Community, Coaches, and Implementers: Why I'm so excited about the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)

I have made an extraordinary discovery and I am making a full pivot based on what I’ve learned. 

I have been an entrepreneur since college when my friend Steve Rowe and I started writing code together with thoughts of being the next Jobs & Wozniak or Gates & Allen. Since then I have owned or led over a dozen entrepreneurial companies. Some have been unqualified successes, many have done well, and a few have been just great (sometimes expensive) learning experiences. 

Everyone Hits the Ceiling

Between serving on entrepreneurial leadership teams, I have always ended up consulting for entrepreneurs - often starting new businesses from those efforts. I believe in entrepreneurship as a positive element of our society. I’ve seen how it can have a positive transformative impact on individuals and communities. But too often I see great ideas and great efforts hit the ceiling, damage the health of the company's leaders, and take a toll on their families and relationships. 

As a consultant, I felt helpless to make a sufficient difference. I have read maybe 100 books on entrepreneurship, management, and business strategy and have taught all these topics to clients, peer groups and my MBA students. The problem with consulting is that you dig for answers and insights and then serve them back to the client, but then they just have another thing to read and try to contextualize. The problem most entrepreneurs have isn’t a lack of ideas or insights - it’s poor visibility, uneven execution, and fractured team dynamics. 

I have been passionately (perhaps obsessively) searching for a better way for a long time. The search is over.

A Simple and Complete Answer: EOS

My clients will recognize that I often say that when you really understand something, you can write the Haiku on it. 

As much as I love complex puzzles to solve, I have learned that the best answer most often proves to be the simplest, most direct answer because it is the one that is most likely to be understood, supported, and get done. Over the past two years, I have had the privilege to be able to talk to dozens of leaders who have embraced and benefited from the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). Originally developed (though he says cobbled together) by Gino Wickman and popularized in his book Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business, EOS has now been implemented professionally in over 6,000 companies by the 255 Professional EOS Implementers. This is a process and a set of tools and disciplines that have been tested and refined to the point of being a diamond, the ultimate business Haiku.

EOS-implemented companies tell us that they experience what we call Vision, Traction, Healthy. 

  • Vision meaning that everyone is on the same page with where your company is going and how you are going to get there

  • Traction refers to instilling discipline and accountability throughout the organization so that no matter where you go, you see people executing on that vision

  • Healthy meaning that you have a functional and cohesive leadership team and company that enjoy working together.

What entrepreneur doesn’t want that?


The ever-expanding Traction Library

The ever-expanding Traction Library

EOS Goes with Everything

I admit, I was originally skeptical. How could something so simple be so effective? Now, as a true believer, I can now give you 100 reasons why EOS, as a set of tools, as a system, and as a process of implementation, works with any organization, in any vertical, and at almost any stage of life. I offer you these eureka moments that converted me:

  • EOS focuses on the all the parts of the business that are not your special sauce, giving you more time and energy to focus on the thing that makes your company unique and valuable.

  • The EOS tools and disciplines are simple enough that even your least sophisticated colleagues can participate, contribute and find their sweet spot through it.

  • All the pieces of EOS are offered for free as part of the “give first” mentality of the EOS community meaning that everyone can start learning it and implementing it without financial obligation

  • EOS is implemented through a process of spaced, contextualized learning that gives everyone in the organization the opportunity to mature and learn new skills they need them.

  • There is an extensive community of implementers and implemented companies that work together towards mastery and share best practice.

So, in some ways, I‘m up to my old tricks. My good friend Kris Snyder and I have started a firm and I’m working with entrepreneurs, but no more consulting and no more fractional executive gigs. As a Professional EOS Implementer, I have found my sweet spot using all my natural skills and things I love to do.

I urge you to consider informing yourself about EOS. The best and fastest way to do that is to schedule an informative meeting with one of those 255 professional implementers around the world. I’m happy to make an introduction. If you need a copy of Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business (eosworldwide.com/traction), let me know. 

For actual client testimonials - (http://www.eosworldwide.com/testimonials) or (http://www.eosworldwide.com/eosstory) to watch a short 4 minute video.

Ask questions. I would love to share my excitement with you! 

Jim Haviland