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13 Great Lessons Learned in Business

Written by Don Tinney on February 8, 2018

EOS Leadership Team Traction Clarity Solving Issues

In 2010, Gino Wickman shared some of the great lessons and observations he had gleaned from implementing EOS® with hundreds of entrepreneurial leadership teams. In reflecting on my years as Gino’s business partner and Integrator of EOS Worldwide and my own experiences working with leadership teams, it felt appropriate and timely to confirm and restate those same great lessons.

Lessons Learned

Great lessons learned
  1. It's all about healthy relationships. My most effective clients are those with healthy leadership teams; they have strong relationships and connections with each other. "Healthy" equals "less effort" and "faster results." Stephen Covey's book, The Speed of Trust, is the best at technically describing this phenomenon. Patrick Lencioni's book, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, is still the simplest. Are you proud to have each person sitting across from you on your leadership team, and do you feel that he or she has your back?
  2. People do a lot of things right on the way up. But unfortunately, they do a lot of things wrong on the way down, and they do them before noticing they're on the way down. Jim Collins' book, How the Mighty Fall, is a great read on this subject. A lot of times, as soon as you think you've got it figured out, you lose your edge and start bad habits. Are you taking your success for granted?
  3. There is no easy business. Many think so, but I haven't seen one yet. The grass isn't any greener on the other side of the fence. That said, you can make your business SIMPLER – which will make things feel easier. Businesses naturally increase in complexity as they grow, so it’s important to continually look for ways to simplify. Remember: Less is More!
  4. Most people would rather not solve their problems. It's amazing how many issues get dusted over during issues solving. People truly would rather ignore them and hope they go away. The irony is that by going to the root and solving them, you save unbelievable amounts of time, pain, and suffering. Someone must be the force to call it out and go there. That someone is you!
  5. Build a culture, not a company. Leaders who constantly focus on their core values and make every decision with them in mind find that everything is a little easier. If you hire, fire, review, reward, and recognize every person around your core values, the rest takes care of itself. You'll have more fun and get more done.
  6. It still always comes back to The Six Key Components. Keep them strong, and you'll always be in the upper tier. Our clients with strength in The Six Key Components noticeably have fewer issues, are healthier, make more money, have more balance, and gain much more traction, in good times and bad. How strong are your Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process, and Traction Components?
  7. Slow down to go fast. The old proverb is as true as ever. Leaders who take time off, work "on" the business frequently, take Clarity Breaks™, and plan with their teams actually grow faster and get more done than ones who work morning till night, seven days a week. I observe that they are often more creative, solve problems better, and solve them faster. When was the last time you took a Clarity Break?
  8. Leaders obsessed with providing value to their customers have fewer issues. The ones who obsess stay ahead. Your company exists for the customer. The moment your company stops providing value to customers, your problems will multiply. Every process, person, system, and service in your company needs to be aligned to solve a problem or fill a need for your customers. If you don't clearly know what your customers love about you – and what they don't you're missing the point.
  9. Establishing and accomplishing quarterly Rocks and weekly To-Dos will have the fastest impact on your organization. This requires no additional explanation. Of everything we do for clients, this gets the fastest results.
  10. Staying on the same page is vital. You'll save time, money, and stress if you make it a habit to stay on the same page with everyone in your life. The sessions I do when people aren't on the same page require almost 50 percent more time to accomplish the same result as a team that's in sync. Are you seeing eye-to-eye with all of your people?
  11. Most leaders are terrible time and project managers. It pains me to say this, but it's scary and true. Most people have trouble laying out and executing a plan of attack for their Rocks, special projects, and big goals. Investing in teaching your people to manage projects and their time will bear plenty of fruit.
  12. Doing the right thing gets you further in the long run, although not always in the short run. It would make your head spin to watch leadership teams decide on the easiest or quickest solution to a problem in order to move on and then watch them rehash it over and over, session after session. Time and again, observation shows that if they had chosen the right and best (though sometimes painful) solution, they would have saved considerable time in the long run. Are you choosing the right solution or the easiest solution?
  13. The fear of doing something is always greater than the actual doing of it. This applies to everything. Are you letting fear slow you down? Enter the danger. Do it! It will catapult you.

My hope is that these lessons will serve as constants for you as you build a great company, and that they'll give you insight, something to shoot for, peace of mind, a wake-up call, and a few aha's.

Next Steps

  • Schedule a personal Clarity Break™ to contemplate the lessons you’ve learned over the past few months.
  • Plan what you are going to do differently as a result of learning those lessons.

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