Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

By: Gino Wickman



Traction is a book written by Gino Wickman in which he introduces the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS ®).  EOS is a business operating system that ensures you have a strategic vision, prioritized objectives, a clear plan/accountabilities/line of sight to key results, and work through the important issues that get in the way of achieving success.  At the age of 25, Wickman took over running his family business, which was deeply in debt and in need of help. After turning the company around and running it for seven years, he and his partners successfully sold the company.  Based on his years of real-world experience, Gino developed the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®), a practical method for helping companies achieve success and business owners achieve peace of mind which has been implemented by thousands of businesses.

EOS covers managing your business in 6 areas:  Vision, People, Data, Issues (identification and resolution), Process, and Traction (execution).  The heart of the system is the L10 meeting which stands for Level 10 getting its name from the goal of achieving a 10 level of meeting effectiveness on a scale of 1 to 10.  The L10 is a meeting with a management team (either executive level or departmental) that is on a regular cadence and has a clearly defined agenda and objectives.  Typically, the meeting is either weekly or bi-weekly and is approximately one hour in length.  The key elements of EOS and an L10 meeting include Scorecard, Rocks, To Dos, and Issues.  The Scorecard is a tracker that highlights the business results vs. goals for the business’ key metrics for a specific time period (we use weekly, but you could use bi-weekly or monthly).  Rocks are the most important things that need to be done in the quarter.  The name Rocks comes from the famous illustration where a person has a jar, some rocks, pebbles and sand and they are asked to get all the items in the jar.  The jar is an illustration of the time and resources of the company and the rocks, pebbles and sand are illustrations of the things that need to be accomplished.  If they start with the sand (the smaller, less important stuff) and then try to put in the Rocks (the bigger, more important stuff) at the end, it doesn’t work.  But if they put the Rocks in first (Steven Covey’s First Things First principle from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), they can get everything into the jar.  To Do’s are things that need to get done to keep the rocks moving and are typically completed within a week.  You track those so you don’t lose sight of them and keep things moving forward.  

Issues are the problems or unrealized opportunities that get in the way of achieving your objectives.  The heart of the L10 and EOS in many ways is IDS which stands for Identify, Discuss and Solve.  This is where you identify the issues that need to be solved (with a focus on root cause analysis), discuss the issue in more detail, and solve the issue.  The goal is to spend at least 50% of your time in L10’s solving Issues and solving at least 2-5 issues per meeting.  This really keeps things moving forward and helps you hit your goals (your Scorecard) and accomplish your objectives (your Rocks).

The biggest strengths of Traction are that it is comprehensive and it is extremely practical.  The information contained is a detailed blueprint on how to run EOS in your company down to the suggested meeting schedules and agendas.  The book and EOS contain the important things you need to think about as a business owner and none of the fluff or impractical theory that some business books have.  It isn’t something that takes a lot of cost ($0 to $5,000 / year) or extra time (you’ll save time running the system).  Another strength is that the EOS program is supported by a wealth of resources from Wickman’s EOS Worldwide organization which can be found at https://www.eosworldwide.com/.  You can also find resources to help implement Traction by connecting with a certified EOS Implementer https://implementer.eosworldwide.com/ and can leverage reasonably priced, very effective software called Traction Tools to run EOS https://www.mytractiontools.com/.  We use Traction Tools at Texas Security Bank and love it!  It works well.

Overall, the book Traction and EOS are highly recommended.  It is a system that we have used at Texas Security Bank for four years and it just works.  It really helps us.  It delivers on its promise of efficiently keeping you organized and focused with a clear vision, objectives and goals.  Ultimately, it provides peace of mind that you are working on the most important things and that your business is operating like a well-oiled machine.  You can buy Traction at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007QWLLV2.