Building Your Vision

Mission and VisionMy management team and I recently completed our second Vision Building™ Day with our Certified EOS Implementer, Walt Brown.  While we have ‘self-implemented’ EOS for several years (I won’t tell you what Walt calls that), it has been uneven to say the least.  But with Walt’s help, I feel like we are really on track.

The two Vision Building™ Days, a part of the EOS implementation, were very enlightening.  It is always great to get the management team out of the office for a day or two to focus on the ubiquitous “working-on-the-business-versus-working-in-the-business.”  But as tired as that cliche is, when done right it can help you breakthrough ceilings, even some you didn’t know were there.

What Made This Year’s Vision Building™ Day So Different?

The best part of the Vision Building™ Day was having Walt facilitate the discussion.  In all our prior meetings, it falls to me the lead the discussion (or maybe it is just my nature to do so), but something I noticed was when I wasn’t “leading the discussion,” it went in many different ways that I would have never suspected.

I’m beginning to realize that my “leading” was really just convincing (or justifying) to the management team something that I had already made up in my mind to do.  While discussing issues as a TEAM produced, what I’m confident was, a much better result with clear buy-in from the team since, justifiably, they had a hand in creating.

I think as the owner of a business you sometimes feel the pressure to make all the decisions, even what type of pizza to order, but this only slows things down.  The more decisions you make, the more your team will learn that they should just wait for you to make the decision, which, in my humble opinion, is a terrible way of doing things (as evidenced by our first 10 years in business when I wanted to pull out my hair every single day!).

What Did I Learn As A Leader From Our Vision Building™ Day?

During the two Vision Building Days I found myself stepping into old habits over and over – having to tell myself, I’m going to shut up now…OK now…right after I make this one last point…starting now – JESH!  Old habits die hard!

Thankfully, I have a GREAT management team.  Like the old adage says, “the older you get the smarter your parents become”, I’m learning that the less I say, the smarter my team becomes – as it turns out, they were always that smart, the just couldn’t get in a word edgewise with me around.

What Did The Vision Building™ Day Do For Us An Organization?

So, the Vision Building™ Days allowed us, as a team, to get on the same page with respect to our 10-Year Targets™ and then start working backwards to our 3-Year Picture™ and 1-year Plan.  While I can’t claim that there was some huge revelation in this process, it was super refreshing for me to see the team really sink their teeth into our journey. It felt like some weight had been lifted from my shoulders, like I had a real team helping carry the load.

This was completely different from how EOS has been implemented by us in the past.  I’ll call it the “tablets-brought-down-from-on-high” management approach that I’ve used previously, where I sequester myself away, do all the planning, make all the decisions, and then come down from the mountain to share, what most certainly is, the most glorious collection of business planning, worthy of a Harvard Review write up.

Yes, we made some progress along the way, but I always felt like I had to do all the pushing.  Now it feels like we have a management team that is pulling as a team, leading the way with their own input around the EOS framework.  

What’s Changed?

Our meetings are so much better using the EOS Level 10 Meeting Agenda, even more so now that my team knows this process probably better than I do at this point.  We are on target and on point with our discussions, and show weekly progress towards our longer-term goals and objectives.

As part of this process, we even gave our Core Values some much needed spring cleaning and ended up dropping two of our original five values, leaving us with just three highly-focused and clearly-established core values.

On particularly eye-opening part of this process was around the Accountability Chart.  We found several roles that fell between two people or were shared accountabilities and, as you can probably guess, these areas were giving us trouble.  Once we saw this and identified the real issue, it was a logical progression to nail down these areas of accountability to one person.

So while several months ago I would have told you that we ran Technology Associates on EOS (as described in the book Traction by Gino Wickman), I can see a definite and very tangible difference in how I was using EOS (as a pry bar) versus after engaging with Walt.  Now, our team uses EOS as a roadmap.