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 our Resource Center to download a free chapter of Michael’s bestselling book RISE: The Reincarnation of an Entrepreneur as well as books from the EOS® Library
  • Contact Michael to learn more about how the team at The TRACTION Hub can help you CLARIFY, SIMPLIFY and ACHIEVE your VISION
  • 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.


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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

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!



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6 Steps to Achieving your Goals

Team Health

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.

As I am coming out of annual planning season, having facilitated over 60 full day strategic sessions with more than 30 businesses over the past 3 months, 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”, it 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. 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) which you can download for free here.

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!

Next Steps

  • Visit our Resource Center to download a free chapter of Michael’s bestselling book RISE: The Reincarnation of an Entrepreneur as well as books from the EOS® Library
  • Contact Michael to learn more about how the team at The TRACTION Hub can help you CLARIFY, SIMPLIFY and ACHIEVE your VISION


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Less But Better

Team Health

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 46. 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 write about it in my upcoming 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 and Michael Erath can help you and your organization clarify, simplify, and achieve your vision. Schedule a call to see if EOS® and The TRACTION Hub are a good match for your organization.

Get a free copy of the ebook Decide!

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Communication Problems Aren’t About Communication at All

Team Health

One of the most common phrases I hear when I talk with business leaders and managers about their biggest issues or frustrations with their organization is, “We have poor communication.” If you feel that way at times about your organization, you are far from alone.

But what if I told you that your communication problems aren’t communication problems at all?

Several months ago, I hired facilitation coach Dino Signore, Ph.D. to help me on my journey to mastery as a coach myself. In one of our sessions, the topic of poor communication in organizations came up.

To better understand why groups often complain of poor communication, it is important to first understand why groups form in the first place. If you are part of a group or team at work, why does your group exist?

Groups or teams typically form in order to solve problems. For teams to solve problems, information must flow well within the group. Information flows as a result of a process. When that process is clear and followed by all, information flows well and the group solves problems effectively. When that process is not clear, or not followed by all, information does not flow well and the group does not solve problems effectively.

You Don’t Have Communication Problems; You Have an Information Flow Problem

Poor communication is a symptom of a deeper issue, not the real issue. If you feel like you have poor communication at times, look into the process by which information flows through your organization.

Meeting Pulse

Do you have the right meeting pulse? Are you meeting too infrequently and not staying on the same page and aligned? Are you meeting too much and wasting time, causing people to disengage from the meetings? Find the right cadence to stay connected and on the same page.

I teach my clients the EOS®  meeting pulse: a weekly Level-10 meeting that is on the same day, at the same time, follows the same agenda, starts on time and ends on time. Beyond that, there are three all-day quarterly planning sessions and a two-day annual planning retreat once a year.

Meeting Dysfunction                                              

Are your meetings highly functional? Do you smoke out and solve issues well so that they don’t keep recurring? Do you cascade messages from your meetings out to the rest of the organization as necessary, so everyone remains aligned and clear? How would you rate the value and effectiveness of your meetings on a scale from 1 to 10?

Most of the teams I work with say that their meetings are around a 4 before we start working together. As I help them develop a better process and teach them to have meetings that consistently rate 9s and 10s, I ask them a few basic questions about the following behaviors that can damage the quality of the meetings:

1 – Who interrupts?

2 – Who talks forever?

3 – Who talks first?

4 – Who talks last?

5 – Who does not talk?

Asking these questions helps to smoke out some of the behaviors that negatively affect meetings so that team members can become more aware and modify behaviors. The next time you are in a meeting, pay attention to the five questions above and see if you can detect the behaviors that are damaging your meetings.

With a solid meeting pulse and a clear understanding of the behaviors that negatively affect your meetings, you can begin to focus on the process by which information flows—both in the meetings and in between teams outside of the meetings.

Next Steps

  • Curious about learning more? Schedule a call to see if EOS® and SMART-Direction are a good match for your organization.
  • To get a free copy of the ebook Decide!  just fill out the form and write “Decide!” in the message area and we will email it to you in PDF format.




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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.
  • Get a free copy of the ebook Decide! Just fill out the form and write “Decide!” in the message area, and we will email it to you in PDF format.




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Faithful Are the Wounds of a Friend

Team Health

A Three-Step Process to Better Issues Solving

One of the most common frustrations I hear from the entrepreneurs and business leaders I talk to and work with is that they keep struggling with the same issues over and over. No matter how much time they spend talking about and meeting to solve their issues, the same ones just keep coming back up.

At its core, I believe the problem lies in something that many of us find incredibly difficult: openly and honestly addressing the true root causes of the issues. When we fail to hit the nerve when addressing issues, we find ourselves stuck talking about symptoms of deeper issues, and we rarely, if ever, solve our issues at the root. Failure to “kill it at the root” means it will keep coming back.

That leads me to the title of this blog. Some of you may recognize it as the first part of Proverbs 27:6, which says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”

Let’s look first to the latter and put this in the context of a team. If somebody is giving undue praise, or avoiding bringing up something that is holding the team back because they don’t want to upset anybody, they are acting as an enemy to the team. Their unwillingness to get their thoughts or concerns out of their head is actually holding the team back and hurting the overall team’s health. In their mind, many people often justify this as being nice or not wanting to upset anybody.

Now to the statement, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” When we really care about something or someone, we must be willing to be completely open and honest about the root causes of our issues, even if it may be difficult for someone on the team to hear. When we do, we are acting as a friend to the team. We are actually saying that we care enough about the person and the team to accept the temporary punishment or discomfort that may come back on us for being open and honest with them. Of course, there are productive ways to do this, but to really get to a high level of team health and successful issues solving, team members must be willing to accept that sometimes there will be short-term discomfort when they are open and honest. Ultimately, it is all about doing what is best for the greater good of the team.

So think about that the next time you are preparing for a meeting. Can you create an open and honest issues list? Can you get the issues out of your head and written down on a piece of paper to take into the meeting? As a team, can you create an issues list on a flip chart or white board during your meetings so that all of the issues are out of your heads and on display for everybody to see? There is great therapy in just getting them out of your head.

Three Steps to Better Issues Solving

As a Certified EOS® Implementer, the process I teach teams for solving issues efficiently and permanently can be summarized by with three letters: I-D-S. The letters stand for the three steps of the process: Identify, Discuss, and Solve.

  1. Identify: Start with your issues list on display, and ask the team to quickly state the three biggest issues on the list. (In the event that you run out of time, you always want to solve the biggest issues first.) Once the top three are identified, just start with number one. The first step is for the person who brought that issue to the list to restate it in the shortest sentence possible, really trying to hit the nerve of the issue. When that is done, go around the group and be sure that everybody agrees the stated issue is really getting to the root and that there is nothing deeper. Doing this well will help you dig down to root causes and stop just putting bandages on symptoms.
  1. Discuss: This is the step where each person gets to say their peace or state their opinions about the issue—but only once—because more than once and you’re “politicking.” It is in these endless political debates about issues where most teams get stuck wasting countless hours accomplishing nothing. Strive to get in and out of this step efficiently, and don’t go back.
  1. Solve: If you really got to the root cause in step one, and if everybody said what really needed to be said in step two, then the solutions often become obvious and are almost always already in the room. During this step, it is critical that you stay focused on solutions and don’t drift back into “discuss.” Ask yourselves what action items can be carried out in the next one to two weeks that can bring about a solution to the issue. As you create this list of action items, put them on a to-do list. Be sure that somebody on the team owns each to do, and follow up in the next week’s meeting to be sure the to dos are getting to done.

Confronting the root issues like this takes courage and it takes being a true friend to the team and to the greater good of the organization. Creating a strong issues list is the first step to solving issues so that they go away forever. Mastering this process takes time and practice, but if you stay focused on following this simple three-step process to issues solving, you will begin to find that you are able to solve issues in a way that makes them go away forever.

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.
  • Get a free copy of the ebook Decide! Just fill out the form and write “Decide!” in the message area, and we will email it to you in PDF format.




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For Passion to Survive, It Needs Structure

Team Health

Most entrepreneurial organizations are born with a passion. When a company is in start-up mode, that passion is oftentimes all it takes to get an idea or a new business moving forward. But then what? How is the business sustained? How does it scale? How does it navigate future uncertainties?

Depending on whose statistics you accept as accurate (I am using numbers from the SBA, Forbes and Bloomberg in this example), between 50% and 60% of new businesses fail within their first 5 years, and around 75% to 80% do not make it to the 10-year mark. A quick internet search for why businesses fail will turn up dozens of different reasons—everything from running out of cash, poor accounting and bad hiring decisions to declining markets, dysfunctional management and many more.

I would argue that each of those reasons—and the many more that are often cited—are actually symptoms of a deeper issue.

For Passion to Survive…

Simon Sinek, I think, says it best in his book Start with Why, when he writes, “For passion to survive, it needs structure.” Think about that combination for a minute. If you can combine a high level of passion with the structure necessary to bring discipline, accountability and focus into the organization, then you have the foundation for a lasting organization.

In 2013, in the middle of building one of my entrepreneurial businesses, I was introduced to what I believe is the most simplified, holistic and effective system on which to operate a business: the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS).

EOS is based on the discovery that, of all the different issues entrepreneurs struggle with week to week and month to month, they are all just symptoms of weakness in one of six key components of businesses.

The Six Key Components of Business

Vision: The first of the six key components is the vision component. In an organization with a strong vision, everyone is crystal clear on where the organization is going and how it is going to get there. This brings great alignment and focus.

People: Jim Collins said it best in his book Good to Great: A company that is filled with great people has focused on getting the right people in the right seats. The right people fit the core values of the organization, and having them in the right seats means they get, want and have the capacity to do the job well.

Data: A business with a strong data component has a strong scorecard: 5 to 15 numbers that are tracked weekly against specific goals that give the leadership team a pulse on the business. They also have great measurables, meaning everybody in the company has a number that defines success for them in their role.

Issues: Simply put, an organization with a strong issues component has mastered the ability to openly call out the true root cause of their issues rather than just dealing superficially with symptoms, solving them so that they go away forever.

Process: When the process component is strong, a business will have defined and documented its core process, creating its own franchise prototype. Having this in place and followed by all means that the business is more consistent and scalable than if clear processes are lacking.

Traction®: The traction component is where the other five are brought down to the ground, and discipline and accountability are created through a regular meeting pulse in which short-term goals are set and reported on and issues are solved, creating weekly action items to get things done.

As the organizations I work with strengthen these six key components of their businesses, they inevitably find that the multitude of issues they were struggling with begin to just fall into place. If you want to experience the same for your organization, consider taking at least one of these next steps.

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.
  • Get a free copy of the ebook Decide! Just fill out the form and write “Decide!” in the message area, and we will email it to you in PDF format.


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Improve Team Health by Hunting for the Elephants

Team Health

I recently found myself in yet another room full of smart, sophisticated business leaders who had built a growing business but had hit a ceiling because they couldn’t see the elephants in the room. All of the teaching tools I had would not penetrate the thick hide of this elusive animal, and if I couldn’t help them see—and kill—the elephant, they would never get the full benefit of our work together and improve their Team Health.

In his book The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni unearths a reality I have seen play out many times in my own businesses as well as in my years of working with leadership teams of entrepreneurial organizations. It is a psychological mindset that is rooted in the size of the team and significantly impacts Team Health. Many times, I find that business owners include too many people as part of their leadership teams, either because they are afraid being honest about who the true leadership team is will hurt feelings, or because they mistakenly think “more is more.”

How Too Many On The Team Undermines Team Health

When the team is large (based on the work I do, I have found that a leadership team of more than seven people is on the large size) there is an unspoken awareness that the time to talk will be limited due to the number of people in the room. As a result, when people have the floor to speak, they focus on advocacy: pushing, and even arguing, to make their point based on their perception of the facts.

What’s worse, I find that when others are speaking, team members are less likely to be really focused on what they are hearing, but are rather focusing on the points they want to make so they don’t misspeak or forget exactly what they want to say. It becomes very much like our elected officials in Congress: lots of posturing and talking in circles with little or nothing actually getting done. That is no way to lead and grow an entrepreneurial business and build Team Health.

This advocacy behavior and mindset prevents healthy growth and healthy conflict as a team; thus the elephants remain so close, yet so far away.

Team Health: Less Is More

On the other hand, when I work with teams of 3–7 people, or when I can help the larger groups see that they need to shed the added weight of too many people, I find that the mindsets in the room shift to a posture of inquiry: taking time to ask more questions and make fewer statements. People tend to listen more intently to each other and ask better questions. As a result, they learn from one another and open themselves to see the facts from a different point of view. This almost always leads to deeper root-cause analysis of issues, and when teams can shift to a posture of inquiry over advocacy, the elephants are much easier to find and Team Health begins to flourish.

Do you want to see your team get better at going deeper and solving issues at the root? Start with an open and honest evaluation of the team and its size. Do you have just enough of the right people in the room? Your leadership team should be structured as simply as possible—and no simpler than that. Remember, when it comes to numbers and increasing Team Health, less really is more. Happy hunting.


To learn more about how The TRACTION Hub and Certified EOS Implementer Michael Erath can help you and your team dig deep and unearth the real things that are holding you back, click here to contact us and schedule a call.


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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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