EOS is Not a Hammer
Updated: Sep 19
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I took on a new client as their fractional Integrator. Everything sounded great. The owners wanted to free up the Visionary of their day-to-day responsibilities and improve the company’s utilization of EOS™. They knew they needed EOS to reach their financial goals, and they knew that that meant clarifying their Core Values™, improving their processes, and pushing EOS further down the organization.
They told me that the Leadership Team needed to be more data-driven and operate more on numbers and less on feelings. Mostly, though, they stressed to me repeatedly that they wanted to use EOS to generate increased accountability from the Team.
With a five-person Leadership Team and over 100 employees, this was an exciting opportunity for me. I knew that as their fractional Integrator I could help them achieve all of their objectives by helping them strengthen their use of EOS. I thought I was completely on the same page with the owners, but I did not expect what happened.
We started by transforming their Leadership Team L10s™ from loosely run staff meeting to proper L10s. We also fixed their Accountability Chart™ and refined their Scorecard™. At their next Quarterly Meeting™, we clarified their Core Values and created corporate Rocks™ for the upcoming quarter.
As the new quarter began, the Team had an improved focus and a better understanding of how EOS would help them reach their goals. But I began to get pushback from the owners. In our L10s, we had some red numbers on the Scorecard. That is bound to happen as the Team gets accustomed to using EOS properly and begins to identify the areas of the business that need improvement. We were IDS™-ing those Issues in our L10s, and the Team was taking the necessary steps to correct them.
But that was not enough for the owners. They called a meeting with me and told me that they were not pleased with the progress. They insisted that I use EOS to come down on the team members when their Scorecard numbers were red. They insisted that theirs is a numbers-driven business, and that the Team should be strictly held strictly accountable for their numbers. We now had the EOS tools in place, and the owners expected me to use those tools to enforce accountability through threats and intimidation.
I was shocked. I said that they had EOS all wrong. I told them they were trying to weaponize EOS. That is not what EOS is about. I explained that EOS is for building healthy and productive teams and teaching them how to solve problems. EOS is not a hammer to hit people over the head with.
I told them they understood the words of Traction™ but not its spirit.
Yes, EOS is about increasing accountability, but I said using EOS as a hammer will not get us the results they are seeking. I said we need to show the Team how to work together to solve problems and then build them up, not tear them down. I said we need to continue the process the way we currently are, so rather than bully, I would continue to guide and coach.
A week later, I found the perfect teachable moment. One of our Rocks had slipped off track. When we came to the Issues section of the agenda and began to IDS this Issue, I specifically called out the Team member whose Rock was off track. I said, “Listen, we are going to rally around your Rock. Together the Team is going to figure out how we can work together to help you get your Rock back on track, because we are a team, and that’s what good teams do.” After a brief IDS-ing, we had a plan to get the Rock back on track.
Over the next few months, we built a healthy and productive Leadership Team. They became more engaged and productive and communicated better. We still had red numbers on the Scorecard, but they worked together to identify and solve their Issues. They were working ON the business and contributing to the growth of the company. They introduced L10 meetings to their different departments, and those employees felt empowered to move their departments forward. Employee recognition improved, and there was much more clarity around the company’s mission and goals. The teams were happier, healthier, and more productive. That is what EOS is all about.
This is the only time I had ever seen anyone try to use EOS as a hammer, and I hope I never see it again.
If you need an Integrator to help you get the most out of EOS, reach out to me. I have been a fractional Integrator for five years and have worked with clients in a variety of industries. I have helped my clients reach their goals and build stronger teams. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-247-1993 or my LinkedIn page.
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