Traction offers a structured approach to setting a business up for sustained success by implementing systems based on the EOS System®, which stands for Entrepreneurial Operating System, a model created by the author.
Summary of main ideas
The EOS system comprises six core components, which Wickman explores with chapters dedicated to each.
Vision: This section is about establishing the focus of your organisation and getting everyone onboard. Wickman outlines eight questions that form the basis for creating a coherent vision. This is the starting point for everything else.
People: Wickman frequently emphasises the importance of getting “the right people in the right seats” and why achieving one out of the two doesn’t work.
Data: This is not simply a call to adopt a data-driven approach, but recommends identifying a small group of metrics that enable leadership to truly understand how the business is performing. The most important metrics can change over time as the context evolves.
Issues: This component accepts that all businesses encounter issues and that successful businesses need to be very competent and proactive problem solving machines. This requires systems for identifying and addressing issues while cultivating a culture that encourages people to come forward with issues without fear of punishment.
Process: How to actually build the systems that will drive a successful business, from process documentation to ensuring that people follow them.
Traction: This component relates to the execution of the system. In this section, Wickman goes into depth about the use of ‘Rocks’ - the three to seven most important things to accomplish in the next 90 days - and the ‘Meeting Pulse’ - highly structured weekly meetings that are designed to ensure the company is constantly moving in the right direction.
Within each of the core components, Wickman introduces a series of tools and tactics that he has employed throughout his career of helping businesses to implement the EOS system. The end result is an intuitive playbook for transforming a reactive or lacklustre business into a coherent, efficient and ultimately successful organisation.
Wickman frequently emphasises the importance of getting “the right people in the right seats” and why achieving one out of the two doesn’t work.
How this book can help you
Traction offers a set of steps that are easy to understand, intuitive and straight-forward to implement (with a lot of time and energy). I think it’s the ideal starting point for new business owners as well as experienced entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses. But it’s not just for business owners. The concepts described in this book can be applied to all kinds of contexts. You could use rocks as a tool to laser focus your individual goals in a corporate job or find the most important metrics to keep track of your health.
I can completely understand why Traction has been an inspiration to many of its readers, every concept and tool makes sense and it feels like a genuinely overarching solution (although with the caveat that this book doesn’t offer deep guidance on how to acquire and keep customers or the best approach to product development etc). However, it’s important to note that just reading the book is not sufficient! Applying the concepts will take a lot of work, with trial and error to discover what works for you and what doesn’t.
Some good further reading/watching/listening
Where to get it
About the author
Gino Wickman is the founder of EOS Worldwide and the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)® system. He has written several books aside from Traction, including Get A Grip: How to Get Everything You Want from Your Entrepreneurial Business and Entrepreneurial Leap: Do You Have What it Takes to Become an Entrepreneur?
December 17, 2014
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