I am excited to pen just my second article as your Chair of AICC. I am passionate about strategy, execution, and their vital importance in everyday operations of a business. My theme of “grip it and rip it” is meant to incorporate the concept of full strategic alignment simplified by that phrase: When everything is in place, you can swing for the fences. Everything, in this case, represents the six key components in a strategic framework derived from a system invented by Gino Wickman called EOS, or the entrepreneurial operating system. I have no vested interest in EOS and believe that any strategic business model will work just fine, but I am well versed in this particular model and can speak to it from practical experience. Wickman wrote a book called Traction and created a global enterprise of implementers who are trained in the practice with the goal of helping companies “get healthy.”
Whether you subscribe to this EOS framework is frankly irrelevant. Wickman admittedly claims that his formula is a culmination of several experts in different specific areas that make up the components of strategy and execution; he simply created a model that incorporates a holistic approach, encompassing the six key components. I plan on spending the next year sharing some of my personal thoughts on the six key components that make up Wickman’s system, asking you to reflect on some thought provoking questions in your own business, and sharing some lessons learned and some words of advice as we move forward in my journey as AICC Chair, so that we can grip it and rip it every time. (Disclaimer: My apologies to the nongolfers. Simply think about something you love, whether sport, art, music, or some other passion; visualize what greatness looks like, and you understand the grip it and rip it analogy.)
Many entrepreneurs initially succeed because of their passion, energy, and charisma. They have a skill for painting a vision to customers, stakeholders, and employees that is clear, exciting, and dynamic. They have an aura about them that motivates others and a positivity that attracts those around them. As the business grows, so grow the complexities, challenges of all kinds, and of course, the workload of the leader. The leader becomes tied to the office, making decisions of all kinds, answering complex and at times repeatedly the same simple questions. They lose sight of their to-do lists because they are tackling 150 things at one time. The entrepreneur is working full time “in” the business instead of “on” the business.
A strategic framework such as EOS works to establish a clear vision for the business. It then ensures that you have the right people on the bus, in the right seats. It creates an environment with established metrics to remove emotions from decision-making and to support good decisions with objective metrics. Once the team knows where they are going, who’s on the team, and how they are keeping score, they can focus on smoking out and solving the key in the business, creating repeatable, fool-proof processes to reduce the stress of growth and drive a meeting cadence and focused priority system to set and achieve the goals needed to successfully realize the vision.
I will leave you with a few reflective questions to contemplate when you have some uninterrupted time to think about the business. For each statement below, rank your business on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is weak and 5 is strong.
We have a clear vision in writing that has been properly
communicated and is shared by everyone.
All the people in our organization are the right people.
Our leadership team is open and honest and demonstrates
a high level of trust.
All teams clearly identify, discuss, and solve key for
the greater good and long term.
Everyone in the organization has a number.
Executive Vice President, Akers Packaging Service Group