strategies, and customers” jumps out from the pages, but you aren’t left dangling. Although the text can be read like a novel, there is a definite step-by-step approach to outline your company’s vision. There are examples of actual entrepreneurs working through this process, charts, a downloadable Vision/Traction Organizer (V/TO), and things like checklists to work with.

This book provides an excellent, workable solution to getting your business back on track. The text is what you might call “dense.” There is no filler material in this book and every word, sentence, and paragraph is there for a reason. Wickman starts off by encouraging us to let go of the vine so to speak and go back to the beginning to get a wider picture of what is going right and what is holding you back. Eventually he does talk about how and why some people must be let go, including those who may have been with you at the start of your business. I worked through one section as if I were going to use this in my own business. I took copious notes and could easily see how and why EOS would work.

As I worked further into the book I could see how the plan was outlined and could be implemented. Although it is very workable, it might take a team to brainstorm together after reading this book as there is a lot of information to absorb. He does encourage the reader to delegate responsibility and this concept would work nicely if several people worked through the EOS process together. The author mentions several other books and concepts I’ve heard of before. For example he talks about BHAGs or “Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals,” a concept many other business books embrace. The only thing I didn’t care for was the very small print and diagrams. What I would love to see is this book printed in a spiral book format for easy accessibility. That way sections could be tagged and referred to easily.

Quill says: In a nutshell, the EOS method is one of the best I’ve seen and is definitely worth taking a look at if you want to restructure your company and move ahead!

Feathered Quill

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