In the following book summary, you’ll learn how to install a system of execution within your business and move your business up the growth curve.
“Vision without traction is merely hallucination.” – Gino Wickman
Every growing business is like a five-spoke wheel with a thick tire tread. The five spokes represent the five essential components every business needs to survive, and the tire is the execution system every business needs to gain traction. Strengthen the five spokes of your business wheel by answering five questions: Where? What? How? Who? Why might I fail?
- Where do I want to go? Create a clear ten-year vision, three-year goal, and one-year target for your company – the key to making good business decisions is having a clear and compelling ten-, three-, and one-year picture to guide your decisions.
- What data do I need to track each week? Your business must have a scorecard of activities you’re trying to improve weekly. The scorecard is the company’s heartbeat and provides a steady stream of motivation.
- How will I achieve my vision as efficiently as possible? Identify the processes, checklists, and systems you’ll use to reliably produce a high-quality product or service.
- Who is doing the work, and do they get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it well? You must ensure that everyone in your business understands their role, wants to excel at it, and has the time, energy, and skill to do it.
- Why might I fail? Identify and resolve any issues that could stunt your growth or kill your business.
The where, what, how, who and why questions address the vision, data, process, people, and issues categories of author Gino Wickman’s Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). After addressing all five questions/categories, you may be confident your business will succeed. But if you fail to install a system of execution within your business, you won’t have the traction needed to move your business vision forward and steadily move up the growth curve. As Gino Wickman likes to say, “Vision without traction is merely hallucination.” To create a solid execution system within your business and gain traction, you need three components: rocks, individual numbers, and a regular meeting pulse.
Rocks are 90-day priorities. When everyone in your business has a 90-day priority that aligns with the company’s vision, your business stops spinning its wheels and everyone in your business starts steadily moving forward in unison.
Wickman uses the term “rocks” to describe quarterly priorities because it brings to mind the time management analogy from Stephen Covey’s book First Things First. Picture a glass jar on a table. Next to that glass jar are rocks, gravel, and sand. The space in the glass jar represents the time available in your workday. The rocks represent your top priorities. The gravel represents your day-to-day responsibilities. And the sand represents everything else you get hit with during the day. Most people pour the gravel and sand in first and leave little room for rocks – they catch up on email, have long conversations with coworkers, and complete their day-to-day responsibilities, but fail to complete work that moves the business forward in a meaningful way.
Get everyone in your business to put their rocks in first, by reserving their peak focus time each day to make progress on a 90-day priority that moves the business towards its vision. Have your leaders develop and distribute 90-day rocks to their teams by recalling the company’s ten-year vision, three-year goal, and one-year target, and then ask, “What does my department – finance, operations, or sales/marketing – need to accomplish in the next 90 days to hit the company’s one-year target?” The person leading your finance team may have a quarterly rock to reduce accounts receivables by 10%. The person leading your sales and marketing team may have a quarterly rock to hire a new sales manager or partner with an online influencer for a new product promotion campaign. Ensure everyone in your business is focused on one-to-five rocks every 90 days and has new rocks for every 90 period. Gino Wickman says, “The way you move the company forward is one 90-day period at a time.”
Numbers create clarity, commitment, and competition – which increases traction and produces results. As a business leader, you must ensure everyone has a number that they look at each day and that they strive to improve. If you’re in retail sales, your salespeople’s number might be “sales per hour.” If you’re onboarding a customer service agent, their number might be “average customer rating” after customer service calls. The number you select should clarify what they need to focus on to complete their 90-day goal. If a 90-day goal is like a cycling trip from Boston to San Francisco, then the individual number would be the miles you need to put in each day to arrive in San Francisco on time.
Regular meeting pulse
Meetings get a bad reputation, but a well-run weekly meeting holds people accountable and maintains traction. The ultimate “traction meeting” has three items on the agenda: rocks, issues, and action plans.
- Get everyone in the room to publicly acknowledge if they’re quarterly rock is on or off track (when people must announce their progress in a weekly meeting with their peers, they put their rocks in their jars first).
- Everyone in the room must describe two issues they are struggling with (when people share the issues they’re struggling with, they show vulnerability and create a culture of trust).
- The group must devise a plan to resolve the top three issues mentioned in the meeting.
When you hold a weekly meeting with these three agenda items, people are held accountable, trust their team more, and are determined to solve the big issues before the issues slow the company’s growth.
“Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business” by Gino Wickman is a comprehensive guide that offers practical advice and a step-by-step system to help entrepreneurs and business leaders gain control and achieve their vision for their company. The book presents the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a holistic framework that combines timeless business principles with practical tools to foster growth, improve efficiency, and enhance overall performance. Wickman’s approach empowers leaders to identify their company’s core values, set clear goals, develop effective systems, and build a cohesive team that drives sustainable success.
“Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business” is an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs and business leaders seeking to overcome common challenges and take their companies to new heights. Gino Wickman provides a clear and actionable roadmap that can be implemented in any organization, regardless of its size or industry. The book is structured into two main parts: Vision and Traction.
The Vision component focuses on helping leaders define their company’s core values, mission, and long-term goals. Wickman emphasizes the importance of establishing a clear vision that aligns with the values and aspirations of the entire team. He introduces the concept of the Vision Traction Organizer (VTO), a tool that enables leaders to articulate their vision and communicate it effectively throughout the organization. By setting a compelling vision, leaders can inspire and align their team, setting the stage for future success.
The Traction component provides a systematic approach to executing the vision and overcoming common business hurdles. Wickman introduces the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), which encompasses practical tools and processes to improve every aspect of a business. He covers crucial topics such as creating a healthy and accountable leadership team, boosting organizational efficiency, establishing clear metrics to measure progress, solving problems, and driving consistent growth.
One of the book’s strengths is its emphasis on practicality. Wickman provides concrete examples, case studies, and real-life scenarios to illustrate the implementation of EOS principles. This makes the concepts relatable and applicable to a wide range of businesses. The step-by-step approach, along with the included tools and templates, enables readers to put the concepts into practice immediately.
Wickman’s writing style is concise, straightforward, and free from unnecessary jargon. He presents information in a logical order, making it easy for readers to follow along and understand complex concepts. The book also benefits from its organized structure, with each chapter building upon the previous one, creating a cohesive and comprehensive guide.
Moreover, “Traction” emphasizes the significance of fostering a healthy company culture and building a strong leadership team. Wickman stresses the importance of open communication, accountability, and creating an environment where employees can thrive. By focusing on these aspects, leaders can create a cohesive and motivated team that is aligned with the company’s vision and values.
However, some readers may find the book’s content to be heavily focused on process and system implementation, which could be overwhelming for individuals seeking more high-level strategic advice. Additionally, while the book offers valuable insights for various business functions, it may not address some industry-specific challenges in depth. Nevertheless, the core principles and tools outlined in “Traction” can be adapted to suit different contexts.
In conclusion, “Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business” is a highly recommended read for entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders who are looking to gain control, improve efficiency, and achieve their business goals. Gino Wickman’s practical approach, combined with the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), provides a comprehensive framework that can be implemented to drive sustainable growth and success. By following the guidance in this book, readers can gain the necessary traction to take their businesses to the next level.