Dead end sign | when self-implementing leadership teams hit the ceiling

When Self-implementing Leadership Teams Hit the Ceiling (Again)

Mike Kotsis EOS - Entrepreneurial Operating System, Leadership

When Marisa read Gino Wickman’s book Traction, she knew that the Entrepreneurial Operating System® was the solution her small company needed. They had hit the ceiling and weren’t gaining the Traction® she knew they were capable of. EOS® had the structure and tools Marisa’s agency was lacking.

She pitched it to her leadership team, and before long they were implementing EOS. She loved the simplicity of the system, and it seemed natural for her to be the one implementing EOS for the team—after all, she was the owner of the company and she had the vision for adopting EOS to begin with. Marisa was also a natural leader, and she was the team member most comfortable in the driver’s seat.

Stuck Again

But after a couple years of running on EOS, it was clear that the company had hit the ceiling again. While they had gained some Traction and seen clear growth as a business, the agency was still dealing with recurring Issues, struggling with Rocks and missing a level of accountability. Scorecard numbers weren’t being hit often enough, and profitability was underperforming. It was time to get some outside help.

The leadership team brought me on as their EOS Implementer™. As I began leading them through the Focus Day™, Two-Day Vision Building™ and Quarterly Sessions, it became apparent that there were recurring Issues whose root causes had never been identified. This isn’t uncommon for self-implementing teams, and it might be something you can resonate with.

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The Root Cause

As I began probing the leadership team for their input, people began sharing opinions and insights they had never shared before. It was an eye-opening moment for the team—and especially for Marisa. This is how she put it: “It turns out my team didn’t feel as comfortable challenging me on certain aspects of our vision and issues as I thought they were. When Mike was in the room and sensed that tension, he was able to dive deeper into those issues and draw people out so that we were having much more honest conversations than we had before.”

This isn’t unusual. When the Visionary takes on the Implementer role on the leadership team, they can’t fully step out of their role as CEO or owner. Even if the Visionary can mentally and emotionally take off that hat, the leadership team usually can’t. They still see the Visionary as the CEO. As a result, they may hold back on their input—either out of fear of reprisal or anxiety over challenging the top boss.

The Problem with Self-implementing EOS

This can be an issue even when self-implementing companies have someone else in the Implementer role. Without a third-party facilitator to draw out discussion, the people around the table can hold back if the Visionary is in the room. An objective, disinterested party can create a safe way to get honest and vulnerable discussion.

If your company is self-implementing EOS and you’re finding yourselves hitting the ceiling again, your leadership team members could be playing it close to the vest. This may be a good time to request a 90-Minute Meeting™ with a Certified EOS Implementer. The 90-Minute Meeting will walk you through the EOS Process and give you a clear understanding of what a Certified EOS Implementer can provide for your company.

“Mike has saved us a tremendous amount of time and energy,” Marisa said. “I think if we had hired him from the beginning, we would be a lot farther ahead than we are now. Personally, I’ve reduced the number of hours I’m working to closer to 30 hours a week, versus 60 or 70 when I first started with all of this. I’m operating much more in my Unique Ability® on a daily basis, which is a lot more enjoyable.”

Ready to gain more Traction and enjoy your work more? Schedule a discovery call with me today!