Vision Without Traction Is Hallucination

By Bruce Sheridan

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Many businesses spend countless hours of time and money creating an intensive business plan.

They work with their leadership team to formulate dozens of ideas. Then they develop a strategy around those concepts to help their company grow.

Unfortunately this skillfully crafted plan often gets left on the shelf, gathering dust. Instead of focusing on newly established goals and objectives, the business owner immediately gets bogged down in day-to-day operational issues.

The leadership team follows. It begins drifting apart, putting out their own fires. Without constant guidance and feedback, they fall into a rut and are quick to forget their long and short-term strategic targets.

Despite good intentions, the company continues to sputter along. While the tailwinds of the marketplace may provide an uptick in sales and revenue, there is no necessary traction to make dramatic and positive change. The end result simply becomes “business as usual”.

Business owners wishing to avoid largesse and steer a company to new levels of achievement can follow the lead of Gino Wickman, founder of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®), used by thousands of businesses nationwide.

Wickman’s book, Traction-Get A Grip On Your Business, details how a business owner can create a vision and then develop an action plan to ensure new levels of growth and success are achieved. These five steps have high value and are worth detailing here. They include…

Delegate and Elevate. A business owner should focus on their strongest skill set and delegate tasks of lesser proficiency to others. In order to grow, the CEO cannot remain chef, head waiter, and dishwasher. They must focus on long-term growth and spend more time “on the business” rather than “in the business”, passing-on activities that stymie growth.

Long Range Planning. Business owners need to determine what their company should look like 10 years down the road, then begin to work backwards to ensure that vision is attained. Who are the people that will help you get there? What processes will you need to be in place to turn that vision into reality?

The plan must then be communicated and agreed upon with the leadership team. Similar forecasts should be made projecting for three years and even 90 days into the future.

Short Term Predicting. The leadership team needs constant updating to stay on track. Similar to public companies that issue reports every 90 days, the company should evaluate its progress every three months.

Many successful companies have quarterly meetings to assess their progress and adjust accordingly. Some even have regular off-site planning sessions to not only integrate new ideas but motivate the team.

Systemization. Rather than flying by the seat of their pants, business owners need to clearly identify their core processes and integrate them into a fully functioning machine. These include processes for human resources, sales, marketing, operations, customer retention and more. All must work in harmony to reach any long-term objective. These processes need to be conveyed and made crystal clear to everyone in the organization.

Structure Development. A structural redesign may be necessary to reduce complexity and create accountability. The operation should be constructed to boost the company to the next level. It cannot happen if the organization is stuck in old ways and unwilling to change. The leadership team should have their own areas of responsibility with measurable targets, then be accountable for their results.

Putting these five steps into action will eventually create the “aha moment” for the business owner and serve as a launching pad to reach unforeseen levels of achievement.

Bruce Sheridan is a professional EOS® implementer and operates Organizational Compass in St. Louis. His background includes working for a variety of companies including Fortune 100 corporations. He has worked with domestic and international business models. He has been part of revenue enhancements, efficiency innovations and productivity improvements that have delivered significant returns worth many times their investment. He has earned a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, a patent, awards and literally wrote a book on business strategy. He applies the EOS model to help entrepreneurs get the life they imagined. He works with business leaders to make order out of chaos and helps cut through the confusing, overwhelming and ineffective junk keeping small business leaders from truly achieving their vision.