At some organizations, it’s hard for employees to get a full picture of where they stand. From the beginning, you understand the tasks you need to fulfill to see a project to its conclusion. But beyond tracking your billable, hourly contributions toward meeting a deadline, you may lack a sense of how you fit within the larger goals of your company.
Is the ownership of your company committed to growing a sustainable, stable business? Or are they simply doing whatever it takes to ensure their organization becomes more attractive to an outside buyer? And, if your senior team is working toward a defined goal, is everyone on the same page? And how much of that information are they sharing with you?
Granted, providing the right solution to a client at the right time can be its own source of pride. However, many people also want the assurance that they’re contributing to a larger vision for the company. If your organization isn’t structured to recognize or share those goals, you’ll grow frustrated trying to give meaning to your hard work.
At Four Kitchens, we know our work is stronger when everyone is aligned. After years of trying to establish a system for setting goals that incorporates all levels of our organization, the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) has provided the framework we need.
Are you bored yet? Admittedly, talking about organizational structures can feel about as engaging as a deep dive into your computer’s operating system. But while its language and processes may feel dull on its face, EOS provides a means for us to work together in a way that’s straightforward, honest, and without judgment.
More than delivering a means for our business to function at a higher level, EOS makes a difference for everyone we work with as well.
How the EOS model brings a workplace into alignment
EOS has been adopted by organizations across multiple industries. Also known as Traction, the system was designed for entrepreneurs as a way to better target what they want from their business. But its benefits extend well beyond the executive level.
Ultimately, no one’s job satisfaction hinges solely upon a desire to hit strategic goals. You want a set of established tools that free you to do the work you want to do, which is being creative and solving problems.
EOS does just that. It’s built on six core components:
- Vision: Ensuring everyone in the organization is in alignment.
- People: Hiring great people allows a company to achieve its vision.
- Data: Setting aside opinions and egos to follow the metrics that define your business.
- Issues: Recognizing problems and finding lasting solutions.
- Process: Establishing a system that sets standards for how you run your business so everyone is on the same page.
- Traction: Applying discipline and accountability to move your organization forward toward its goals.
Though its terminology may be unfamiliar, a system like EOS is no different from a production framework like agile. Where an agile workflow is built upon scrums and sprints, EOS incorporates weekly department meetings (Level 10s) and quarterly goals (“rocks”).
Still with us? With its specialized jargon, EOS can be challenging to initially explain or fully adopt. Applying unfamiliar terms to workplace norms like “meetings” and “goals” can feel strange — maybe even a little cult-ish. But it’s worth looking past these details to the results they bring about. During onboarding we give new hires a book describing the principles of the system, and we tell people to “read this with a grain of salt.”
Because in the end, the language of EOS isn’t as important as the principles at work. When effectively applied, the rhythms and rituals of EOS provide a means to better understand the impact of your work as an individual.
How EOS supplies guardrails and guidance toward achievable goals
EOS provides a means of bringing an organization closer to its goals. Inevitably, building a team-wide roadmap toward the future offers clear advantages to any leadership team.
But the benefits of EOS impact your experience as an employee as well. If the leadership of your company is in chaos, that disorder will be reflected in the organization. The framework of EOS can be rigid in its terminology and rituals, but they bring the core details of a company’s culture to the surface. If the leaders of your company appreciate rigidity, then EOS will underscore that priority at every level of the organization. If your organization wants to encourage a culture of appreciating people and their hard work, then EOS will bring those to the surface, too.
These components of EOS are built upon an assortment of repeated concepts. Everything happens in a predictable cadence, which includes annual and quarterly planning meetings for the leadership team and each department.
Every week, each department has a meeting that checks the metrics on each employee’s scorecard and to-do list aligned with their goals. These structured rituals provide guardrails that both wrap up the previous week and prepare for the work ahead.
EOS allows individuals in an organization to recognize how the goals they’re working toward roll up to the top-level goals of the company. By setting quarterly, accountable benchmarks that level up to annual and three-year goals, an organization operates on a more manageable scale. Plus, the system clarifies expectations in a way that bypasses judgment. When you look at your to-dos for the quarter, you and your manager boil your work down to the facts. Were these tasks completed? And if not, why not?
But along with providing a larger sense of accomplishment in your day-to-day work, EOS ensures employees understand what’s expected in their role.
EOS places individuals in the right seat for success
The regular check-ins and meeting structures of EOS ensure every individual and department are moving in the right direction. But along with focusing on larger, company-wide goals, the system retains a people-focused component as well.
At Four Kitchens, we’ve adopted EOS’ “people analyzer,” which is another one of those terms that requires a grain of salt. However, along with evaluating your alignment with an organization’s values, the people analyzer views your role across three fronts: Get it, want it, and capacity to do it.
- Do you understand the job?
- Do you want to do it?
- Do you have the time and capacity to do it?
In other words, EOS provides a way to evaluate performance in a more caring way. Rather than arriving at conclusions such as, “This job doesn’t suit you,” we look for ways to adjust your role. Can we do something to create more capacity for you to perform better? Or is the job simply not the right seat for you? If the latter is the case, then maybe we can find a better fit in the organization.
There are an assortment of considerations at work when you consider applying for a job, especially a remote position. And understanding a company’s culture is a critical component of that process.
We’ve only been using the EOS framework a few years, but Four Kitchens is undoubtedly operating at higher level as a result. If this sounds like a way of working that’s right for you, we should talk.
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