Not long ago, I attended an event where Doug Havas moderated a discussion with a Charlotte-area Certified EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System®) Implementer, Neil McLean. I had heard about EOS over the years but that presentation really lit a fire under me to determine if EOS might help LEVEL Management Partners clients be more successful in implementing Value Growth Architecture™ ("VGA") plans.
VGA's #1 strength is that it arms business owners and investors with a clear picture of the growth potential of an enterprise, and the best path to achieve that growth. Unfortunately, if the company is not well equipped to execute the Value Growth Action Plan, that growth is in serious jeopardy.
EvaluSys®, the technology platform implementing VGA, offers terrific tools to forecast and visualize growth earned by successful execution of growth actions, and motivational tools reinforcing the value contribution of current/upcoming actions to be executed. Even so, this technology alone cannot ensure the company executes those actions successfully.
I put the call out to our LEVEL Expert Network™ asking who has EOS experience. During our November 19th, 2020 LEVEL Expert Network Update event (Zoom), I moderated a roundtable discussion among Network members on Integrating Value Growth Architecture with EOS. Many thanks to Frank Harris, partner with Strategy Partners Group, Doug Havas with Pinnacle Sales Advisors, and Barbara Trulby with The BT Factor for sharing their experience with us. Here's what we learned.
To start, it was clear Frank, Doug and Barbara are all big fans of EOS after working with companies who had successfully implemented EOS. Based on information found on the EOS website (www.eosworldwide.com), EOS provides a complete set of simple concepts and practical tools helping entrepreneurs and their leadership teams get better at:
Frank, Doug and Barbara shared their thoughts about EOS, VGA and how they might complement each other.
EOS brought a lot of issues to the table, and got the team very excited. The senior leaders on the really team grasped [EOS]. It brought a lot of the structure needed, things out in the open. Everyone felt very engaged.
-- Barbara Trulby, The BT Factor
EOS was created for entrepreneurial companies with $2mm - $100mm in revenue and 10 - 250 employees. EOS tools have been used by over 80,000 companies. It fosters vital teamwork and leadership principles that we would like to see our organizations embody.
[EOS] is a great tool for operational execution of your business. VGA provides very valuable input into the top of the VTO (EOS Vision/Traction Organizer) where the company is talking about strategies and targets. What I don't see EOS [providing] are great tools to set those strategies, qualify those targets, give you basis for the targets. The EOS methodology just expects that the leadership team is going to come up with those.
If a company historically has an inability to execute on projects, [EOS] is great place to start. If they have a management team that does all the work and nobody else in the organization participates, it's a great place to start, especially if the management style is a dictatorship. EOS creates accountability top to bottom in the organization from the CEO to the front-line and gets everybody in the organization moving in the same direction, and every sole the why of the direction and how they contribute. You actually free up senior leadership to focus a year out because they have delegated, with accountability, the day-to-day running of the company to middle management and the front-line.
Based on my experience, the strength of EOS lies in the program’s ability to ensure excellent execution. EOS purists may disagree, but the planning piece is just not strong enough and needs the VGA component to become a robust solution.
-- Frank Harris, Strategy Partners Group
EOS helps with taking some of the emotional issues out of it. It creates a common vocabulary, creates accountability, creates process, creates discipline. It just makes it a whole lot easier to run your company and be able to look somebody in the eye and say "did you deliver on this or not?" It's a great tool to create that common environment and common culture.
The one gap that I see in EOS is the lack of depth in putting greater detail around your 3-year and 1-year plans, and the specifics of how you’re going to get there and resulting priorities. What VGA can add to that is really putting some quantification behind that, and prioritization, and putting numbers to it. EOS doesn't really have that. You can use EOS to create those processes, focus on execution, and create traction, but I think VGA can bring a tremendous amount of value, better quantifying of your priorities and how you get there.
My observation is the vision and the planning is somewhat superficial. VGA just brings a tremendous amount of depth and analysis and valuation to what you are doing that EOS doesn't provide. With EOS, as a team, you kind of come up with what you think it should look like. Done. You move on. It's just very basic, whereas VGA can provide much greater depth to your strategies.
-- Doug Havas, Pinnacle Sales Advisors
Based on the above remarks and additional conversations I have had with EOS Implementers and others with deep experience in working with EOS and EOS companies, I continue to be extremely impressed with simplicity, discipline and accountability EOS can bring to entrepreneurial companies. That discipline and accountability may be essential for companies to successfully execute a VGA Value Growth Action Plan and maximize the value of an enterprise.
Value Growth Architecture will clearly add another level of strategic planning and finance discipline for EOS companies. While VGA may require a greater investment of time, energy and resources than small companies can afford, owners or investors in businesses with the needed resources and a firm commitment to enterprise value growth will find VGA to be a crucial, complementary solution to EOS.
EOS and Entrepreneurial Operating System are registered trademarks of EOS Worldwide.
EvaluSys is a registered service mark of EvaluSys LLC.
Value Growth Architecture is a trademark of EvaluSys LLC.