6 Steps to Achieving your Goals

Process, Team Health, Traction

According to a recent article by Douglas Vermeeren in Reliable Plant magazine, only 20 percent of the population actually sets goals for themselves. Of that 20 percent, roughly 70 percent of those goals are not achieved. That equates to only 14% of the population setting and achieving goals. While I see better success rates from the business I work with, in the early stages of our work together, most entrepreneurial businesses are only accomplishing around 40% of their goals on time.

After 6 years of working with over 80 organizations in over 900 full days of Planning Sessions, I am finding a very common thread among those who are succeeding and those who are not – a lack of capacity. All of the systems and planning in the world will not work if you do not first create capacity.

6 Steps to Achieving your Goals

Step 1: Create Capacity

In their book The 4 Disciplines of Execution, authors McChesney, Covey and Huling cite what they call the “whirlwind.” The whirlwind is all of the massive amounts of energy that are required to keep your operation going on a day-to-day basis. It is the #1 enemy of strategic execution.

The problem is that most entrepreneurs and their leadership teams spend nearly 100% of their capacity in the whirlwind. When you do that, you are not prioritizing your time to focus on the big-picture strategic goals that will grow your company and are choosing instead to prioritize staying in the weeds, doing work that could be delegated to lower cost per hour employees. As leaders and managers you must first focus on a skill we teach as part of EOS® called delegate and elevate. You must learn to delegate what drains you and focus on doing what fulfills you.

Step 2: Identify the Vital

Many things are important, but in business and in life, only a precious few are truly vital. You must understand and focus on the difference and prioritize accordingly.

Start by painting a 3-Year Picture™ of where you want the organization to be in 3 short years. Then, thinking about where you want your company to be in 3 years, where does it need to be in 1 year? In order to get where you need to be in 1 year, and to set yourself up to achieve your 3-Year Picture™ while at the same time focusing on your issues (I suggest doing a SWOT analysis and building an issues list), what are the 3 to 7 vital goals that must be accomplished in the next year? Write them down. At EOS®, we teach a tool called the Vision/Traction Organizer™ (V/TO).

Step 3: Set Quarterly Rocks

Following Steven Covey’s analogy from his book First Things First, as an EOS® Implementer I teach quarterly goals as Rocks. The 3 to 7 (less is more) most vital things that must get done in the next 90 days in order to reach your annual goals and/or remove the obstacles and barriers (Issues) that are standing in the way.

To set successful Rocks, they must be SMART Rocks.

Specific – It must be crystal clear to the entire team exactly what “done” looks like for each Rock

Measurable – You must be able to measure and define the finish line

Attainable – Everyone must be 100% committed that the Rock is attainable, even if a stretch, and the team must agree to hold each other accountable for getting the Rocks done

Relevant – The Rocks must be relevant to the Annual Goals or to removing an obstacle or barrier. This ensures alignment to the Vital Goals.

Timely – The current quarter must be the right time to focus on the specific Rocks

Step 4: Set Milestones

During the quarter, on your way to accomplishing your Rock, define what “on track to win” looks like. Think about the few major hurdles you must cross to accomplish the Rock. Establish a timeline that includes SMART milestones with due dates and focus on one milestone at a time.

Think about it like golf. If you want to shoot par, you have to take it one hole at a time. In order to par the hole, most golf professionals will tell you to focus on 3 “milestones”: fairways hit, greens in regulation, and putts. If you hit the fairway off the tee, make the green in regulation, and get in the hole in no more than 2 putts, you will par the hole. That’s why if I’m playing golf and there are wagers on the line, I hit my 3-wood off the tee rather than my driver. I don’t focus on the entire hole, just hitting the fairway. My fairways hit goes up, which sets me up to more likely hit the green in regulation which increases my odds of finishing the hole in no more than 2 putts. It’s when I get greedy on the tee and start thinking about eagle on a par-5 and try to cut the woods and carry the pond that I snap-hook and end up taking a penalty along with the ridicule of the rest of my foursome.

Step 5: Create Accountability with a Meeting Pulse

Create a weekly cadence for a high-value, focused meeting of the leadership team. Report on measurables and Rocks and solve issues for anything that is not on track to be 100% done by the due date. This allows healthy teams to hold each other accountable and execute at a much higher level than teams who do not.

I teach my clients to hold what we call Level-10 Meetings. These meetings are on the same day and at the same time each week, start on time, end on time, and follow the same agenda. As my clients progress in running solid Level-10 Meetings, they find that on a scale of 1-10, the value of their time meeting together goes from an average of around a 4 or 5 to a consistent 9-10.

Step 6: Establish a Quarterly Rhythm

Every 90 days, before you set your new goals for the quarter, meet as a team offsite to avoid distractions and reflect on the prior quarter.

What did you accomplish? What did you do that helped you succeed? What didn’t get done? If you had it to do over again, what would you have done differently in order to be successful? Have you created the capacity to spend the necessary time focused on the vital things, or have you sacrificed the vital to spend your time buried in the whirlwind?

Parting Thoughts

Focus on the lessons learned and carry those lessons forward as you repeat the steps above. Focus on continual progress over perfection because growing a business is all about positive momentum. And don’t forget to celebrate your wins!

 

Written by Michael Erath, Certified EOS Implementer™, Scaling Up Coach, Best-Selling Author and Founder of The Traction Hub

Next Steps

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Less But Better

Entrepreneurial Freedom, Process, Team Health, Traction

Are you spread too thin? Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels? You may be a victim of the Paradox of Success.

It was Socrates who said, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” I remember as a child observing my parents, and as I reflect back on those days, a piece of me longs for the simplicity.

My father was a very successful entrepreneur. Born in 1927 and growing up dirt poor in Chicago following the Great Depression, my father went on to build multiple successful businesses, chair multiple boards and foundations, and was honored both with the High Point University baseball field carrying his name and being voted High Point, North Carolina’s 1987 Citizen of the Year. He was a great philanthropist and accomplished a great deal.

But every evening he would come home from work around 6:00 pm and watch the news. At 7:00, we would have dinner at the dining room table as a family…and talk. We traveled often. In the summertime after dinner, he and I would throw the baseball or football until dark, and in the winter months, we would watch TV as a family or just talk. He never stayed up late working after I went to bed. He never missed a game because he was too busy. Success did not require busyness in the 1970s and 80s—nor does it need to today.

I recently turned 49. He was 44 when I was born. In the passing of a generation, so much has changed. Our work follows us home because we are constantly connected. If we don’t make an effort, our family time is overrun by screens. Even on our weekends, we get lured into checking email. And with our family, we rarely, as Mr. Miyagi said in Karate Kid, “Look eye!”

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day…” Touché.

The Paradox of Success

In his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, author Greg McKeown describes a “paradox of success.”

With success come opportunities and more options. But these options and opportunities often distract us and lure us away from what is truly vital in our life. Oh the temptations…I have heard their siren songs many times, and wrote about it in my Amazon Best Selling book, RISE: The Reincarnation of an Entrepreneur. Our clarity begins to fade. We take on too much and find ourselves juggling too many things. No longer able to go a mile in one direction, we find ourselves fighting to go barely an inch in a million directions.

Ultimately, our success becomes the foundation of our failure.

Less but Better

Finding your way to a life based on the idea of less but better will yield three significant outcomes: more clarity, more control, and more joy.

More Clarity

One way to begin the process of shedding the things that have become distractions is to think about the handful of things in your life that are truly vital. For me, it is time with my wife, connection with my adult sons, travel, time for health and fitness, time for living my faith, and time for helping others. What are yours?

Once you know the answer, you can begin to make a list of all the things you pack into a day, a week, a month, and a year. Of the things on that list, which of them actually increase your capacity to spend time on what is vital and which things on the list detract from the same? Start small, but start. Begin the process of saying “no” and shedding the things that are taking away from your time to focus on what is vital.

When you do this, as Greg McKeown says, “Every day it becomes more clear than the day before how the essential things are so much more important than the next most important thing in line.”

More Control

As you continue to shed the distractions, you will find that fewer people have control over your time and your life, and instead, you become increasingly in control. If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else surely will.

More Joy

When you are able to focus with clarity on the handful of things that are vital in your life, you will find yourself more focused in the moment. Free from distraction, you will be able to live life more fully. It was the Dali Lama who wrote, “If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness.”

I think he is right.

Next Steps

Learn more about how The TRACTION Hub can help you and your organization clarify, simplify, and achieve your vision. Schedule a discovery call to see if EOS® and The TRACTION Hub are a good match for your organization.

Written by Michael Erath, Master Facilitator, Certified EOS Implementer™, Best-Selling Author and Founder of The Traction Hub

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Hard Word Doesn’t Always Work

Entrepreneurial Freedom, Issues, People, Team Health

Hard work is an inherent part of what makes every entrepreneur tick. It’s that mindset telling us if we just keep working harder and harder we can accomplish anything. It’s true — but only to a point.

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One Simple Key to a Strong and Healthy Visionary/Integrator Relationship

Entrepreneurial Freedom, Team Health

Are you running your business on EOS® (Entrepreneurial Operating System) but not yet getting the level of Traction® you had expected? Until your Visionary and Integrator™ start prioritizing their relationship, you won’t. Here’s one simple thing they can do to help your Leadership Team and your organization gain Traction®.

In my years as an EOS Implementer™, having helped more than 50 businesses Implement EOS® and gain Traction®, one of the top attributes I see in the most successful organizations I work with is a strong and healthy relationship between the Visionary and the Integrator™.

When the relationship is strong, the leadership team benefits and is able to cut through all the noise and solve their issues at the root quickly and efficiently. Their B.S. meter is well-tuned when the Visionary and the Integrator™ have a strong and healthy relationship.

When the relationship is weak, however, there is typically a lack of accountability, a damaging tolerance of people issues, and a lack of focus on building and implementing clearly defined and consistently followed processes to systemize the business.

Which of those best describes your organization?

If your Visionary/Integrator relationship is less than ideal, please make a renewed focus this quarter on the following key to a stronger and healthier relationship:

Hold a Regular, Calendared Same Page Meeting™ to Increase Traction®.

The Same Page Meeting™ is a special meeting designed to help the Visionary and Integrator™ in a company running on EOS® smoke out and resolve issues that weaken their relationship. Visionaries often feel that their ideas are not fully understood or being implemented. They often feel frustrated by slow progress, missed numbers or goals being off track and important things simply not getting done.

On the other hand, Integrators often feel like their Visionaries are too deep in the weeds – getting in their way as they attempt to run the day-to-day of the business, sending mixed signals to the troops as to whom they are directly accountable. At times Integrators feel unclear of the direction the Visionary wants to go, which leads to fits of starting and stopping and changing directions.

While the Visionary and Integrator™ may interact with each other on a near daily basis, if they are not taking time monthly, bi-weekly or even weekly to get out of the weeds, focus on their relationship, and look at things from the outside in, they will never effectively break this cycle.

Here is how I teach the Same Page Meeting™.

The most common cadence in the early years of the EOS® journey I have found to work well is bi-weekly for 2 hours. Ideally, you have to play around with the cadence until you find what works best for you. But as with your Level 10 Meeting™, what you must do is pick a day and time and block it on your calendar consistently.

Same Page Meeting™ Agenda:

1. Check In (Deeper check in than in the L-10 – this is a very important relationship and an important step): Ask each other questions like, “How are things going with you professionally? With family? Friendships? Personally, with time to focus on yourself? How balanced are you feeling?”

2. Build an Issues List on a whiteboard or flip chart:

a. Integrator asks Visionary: “Where do you feel frustrated/disconnected? Where do you feel like your vision is not being executed? Where do you feel that people don’t ‘get it’? What else has been keeping you up at night?” Use any other questions you can think of to pull out the issues.

b. Visionary asks Integrator: “Where do you feel unclear on my expectations? Where do you feel stuck? Where do you have people issues? Are you 100% certain we have clear expectations of each other? Are we communicating well? Do you feel like I am undermining your authority in any way?” Use any other questions you can think of to pull out the issues.

3. Build an Issues List from the responses to the above questions. Ask additional questions, if necessary, to get the issues out of your heads. Try to stay “on” the business and “on” the relationship more than “in” the business.

4. Prioritize and IDS™ the Issues until the list is clear.

5. Conclude: Recap any To-Do’s, close the loop with cascading messages and rate the meeting (1-10). You should both leave feeling clear and aligned. If not, talk about why and solve for that. If either of you feel the meeting was not a 9 or 10, ask what a 10 would have looked like and modify future meetings to increase value, always striving for a 10.

Being diligent and consistent with the Same Page Meeting™ will build trust, clarity and harmony at the helm of the organization and that alignment will naturally filter its way through the rest of the organization. In a family, if the parents are not on the same page and both pulling their weight, then the children suffer. Your business is no different. Increase Traction® by getting on, and staying on, the same page.

Next Steps

Visit the Process Optimizer™ website to learn more about the fastest and most efficient way to get your core processes documented, optimized and followed by everyone in your organization.

Written by Michael Erath, Master Facilitator, Certified EOS Implementer™, Best-Selling Author and Founder of The Traction Hub

 

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SMART Direction is now The TRACTION Hub

Entrepreneurial Freedom, Team Health

As I continue to focus on growing my company and expanding my firm’s offerings, I am excited to announce a rebranding from SMART Direction to The TRACTION Hub.

While SMART Direction will continue to operate, it will move into a “parent company” role and The TRACTION Hub will be the primary operating entity. The focus of The TRACTION Hub will expand beyond Heidi and I directly working with individual companies to implement and run on EOS® to include the following additional services:

Process Optimizer

The Process Optimizer™ has been successfully helping companies strengthen their Process Component™ faster than any other available option since 2016. In an intensive, 2-Day workshop, a Certified Process Optimizer (CPO) can help your team define, optimize and map your Core Processes. Within a matter of weeks following the workshop, your CPO will deliver a first-draft version of your Core Processes Document so that you may begin immediately working on Followed by All. Learn more at ProcessOptimizer.biz

The TRACTION Hub Quarterly Collaborative Experience

Specifically designed for companies self-implementing EOS®, the Quarterly Collaborative Experience (QCE), will be a 1-day event open to one or more Leadership Team members of self-implementing companies where we will review the prior quarter, build a community issues list, do a deep dive of an EOS® tool, and IDS issues together. I will personally lead the QCE’s so that participants can get the value of access to one of the nation’s busiest Certified EOS® Implementer’s every 90 days, at a fraction of the cost.

At the end of the day it is all about delivering results on our purpose: To help entrepreneurs live their ideal life. Everything we do, we do with that end in mind. Thank you for your continued support. If there is anything we can do to be of assistance, please reach out.

Be Great Today!

Michael

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Ferns Don’t Grow in the Desert

Team Health

Have you ever worked somewhere that just didn’t feel right for you? Maybe you’re working there now. Have you worked with people who just didn’t seem like a good fit for the organization? You, just like everyone else, were created to thrive in a certain ecosystem. At a recent Quarterly meeting of EOS Implementers, Sue Hawkes shared the following insight on this topic: “Just as ferns don’t grow in the desert, cacti don’t grow in the rainforest.” Core values and culture are like ecosystems. The world is full of many. And in their own ways, all are good for certain inhabitants.

There are two key components you must discover about yourself in order to find your ideal ecosystem.

First, you must understand what it really is that you value at your core. Just like an organization needs well-defined core values, so do you as a person. These personal core values are values that will not change over time and values that you will not sacrifice for easy gain.

Second, you must discover your Unique Ability®. Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, says it like this, “At the heart of who you are lies the secret to your greatest success, best quality of life and biggest contribution to the world. This is your Unique Ability—a hard-wired set of natural talents that you’re passionate about doing in every area of life. It’s you at your best.”

STEP 1: Discover Your Personal Core Values

Begin by thinking about some of your greatest experiences in life. Make a list of what was going on and what values you were honoring that made the experience so great. Write down those values.

Next, think of times when you have been really frustrated, angry, ashamed, etc. What were you feeling? Can you turn those feelings around and see the values that were being denied? Add those to your list.

Finally, think about your passions. What makes you the happiest or most content? What are the values that are being satisfied in those situations? Add those values as well.

Now take your list and start grouping the words together by themes. You should begin to see a pattern or trend emerge. Once you have compartmentalized those values, you can begin to look for keywords or phrases that sum up each of your personal core values.

When that work is done, test yourself: Are you really living out these values? Do they really define a significant and joyful life for you? Once you have been able to get to a yes, then you just need to find the right organization that has similar values in order to find a great fit. One word of caution: Beware of aspirational values. Those are the values that you would like to hold, but if you are totally honest with yourself, you do not. Perhaps you can modify your behaviors out of awareness, but that can be a slippery slope.

STEP 2: Discover your Unique Ability

Unique Ability®  is a concept created by Dan Sullivan and is a registered trademark of The Strategic Coach, Inc. In its simplest form, it is best described as the intersection between those things about which you are passionate and those things at which you are most talented.

One simple exercise to take a step toward understanding your Unique Ability® is to take a piece of paper, turn it sideways, and draw two large circles side by side so that they overlap by about one-third. In the circle on the left, but not in the overlapping space, write down things that you are passionate about. In the circle on the right, but again not in the overlapping space, write down things at which you are talented.

Step back and look at the big picture. What commonalities exist between some of your passions and some of your talents? Group those together in the overlapping space. Finding a meaningful career or building a meaningful business based on the intersection between your passions and your talents will lead to a rewarding life of significance.

Now that you have defined your core values and Unique Ability®, what is the best ecosystem in which you can thrive? Be patient; if you are not already there—and I hope that you are—it is out there. Leverage your networks to seek out opportunities where you can grow and flourish. It will be worth it. You are the best asset that you have.

 

Next Steps

  • Take a short test to see how your organization is doing. Click here to take a brief organizational check-up that will tell you how you’re doing in these six key components.
  • Learning more. Schedule a call to see if EOS® and SMART-Direction are a good match for your organization. 
Written by Michael Erath, Master Facilitator, Certified EOS Implementer™, Best-Selling Author and Founder of The Traction Hub

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The TRACTION Hub adds Process Optimizer™ to it’s service offerings

Team Health

If you are struggling to find the time to define and document your Core Processes or if you feel like your Processes need to be refined and improved with the help of a tenured “Lean” professional, The TRACTION Hub is pleased to offer the Process Optimizer™, a 2-Day Define and Optimize Your Core Processes workshop.  The on-site workshop will follow a proven process created by Certified EOS® Implementer Michael Erath and Heidi Berger, Lean Specialist, CMA & MBA.  The process will not only help you define and document your Core Processes, but also help your teams triage each process to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and streamline every step to drive more value into your business.
 
The end result is that you will have all of the work done to complete your “Franchise Prototype” with 100% EOS® Purity in only 2 days. Within three weeks of completion of the workshop, we will deliver you the first draft of your documented Core Processes.

 


Heidi Berger – Lean Specialist, Certified Management Accountant and MBA

 

Heidi Berger brings to The TRACTION Hub and its EOS® clients a passion for analytics and helping businesses understand the “why” behind solutions. Heidi has spent her career analyzing and improving operations for companies in a variety of industries, with over 10 years at P.F. Chang’s, where she held roles as VP of Planning and Analysis, VP of Financial Operations and Risk, and most recently VP of Business Transformation. Heidi has also been in a variety of senior management roles in retail, distribution and restaurant firms where she focused on Finance, Operations, Risk, Treasury and Supply Management. Her roles have helped C-suite leaders guide strategy and make better decisions while also helping coach and mentor those directly affecting the customer. Heidi has a gift for translating the complex nature of numbers and analysis into meaningful, actionable ideas that can be executed. Her work with The TRACTION Hub will leverage these roles to help companies define, improve and document core processes, create measurables to build accountability to those processes, and improve bottom line performance.

A Green Belt in Lean principles guides Heidi in identifying waste and problem solving for teams and helping create value for clients. She helps companies achieve operational excellence in their core processes to optimize execution. Creating scorecards and dashboards are key drivers in her approach. As a Certified Management Accountant with an MBA in International Operations, Heidi’s has both the intellectual capacity and the real-world experience to bring meaningful, detailed change to SMART Direction’s clients and strengthen their EOS® Implementation.

Heidi and The TRACTION Hub founder, Michael Erath, have developed a Proven Process to help clients Define, Refine and Document their Core Processes over an intense 2-day workshop which Heidi facilitates “on site” at the client’s location. The end result of the 2-day workshop is a full mapping of all of the organizations Core Processes, with refinements and identified cost savings as well as assigned ownership of every step of every process. Let Heidi do the work for you, so that your teams can stay focused on executing your day-to-day business.

Heidi splits her time between Scottsdale, Arizona and Hotchkiss, Colorado with her husband, their draft horse hitch and dogs.  She is available to travel to any US destination.

Contact us to schedule a discovery call.

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