Hanging On

A crisis like the current pandemic requires we assess, respond, and adapt. Sometimes we have to simply hang on. No one can predict what the new normal will be. Getting to the other side will take a lot of creativity, discipline, and probably new ways of conducting business. Equally important and often overlooked are the fundamentals. Whether your company has to reinvent itself, regroup, pivot, or adapt in some other way, the time-tested tenets of good business don’t go away. Twenty years ago, Jim Collins wrote his classic Good to Great. Chapter Four is a primer in leadership and management during a time of chaos and change. It’s a short, powerful read. Collins’ four basic practices: Lead with questions, not answersEngage in dialogue and debate, not coercionSearch for understanding and learning — without blameBuild red flag mechanisms that turn information into information that cannot be ignored Fellow EOS® Implementer Mark O’Donnell recently suggested I re-read the famous Chapter Four. I’m glad I did and suggest you do the... read more

Weathering the Storm of Chaos

Turbulent times require that leaders stay grounded. Most of us have help to do that – from a spouse, a friend, a peer group, prayer or our disciplined routines. There are many sources. I just read a book that helped me – I know I’ll read it again more than once. The book is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Pausch was a professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University until retiring to fight his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The book is a collection of his thoughts before and after his famous last lecture.In his book and lecture, Pausch shares an inspirational perspective on achieving your childhood dreams, living life to the fullest and reevaluating what is important. In EOS we ask leaders to be clear about three things: their company values (the “who”), the purpose of what they do (the “why”), and what they do better than anyone else (the “what”). The same three questions apply to us as individuals. Pausch opens the door for us to reflect on all three. It might be a revelation for you or just a reminder. Regardless, it’s a terrific read. Treat... read more


One of the Foundational tools of EOS® includes a process to solve issues once and for all. It’s called IDS™: Identify, Discuss, and Solve. In the Identify stage, the universal challenge is to be disciplined. To repeatedly peel the onion, uncovering the exact root of the problem. To get there, we typically do a root cause analysis, such as asking “why” five times. Here are some common reframes: Another option is to reframe an issue. “Reframing” is simply stating the problem in a different way. By looking at an issue from a different perspective, we can be more creative addressing it. What is the issue from another person’s perspective? Look at the issue through a different lens.What is my role in creating the issue? We tend to think of the problem as something being done to us, but we also play a role.What data is available to confirm the issue? When you examine the data (vs. the conclusion), new insights evolve. Reframing takes additional time and effort – and it’s worth it. Here’s a great article with suggestions and insight: Harvard Business Review:  Are You Solving the Right... read more

Making an Impact

Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Leaders in the EOS® system ask themselves ten important questions. These get to the heart of how you manage, lead and inspire your team. The questions also become the foundation of your ongoing relationships with your direct reports. They include: Are we on the same page about the vision of the company and your position?Is there clarity about the expectations each of us has of the other?Is the frequency of regular meetings right?Do you receive enough support from me?Are things being delegated appropriately?Is feedback given and taken well? The reward for this time with employees goes well beyond the information itself. It conveys the critical message that you genuinely care about them. When employees feel your appreciation and respect, they feel valued. In turn, they become more engaged with you and with the... read more

Top Speed is Overrated

Seth Godin’s last blog for 2019 struck a chord for me. It was very timely for beginning a new year, as we revisit our goals, activities and commitments. Godin shares two stories about how traveling the “fastest” way may not actually be the fastest way. Factors other than maximum speed or power often yield a better outcome. His blog is a current take on a classic message. Remember “The Tortoise and the Hare?” Or the “Little Engine That Could?” Consistent, disciplined effort creates sustainable results. Random bursts of energy are spectacular in the moment. They are also difficult to harness and predict. Home runs are exciting and seductive. But winning teams do it with singles and doubles, day in and day out. EOS® delivers this approach to your business. Specifically: A compelling visionValues that drive behaviorAn open and honest cultureControlling your business with metrics (not politics!)Resolving issues effectivelyConcise processes followed by allRegular, disciplined meetingsClear priorities and accountabilities Over time you’ll get the results you want. Like the tortoise and the little engine — consistency and discipline ultimately... read more


I recently saw “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers. It’s a powerful movie – about forgiveness, which I totally didn’t expect. Forgiveness is a huge topic. Emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. An application in business is learning from our past and moving on. In my work with EOS® clients, we often uncover baggage. Resentment going back months, or years. Unresolved issues impacting morale. Misunderstandings that are now a barrier to moving forward. In many companies it’s a long list. In EOS, we have an unrelenting focus on the essence of forgiveness — letting go of the past and moving on to the future as a cohesive team. On a personal level, take some quiet time to identify and understand where forgiveness would benefit you. Think about team members, family and friends. Identify what’s stopping you from letting go. Maybe even enlist some help in moving on. Mr. Rogers’ messages are as relevant now as they were when we were... read more

Delivering on Our Words

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I’ve been feeling much gratitude lately for a host of reasons. At this time in 1963, JF Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”As leaders, it’s what we do that really counts, not just what we say. The power of EOS® is purely and simply about putting ideas and thoughts into action. Employees respond with appreciation when leaders provide:  A clear picture of how the company sees the futureThe opportunity to work next to people who are not toxic and can do their jobsFeedback on how the company is performing and how they contribute to its successTrustworthy leaders who really hear issues and have the courage to resolve themClear processes to take the drama out of the day-to-day chaosProductive meetings where priorities are established and follow up on As leaders, our goal is to create a healthy culture. With this, we earn the gratitude of our employees. This is a great time of year to reflect on how we’re... read more

Delegate & Elevate™

As an EOS® leader, you delegate in order to elevate your activities to the best use of your time and talents. It’s not easy to give up control. Unfortunately, you can’t grow unless you do exactly that. There are two approaches to delegation. The easier approach is to delegate an activity. This is transactional and includes everything from single tasks to large-scale projects.The more difficult, and more impactful, approach is to delegate responsibility. This is when you give someone full responsibility for an ongoing activity or role. The Six Components of EOS provide an important checklist for leaders when they choose to delegate a responsibility: Vision. Are you clear about your expectations? Are you providing direction in writing?People. Will the responsible person and their entire team succeed? Do they get it, want it and have the capacity to do it (GWC™)?Data. Are there metrics in place to give you confidence that the responsibility is being handled successfully?Issues. What are potential issues, based on historical experiences and current variables?Process. Does the person understand the processes related to the responsibility?Traction. Is there a transition plan in place, with milestone meetings, to ensure a successful hand-off? Are priorities established along the way? It’s not easy to delegate responsibility, but your up-front investment is directly proportional to everyone’s long-term... read more

This is Hard Work

A colleague recently recommended a book to me: The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler. He makes a compelling, faith-based argument for having 100% conviction about being a leader. In my experience with leadership teams, there are five areas where leaders – being human – let things drift. It’s hard for us to walk the talk. Getting Rocks done: Being busy is no excuse. Everyone is.Leading by example in Level 10 Meetings™: Being on time, following the agenda, keeping the focus.Staying committed to Quarterly Conversations™: It’s easy to delay or skip them all together.Being accountable and holding others accountable: Not always easy, but critical.Making Decisions: A wrong decision is better than no decision. We need to practice and master skills in each of these five areas. But that’s not enough. Equally important, we need the conviction to stay the course. As always, employees pay more attention to what we do than what we... read more

Command Performance

“Meetings are where the magic happens” says Gino Wickman.  The agenda for the weekly meetings in the EOS® system is a powerful tool that is guaranteed to get better results from meetings at any level of the organization. The ultimate key to success, however, is the willingness of leaders to be open and honest, not just “check the box” in their participation. In his online book Decide, Wickman lists 10 Commandments for making decisions in meetings and being open and honest. Thou shall not rule by consensusThou shall not be a weenieThou shall be decisiveThou shall not rely on secondhand informationThou shall fight for the greater goodThou shall not try to solve them allThou shall live with it, end it, or change itThou shall choose short-term pain and sufferingThou shall enter the dangerThou shall take a shot The leadership teams of my EOS clients have seen great performance improvements from being brave and “showing up”with each other.  By the way, Decide is a quick read at only 34 pages. It’s full of nuggets. Get... read more

Sign up to Receive EOS First Saturday

Full Name
Email *