people checking a map and holding a compass | EOS helps keep companies strong during coronavirus

How EOS® Keeps Companies Strong During Challenging Times

Mike Kotsis EOS - Entrepreneurial Operating System

The coronavirus crisis has sent many organizations — large and small — into a state of panic, fear, and historic losses. Without a simple system to clarify, simplify, and achieve their vision, many of these companies will never recover. 

The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is designed to strengthen your entire company to withstand economic storms of all sizes. If you implement EOS® purely, you’ll enjoy a company that’s more weatherproof than you could have imagined.

I wanted to see how EOS is helping my clients to thrive during economic disruption. I interviewed a few of them and asked them which EOS Tools have been most helpful to their businesses during the COVID-19 period. 

Here’s what they had to say.

Level 10 Meetings™

Cherry Republic is a retailer of all things cherry — especially cherry foods, such as salsas, fruit and nut mixes, and candies. They operate six retail stores across Michigan, as well as mail order and internet sales.

The days of COVID-19 have brought several ups and downs. Especially in the beginning, information changed daily. While things are more stable now, it was a challenge to make smart business decisions in the first couple weeks. “Just when you think you’ve got something understood and have a plan in place, then it changes the next day,” CEO Todd Ciolek said. “I’m not quite sure where we’d be without EOS, actually.” 

Todd credits EOS with helping the company to stay focused, and not to get too sidetracked. Shortly after COVID-19 disrupted “business as usual,” the team met to review and reevaluate their Rocks and priorities, to determine if they were still relevant in the midst of the crisis. Some of their existing rocks were relevant, while others needed to be parked on the V/TO™ long term Issues List. They created several new rocks to pivot and focus the entire leadership team in one direction, and each department reset some of their Rocks, as well.

Related reading: Look Back Every 90 Days to See Where Your Business Is Heading

For Cherry Republic, the greatest EOS Tool right now has been the Level 10 Meetings. “The purpose of the meeting has become so much deeper during this time, as a connection tool,” Todd said. “We know we’re going to see someone’s face, we know we’re going to share some good news once a week. Connecting has been one of the biggest benefits of the Level 10 Meeting.”

The built-in agenda also helps the team to stay focused and prioritize their most important issues, and they use the meeting to follow a revised Scorecard that tracks the most important things to measure right now. Todd credits the Level 10 Meeting as instrumental in pulling their team together throughout an uncertain crisis.

Scorecard

The Pet Beastro is a retail store that focuses entirely on pet nutrition and holistic modalities. The company carries food and all-natural supplies, and provides naturopathic care to clients.

Dr. Jill Tack is the owner of The Pet Beastro. She says that EOS has provided a crucial focus for her and her team. “We have known for a good two to three years that our operations have been lacking,” she said. Beginning the EOS Process this year has allowed them to focus on the things that needed the most attention. “The focus is what really kept us moving in a forward direction.”

As a result, the company is experiencing resilience in the midst of disruption. They’re able to adapt to the stresses and move quickly to continue operations. “If you’re not resilient and you’re not paying attention to what’s around you…and your staff…you kind of miss the big picture,” she said.

During the coronavirus period, the EOS Scorecard has been a game changer for The Pet Beastro. “We religiously fill it out on a weekly basis,” Jill said. “The metrics show us the health of our business and where it’s at, and how it’s changed — or maybe the areas that are struggling, now that we’ve changed how we do business.” She added, “The Scorecard gives us the metrics of the health of our business and where we stand.”

State of the Company Meetings

Fessler & Bowman, Inc. is a 400-employee concrete and civil infrastructure contractor headquartered in Flushing, Michigan. In the first six weeks of COVID-19, they had over 80,000 minutes in Zoom meetings, a little over 3,000 participants, and about 700 meetings. 

I asked CEO Jim Malenich about the EOS Tool that has been most impactful for Fessler & Bowman during the coronavirus. “The basis of the [State of the Company] Meetings has been a big foundation for us,” he said. “We turned those quarterly meetings quickly into [monthly] meetings [through Zoom].” The company immediately saw the need to communicate with hundreds of employees that were dispersed in several states, so they used the basis of the State of the Company Meetings to keep their people informed and on the same page.

They use the meetings to keep employees up to speed on what’s going on, how the business is doing, and whether they’re securing new work. They also share examples of Core Values each week.

“The feedback and response from our people has been fantastic,” Jim said. “They’re asking for the quarterly State of the Company Meetings to be increased to once a month.” After discussing it, the leadership team thought that was a great idea. “We’ve found the impact…is just unbelievable.”

The Visionary™ Seat

University Compounding Pharmacy specializes in making custom pills for prescription medications. Coming from a holistic mindset, much of their work is in hormone replacement therapy.

UCP’s Visionary, Brad McCloskey, said that it was easy to freak out a bit when the coronavirus first came on the scene. But by mid-April he and the leadership team had developed a good sense of what’s important and are now very focused. 

Their leadership team recently had a meeting that got them on the right track to anticipate some needed changes. Now they’re ahead of the obstacles that come at them. “We are able to all sit down and focus on the most important issues with EOS,” he said. “We hold each other accountable. Honestly, we’re really thriving right now in this crisis, compared to other companies.”

Perhaps the most impactful component of EOS is the concept of the Visionary role. Because Brad understands his role, he’s able to get out of the way and let his people do what they’re best at. 

For example, when COVID-19 arrived, Brad prepared to begin a round of layoffs. But the controller was able to work the numbers and give the company a week or two to make some strategic decisions. That gave them the room to calm down and assess the situation. “We actually haven’t made any layoffs yet,” Brad said. “We’ve made very small cuts to staffing salaries and hours, but they’re minor.”

Embracing the Visionary seat has also enabled Brad to give people the autonomy to make decisions. “We’ve set Rocks for them, and they’ve come up with great solutions during the crisis,” he said. One team started compounding hand sanitizers, which they are now selling to large hospitals to help supplement revenue.

“I wasn’t even involved in those hand sanitizer decisions, whereas in the past I would have to be in control of everything,” Brad said. “The people that are in place now are actually a lot smarter than I am in what they’re doing. When I just let them make the decisions, it actually is turning out better than in the past, when I used to try to control everything.”

Need a Stronger Organization?

Companies that run on EOS have the tools they need to adjust to the chaos and uncertainty that the coronavirus has introduced. While there are no guarantees for any business, organizations that are implementing EOS are equipped to get to the root cause of issues, solve problems for good, and keep their people accountable — all while staying on the same page. When your company is in the midst of uncertainty, that’s critical.

Need to talk to someone about strengthening your organization during uncertainty? Let’s talk!