Practical Wisdom to Reenergize Your Business
Are you frustrated with your business because your growth has stopped or the organization doesn’t seem to be working smoothly? If so, read Gino Wickman’s book "Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business." The 2007 book (later updated) is drawn from his entrepreneurial experience and captures the key elements of what he teaches his consulting clients. His approach has developed an enthusiastic following by small- and mid-size businesses.
This is no academic treatise; it is a practical approach to successfully running and growing a business. For leaders who want instruction on precisely how to do it, Wickman gives it to you. The book lays out a system to optimize people, processes, execution, management, and communication. He calls the overall system the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and provides a litany of examples of companies successfully using it, including one in managed print services.
Wickman’s EOS has six essential components:
- Vision — Set a company vision by using the Vision/Traction Organizer, a tool that forces the leadership team to spell out core values, core focus, marketing strategy, short- and long-term goals, and issues standing in the way. Wickman contends that the vision has to be agreed upon and shared by all to create corporate traction.
- People — Getting the right people into the right “seats” is paramount, and the book provides tools for doing that. Wickman insists that companies create an Accountability Chart (aka organizational chart) that delineates each person’s responsibility. The exercise to do that will probably cause leaders to end up with a chart different from the one they may have now.
- Data — Develop a scorecard of 5-15 metrics that provide the company pulse, are assigned to specific individuals, and are reviewed weekly during the leadership meeting. Once the scoreboard is in place, the measurables cascade down so that every employee has at least one number that they influence and for which they are accountable.
- Issues — Identifying problems and having a systematic method for solving them creates forward momentum. Wickman provides his methodology for doing this.
- Process — Determining the core processes in a business and documenting them is essential for consistency and for removing impediments to customer satisfaction and efficiency. It becomes a company’s “way” of doing business. Wickman offers advice on documenting the processes, communicating them, and getting people to follow them.
- Traction — How do you keep the company focused and on task? Wickman offers instructions for that, too. In this section of the book he describes how to establish corporate-wide, executive, and department-based quarterly goals. The book devotes a section to running effective annual, quarterly, and weekly leadership meetings, including the agendas. If you already have a weekly leadership meeting (deemed crucial by Wickman), then compare your method to his “level 10 meeting” approach.
The book "Traction" is for corporate leaders not happy with their current state of affairs who are looking for a better approach. To follow Wickman’s prescriptions will create unease as the operating manner of the company changes, but the many examples suggest that it will create discipline, focus, and improvement necessary for growth.
[Note: a case study on printing companies combining the power of EOS with CI practices will be presented at April’s Continuous Improvement Conference by Mike Dye of Alliance Franchise Brands.]
2020 Continuous Improvement Conference
The 2020 Continuous Improvement Conference (April 5-8 in Columbus, Ohio) is the only industry event focused on helping printing and converting companies achieve operational excellence and Lean leadership. Attendees directly link reduced costs, lowered waste, and increased profit margins to ideas gained from conference presentations and networking. The conference is presented by PIA and SGIA, with association support from FPA, FTA, and TLMI. To learn more about the event, visit ci.printing.org. Click here to register to attend.
Jim Workman recently retired after a career that spanned 40 years, first with Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, then Printing Industries of America, and most recently, PRINTING United Alliance. He managed the Continuous Improvement Conference for most of its 32-year existence.