We learned many valuable lessons during our first EOS fumble. Most notably, you shouldn’t budget on the process by trying to self-implement. Instead, pay what it costs to hire a professional EOS Implementer to coach you through the system.
We learned that if we had not waited 6 months to hire an EOS consultant, we would be 6 months further than we are today. We learned a hard lesson in attempting to go at it ourselves, stunting our potential success, which drastically outweighed the cost of the consultant.
If we had continued to try self-implementing EOS, chances are likely that we would have lost enthusiasm along the way, and dropped the framework completely with excuses saying it didn’t work. Thankfully, we didn’t go down that road.
In this chapter, we’ll go over our process for finding a great EOS Implementer, and share some tips that could help you when interviewing one for you own journey.
Finding An EOS Implementer
After our first mishap, we took a step back and, as a leadership team, discussed the qualities we wanted in an EOS Implementer.
We wanted someone who was:
- A business professional with a solid track record
- Local to our headquarters in Austin, TX
- Experienced in helping other organizations adopt the EOS process
- Embodied our core values (though we had yet to put those on paper)
Chris, Ian and I held a few different interviews and, ultimately, decided to move forward with Byron Attridge following a video conference call.
Not only did Byron meet the list of requirements we had outlined, but we all got along effortlessly — and that was perhaps the most important quality.
Finally, our first legit Focus Day was on the books: March 30, 2022. We were ready for our fresh start.
Byron Attridge — the man, the myth, the legend.
“I Believe: People drive Business, Passion drives People, and Belief drives Passion.”
– Byron Attridge
Byron Attridge is a professional EOS implementer, entrepreneur and leadership coach.
He has a proven track record as an entrepreneur, having built many successful companies from the ground up — one of the qualities that first attracted us.
Additionally, Bryon has a robust professional background across a range of industries; from Marketing and Operations team lead for the Coca-Cola Company to Principal and Owner of Valorus Solutions, LLC to Sales and Business Development Manager at MyITPros and Partner and Chief Revenue Officer of Terra Sustainable Technologies — to name a few.
Another quality that proved Byron was the right EOS Implementer for us was his knowledge of sales, marketing, and business operations — some of the areas we were fleshing out for Direction.com. Having an expert consultant help us develop these areas of our organization would prove to be a major benefit.
Here’s a full list of Byron’s professional talents:
- EOS/Traction Implementation
- Leadership Development
- Sales Leadership
- SaaS Sales
- Growth Strategies
- Sustainable Technologies
- Sales Process
- Client Services
- Lead Generation
- Inbound Marketing
- Channel Development/Management
- Contract Negotiation
Perhaps the most important thing, however, was Byron’s shared perspective on life and business.
He also believes that entrepreneurs should not have to sink countless hours into running their business; that we do not need to work 70 hours a week to be successful; that making time for family is more important than long hours at the office; that building a solid team and trusting them to execute was the correct path forward for any business; that owning your accountability as a leader is a foundational characteristic for any leadership team.
And as if this all wasn’t enough, we also shared common values:
- To Be Humbly Confident – open, honest, real, and well-practiced; ready to make a positive difference
- To Grow or Die – driven to maximize every situation to take myself and my clients to the next level
- To Help First – subordinating our personal interests to advance others, always giving value before expecting anything in return
- To Do the Right Thing – never betraying a trust and doing whatever it takes to resolve every issue so people can move forward
- To Do What You Say – sometimes more, never less
This is Byron Attridge on paper. In-person, he’s all of this and more — a great coach, a patient teacher, a dedicated husband, father, and son, and what we would soon learn: a fierce friend to those who put their trust in him.
Focus Day: March 30, 2022
This was a very exciting time for us. Our enthusiasm was through the roof, we were ready to learn and grow as a leadership team, and we were feeling the excitement that Traction had first instilled in us.
Ian flew into Austin, TX from Maryland, and I arrived from South Florida.
During our first attempt at EOS, we did everything remote, which posed challenges in itself. If you’ve ever worked remotely, then you know it can be difficult collaborating with your team on lengthy projects — yes, screen fatigue is a real thing.
I highly recommend that if you’re a remote company and are considering EOS, that you bring the team together for your Focus Day, Vision Building Days, and Quarterlies. Having a comfortable, communal atmosphere for this journey is absolutely vital.
So, here we were, all of us meeting Byron for the first time as a leadership team. Within the first 5 minutes, we knew we had made the right decision.
First off, Bryon provided us with a detailed 3-ring binder that was the Entrepreneurial Operating System (cue grade school nostalgia).
When we were working with Joe, who wasn’t a professional EOS Implementer, we were simply referencing the book Traction by Gino Wickman, so having a workbook to lead us through the process was a refreshing start.
Byron outlined our Focus Day objectives, agenda, and his goals for us.
- Have fun
- Get you thinking and working “on” your business
- Understand “healthy and smart”
- Implement practical tools — increase traction, accountability, communication, team health, and results
- Hitting the Ceiling
- The Accountability Chart
- The Meeting Pulse
- Next Steps
- Put us in more control of our business
- Increase the value of our business
ARE YOU WILLING TO BECOME YOUR BEST?
The Check-In is designed to tease out what’s working and what’s not working in the organization. Chris, Ian, and I shared what we believed were our biggest strengths and biggest weaknesses.
This step in the process gets everyone in leadership on the same page, and provides the framework for the day’s session and the brainstorming sessions to follow.
- Our campaign processes and innovation in automating our systems was moving the company to a more sustainable model — allowing us to scale client campaigns (both the monthly engagement and quantity of active campaigns) without needing to hire more full-time employees to fulfill the work.
What’s not working:
- Hiring quality people and retaining these people was setting us back.
- Our team needed to be more solutions-focused (proactive) versus problem focuses (reactive).
My expectations for the day were:
- To firmly establish what our seats are and what we’re responsible for so we no longer have to wear multiple hats and stack to-dos on top of multiple people.
- To derive a real scorecard that will help us achieve our 1, 3, 5, and 10 years targets.
- To leave excited and equipped to make Direction.com a powerhouse in the SEO world.
- Content, links, technical SEO, problem solving, team cohesion, growth systems & automation.
What’s not working:
- Reporting, customer success/customer support, sales, expectations, accountability, employee training/handbook, expert SEO strategy.
Chris’s expectations for the day:
- To come away with rocks, a scorecard and accountability chart — get clarity in regards to who the next hires should be.
- 90% of our clients are growing.
What’s not working:
- Accountability could be much better.
- If leadership isn’t on top of the day-to-day, we run the risk of losing clients due missed deadlines.
Ian’s expectations for the day:
- To leave with a better understanding of how to systematically get to where we want to go within the business — the proven way.
There are common themes between the three of our breakdowns.
We all agree that the work being executed is top-notch and properly serving our clients business goals, and that our processes have greatly improved.
Similarly, we all agree that accountability is lacking in the company and that we were experiencing an issue with hiring the right people.
This was a great start in teasing out the root issues that our company was facing at the time.
Hitting the Ceiling
THE FIVE LEADERSHIP ABILITIES.
From here, we dove into the Five Leadership Abilities designed to help organizations break through the ceiling. These abilities come to light during weekly Level 10 meetings, which we’ll get into in Chapter 8, as well as when we communicated our Vision, Mission, Values to the team.
This section was purely a learning lesson. We were not bouncing ideas off of Byron to decide what our Five Leadership Abilities should be. If we knew that, we wouldn’t need EOS.
No, this lesson was designed to unite the three of us within a shared mindset on how we should structure, guide and support our team to accomplish Direction.com’s vision.
The Five Leadership Abilities are:
- Simplify — K.I.S.S.: keep it simple, stupid.
- Delegate — providing the resources someone needed to execute confidently and independently.
- Predict — long term predictions: 90 days / short term predictions: weekly.
- Systemize — establish the major touchpoints and basic framework for project execution.
- Structure — this needs to be dynamic so you can adjust your business and reposition as you grow.
The Accountability Chart
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
Building our Accountability Chart was perhaps the hardest portion of our Focus Day.
Why? Because Chris, Ian and I were all wearing multiple hats.
Chris was acting Visionary, Sales Manager, SEO Department Head, HR Director, and our Chief Financial Officer.
Ian was acting Integrator, Sales Director, COO, Customer Success Director, and working on SEO projects.
I was acting CMO, CTO, Sales Manager and Operations Manager — building out our systems for tracking sales leads, projects, and so on.
This wasn’t sustainable. If we wanted to move the business forward, execute on a higher level, and not overwork ourselves in the process, we had to fill these seats and learn to delegate.
Byron’s input was pivotal in shaping our Accountability Chart and positioning us to fill these seats.
He helped us to clearly structure our company, core departments, and the ancillary roles to fill those departments, working off of this wireframe:
- Structure first, people second
- The right structure that reduces complexity and creates clarity
- 3 major functions for each role
- Only 1 person can be accountable for a position
From there, he had us place our names in all of the roles we were occupying. Then, he asked us what we wanted and should be doing in order to grow the company.
Chris was now firmly placed as our Visionary; Ian our Integrator, and me our Chief Marketing Officer.
4 crucial seats were left open: Sales Director, CTO, SEO Director, and CFO (with seats falling under each department).
Finally, we knew where to prioritize hiring. Naturally, the three of us were still wearing most of the hats in the company, but we had direction, and we were able to put a plan in action to fill those seats — many of which we have.
Rocks are quarterly objectives designed to move the company closer to our 1 year target, 3 year vision, and 10 year plan (which we’ll get to). They should be specific, measurable, attainable and timely.
Ultimately, Rocks create your 90-day world — everything you need to accomplish over each business quarter. The philosophy behind Rocks is that if you focus on the biggest objectives first, then you’ll be able to better manage time and productivity, allowing the smaller to-dos to fill the void and maximize growth potential.
Here’s a breakdown of our Q2 Rocks that we established with Byron.
- Perfect a repeatable process for developing SEO strategies for clients
- Hire a Customer Success Director
- Train our SEO Project Manager to become the SEO Department Head (filling one backseat)
- Onboard external financing team (filling the CFO seat)
- Find a solution for the web development workload
- Hire a SaaS Sales Manager for Direction Local (filling yet another seat)
- Create a Sales playbook
- Publish 40 directory pages to Direction.com for Direction Local
- Establish our content marketing roadmap for the next 90 days
- Quality check and finalize our project management system, ClickUp
- Publish 5 new case studies on Local SEO to Direction.com
- Create 10 SaaS business profiles for Direction Local
Alas, our 90-day world was set in stone.
The Meeting Pulse
INCREASE TRACTION, ACCOUNTABILITY, COMMUNICATION, TEAM HEALTH, AND RESULTS.
The Level 10 meeting pulse is what connects all the circles within the company. We first started running Level 10’s at the leadership level, only recently passing this along to other departments.
During this session, Byron helped us correct all of the bad habits we had learned during our first EOS experience.
In fact, Byron still sits in on our L10 meetings from time-to-time to ensure we’re running them as efficiently as possible, while quality checking the system we’re using as an alternative to Traction Tools.
We’ll go into more detail on the Level 10 meeting and how we conduct these weekly sessions using ClickUp in Chapter 8.
DASHBOARD, FLASH REPORT, METRICS, PULSE REPORT, KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs).
The Scorecard is a set of metrics that can quickly tell you the state of your company.
The 7 truths that justify the need of a Scorecard are:
- What gets measured gets done
- Managing metics saves time
- A Scorecard gives you a pulse and the ability to predict
- You must inspect what you expect
- You can have accountability in a culture that is high trust and healthy
- A Scorecard requires hard work, discipline, and consistency to manage
- One person must own it
This is another area of the EOS process where Byron’s insights played a pivotal role.
Leaning on his experience with other enterprises and startups, Byron shared what he believed would be worthwhile metrics, then took a step back and allowed us to discuss.
What we really had trouble with was determining the measurement for each Scorecard metric. It may sound elementary, but when you start to dig into the numbers, you’ll find it’s difficult to measure certain things with a simple numeric. Again, Byron helped us through this.
Another challenge with the Scorecard was connecting SEO Services with Direction Local. For too long the two offerings were treated like separate entities. We had to balance this; to make Direction Local (a SaaS product) and SEO Services (client retainers) synonymous with Direction.com. Again, Byron’s guidance led us to greener pastures.
Since starting EOS, we’ve had a few iterations of our Scorecard. And we’ll likely continue to make revisions as the company scales and new measurables become important.
All in all, Byron helped us eliminate insecurities that hinder a lot of leadership teams abilities to collectively problem solve.
He guided our discussions, acting as a coach rather than a referee. This freeform environment allowed us to drill into Direction.com’s ethos, challenge one another’s perspectives, and arrive at collective decisions that put the organization and our people first.
If you’re considering EOS, I definitely recommend scouting an EOS Implementer to help you through the process. It’s like having a AAA business consultant in your corner who wants nothing more than to see you succeed in life and in business.
We’re still working with Byron and will continue to do so until we’re full-fledged EOS experts. In fact, we’re meeting up with Byron for our first Quarterly on November 9th, 2022!