8 Questions That Will Change Your Business Forever

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Most of the time an interview has a feel of selling something, however when I met with Daniel Davis he wasn’t like that at all. Daniel is very sincere about wanting to help business owners do one thing: avoid the unnecessary challenges that accompany business ownership.

Daniel opened up about EOS® – The Entrepreneurial Operating System®, an all-encompassing system to help any organisation reach its full potential. This system is used by thousands of companies in the USA and is only now being launched in Australia by Daniel, with the plan of expanding into Asia-Pacific.

Whilst Daniel explained the EOS Model™ it was quite refreshing to see how generously he shared some valuable strategies a business can apply straight away. In Daniel’s words, “We have an abundance mentality and we like to talk about what we do openly. We share what we can about the EOS tools, system and process and, ultimately, we just allow others to determine if there’s a real fit. The whole idea is to let someone find the value of what we do in their own time and in their way.”

Business First Magazine: Can you tell me, what is EOS?

Daniel Davis: EOS® is the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, a series of simple yet powerful tools that help any organisation reach its full potential. Over 16,000 companies worldwide are using the EOS tools.

EOS Worldwide is the growing organisation of successful entrepreneurs, from a variety of business backgrounds, who are dedicated to sharing these powerful tools to help other entrepreneurs succeed as they have.

The company founder, Gino Wickman, started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 21 and became soon thereafter an owner in a family business, one of the top sales training companies in the United States. Gino and several other business owners started the Detroit Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization [EO], which soon grew to 90 members. Through that experience he found himself helping many of his fellow EO members, falling in love with the wonderful world of business and entrepreneurship. He discovered a passion and knack for understanding the science of business and so, after retiring from his family business, he devised EOS and set out to help entrepreneurial leadership teams get what they want out of their businesses.

Since inception 14 years ago, EOS Implementers across the world (there are over 125 in the USA and another 15 around the world) have delivered over 14,500 full-day sessions to leadership teams from over 2,400 companies. I am thrilled to be the first Certified EOS Implementer in Australia.

BFM: How does EOS bring value to a business?

DD:

The power of EOS is that it is real-world, simple and practical. There’s no flavour of the month, no magic pills, no promises or “trust-in-me”; just timeless, field tested tools that really work.

Implementing EOS helps leadership teams do three things; achieve Vision, Traction and Healthy:

  • Vision means getting everyone on the same page and engaged with the direction and strategy.
  • Traction means better execution, more discipline and accountability to each other.
  • Healthy means you become more functional and cohesive as a leadership team that breeds a productive and positive culture; a major issue for most companies.

From there, the leadership team teaches and integrates these ideas into the rest of the organisation.

Our typical client is a company with 10 to 250 employees, with an open-minded leadership team that wants to help their organisation reach its full potential. In organisations of this size and responsibility, it is vital to ensure the team is crystal clear on the vision, gaining more traction, more discipline, more accountability, and ultimately becoming more cohesive, functional, and healthy. If these factors aren’t considered, the consequences can be fatal.

Daniel Davis with the EOS Worldwide Leadership Team: Gino Wickam, Don Tinney & Mike Paton

Daniel Davis with the EOS Worldwide Leadership Team: Gino Wickam, Don Tinney & Mike Paton

BFM: How did you come across EOS and what is your involvement?

DD: Well, I stumbled across it not knowing it would fuel my personal purpose. Going back to the beginning, my interest in business began very early with my first job at the young age of 10. You could say it was love at first sight, or maybe first pay packet – even if it was only $4 an hour!

By 21 I had opened my first business, an IGA Supermarket in the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney), working massive hours, 7 days a week. I saw some great success and continued to grow my interests into a wider variety of industries including retail, communications, manufacturing, professional services and even an online start-up.

It’s fair to say that business is an addiction for me and I am obsessed with mastering the ingredients that make them successful.

You could liken the story of how I came across EOS to that of a romantic novel. In 2014 I was invited to meet Sir Richard Branson at his home on Necker Island along with a group of other entrepreneurs. During my visit, one of the other guests, who happened to be an EOS Implementer, insisted I read Gino Wickman’s book Traction, saying that Gino and I were like twins. Of course I was intrigued, so I bought the book and was hooked by the first ten pages!

I decided to explore EOS further and over the past 2 years I have completed my Professional Implementer training and reached Certified Implementer status. EOS Worldwide has grown significantly in recent years, particularly in North America, and is rapidly expanding globally. I have developed a close relationship with EOS Worldwide’s leadership team; at the core, our values and passion align so perfectly. I now have the honour of being trusted with the task of bringing the EOS brand to Australia and the Asia Pacific region, which is very exciting.

BFM: You’ve been involved in the business improvement and education space for 7 years now, why EOS? Why commit yourself to this brand?

DD: Great question. Put simply, it is the most effective business operating system I’ve found. It can work in any size business, in any industry, and gets results quickly and sustainably. And that’s always been my ultimate goal; to find a system this simple, versatile and effective.

In terms of the EOS brand, it is perfectly aligned to my company here in Australia, Gallop Solutions Group. Combined, our passion (or obsession, if you like) is helping business owners and their leadership teams perform – to help them get what they want from their businesses.

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BFM: So, what does the EOS Model™ comprise of?

DD: The EOS Model™ is made up of Six Key Components™:Vision, People, Data, Process, Issues and finally, Traction. It’s based on time-tested strategies, not fad ideas. These components must be managed and strengthened to become a great business. The model applies to big and small businesses alike, in any industry.

  1. Vision. Strengthening this component means getting everyone in the organisation 100 percent on the same page with where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.
  2. People. This means surrounding yourself with great people, top to bottom, because you can’t achieve a great vision without a great team.
  3. Data. This means cutting through all the feelings, personalities, opinions and egos and boiling your organisation down to a handful of objective numbers that give you an absolute pulse on where things are.With the Vision, People, and Data Components strong, you start to create a lucid, transparent, open and honest organisation where everything becomes more visible and you start to “smoke out all the issues,” which leads to…
  4. Issues. Strengthening this component means becoming great at solving problems throughout the organisation – setting them up, knocking them down and making them go away forever.
  5. Process. This means identifying, systemising and documenting the core processes that define the way your business runs. You then ensure everyone understands these processes and follows them. This creates consistency and scalability in your organisation.
  6. And finally, Traction®. This means bringing discipline and accountability throughout your company – becoming great at execution and taking the vision down to the ground and making it real.

BFM: That’s a lot to consider, how does one get started on this to make it usable?

DD: To really make it valuable for the reader, I’d like to share what I would do with any business I first meet and share how to apply the first component of the EOS Model, which is Vision.

Vision is how you will get everyone and everything in your business aligned and moving the same direction, 100 percent on the same page with where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. All other tools assist the achievement of this vision so this is clearly the first and primary factor.

If a business owner looks at their own organisation and answers 8 key questions, they will see what is and isn’t working very quickly so they can begin making decisions about how to better their business.

BFM: But don’t most business leaders know this? Surely this is Business-101?

DD: Surprisingly, it’s often not the case. So many business leaders tell me that they know where their company is going and that they have a plan. When I ask where it is, they say “It is all in here” pointing to their heads. But, having run and managed many businesses, I would venture to say employees are not mind readers and that your “plans” may not be as clear as you think.

We create this Vision Component by helping the whole leadership team form the vision and strategy, document it, and get agreement from the whole company. The key here is buy-in and agreement: an unrealistic or authoritarian vision doesn’t gain any buy-in which results in poor performance (or none at all).

Answering the 8 key questions and gaining agreement on them, no matter how simple they may be (and I ask you not to judge them by their simplicity), can fuel a leadership team to perform remarkably.

Here are the eight questions we ask:

  1. What are your Core Values? Core values are what define your culture; who you are as people. Typically three to seven is the rule of thumb (less is more). We’re looking to discover what lies at the core of your organisation so that we can get to work on surrounding you with the right people, ultimately building a strong enduring culture around these values that you hold dear.
  2. What is your Core Focus™? It’s been called mission statement, motto, purpose, etc. It’s also been called voice by Stephen Covey in his book, The 8th Habit. In brief, your true Core Focus is made up of two things: Your purpose, cause or passion and your niche.Once you’re clear on what it is, you must stay absolutely laser focused on it and not get distracted by what we like to call ‘shiny stuff’. That’s all that stuff outside of your Core Focus that distracts you on your journey of building a great organisation. So it becomes a filtering and guiding mechanism for you.
  3. What is your 10-year Target™? This is where you answer what is the big goal here? What are we all working towards so again, everyone can align around getting there? This is a shoot-for-the-stars kind of goal.
  4. What is your (high level) Marketing Strategy? What this section is designed to do is create a focal point on your sales and marketing efforts, ultimately increasing your sales and your close ratios. There are four parts to Marketing Strategy:1) The first part is your Target Market. This is crystallising who your ideal customer is, who you should be targeting, the demographic, the geographic, and the psychographic of that ideal customer. Who are they, where are they, what are they?2) How are you going to communicate to your Target Market? By defining your Three Uniques™. The most common equivalent term here is differentiators, but what are the three uniques that truly make you different as an organisation?3) What is your Guarantee or Promise to your customer?4) What is your Proven Process™ for how you do what you do for your customer? This how we take care of each customer and can guarantee their success.Once you define these four parts you then have a clear high-level marketing strategy you can detail out and take to the world.
  5. What is your 3-Year Picture™? We then go to question number five, which is painting a picture of what this organisation looks like 3 short years from now. Now this isn’t a detailed three to five year strategic planning.  Again this tool is designed to take a simplified approach to your strategic planning, starting with what your revenue, profit, and measurables look like in the future date.Once those are clear, we then paint a picture of what the organisation looks like with 5-15 descriptive bullet points. That way, in your mind’s eye, you all are seeing the exact same thing. Once everyone can clearly see exactly what it looks like and where you’re going, you’re more likely to get there. This also enables you to understand how you can then begin to gain traction and do much better 1-year planning because you now know where you want to be in 3 years. 
  6. What is your 1-Year Plan? We then take a simplified approach: what do we absolutely have to get done this year to make that 3-Year Picture a reality? And so with that the same drill, future date and then what are the revenue, profit, and measurables for this year. And then we go into your goals and determine: what are the three to seven most important things that must get done in the next year. Again, we take a simplified approach. We don’t focus on everything. We boil it down to just a simple handful, three to seven– hopefully closer to three, because less is more.
  7. What are your Rocks (quarterly priorities)? With the 1-Year Plan now clear, we then take it down to the ground to what really matters and that’s the next 90 days of this organization’s life. We call them Rocks. These are the three to seven most important things that must get done in the next 90 days that will ensure you achieve your 1-Year Plan.When we create this 90-Day World™ with you it keeps your whole company accountable and focused on what absolutely must get done. Every 90 days the Rocks are re-set. You put your heads down and go to work for 90 Days, then come up for air, review how you did, review your vision, then set your Rocks for the next 90 days.When you break down your vision in Quarterly Rocks like this, you start to gain transparency around who is productive in your team, how powerful your team actually is, and how much time in the past you’d wasted focusing non-priority objectives.
  8. What are the issues getting in the way of achieving all of this? And then the eighth and final question, as important as the rest, what are all the issues, obstacles, barriers, problems, opportunities and concerns that arise along the way? Well, we get you to get these out of your head and on paper. There’s good therapy in just saying it. Once your whole leadership team has aired their issues, you then go about planning how to solve them once and for all.It is at this point where we, as EOS Implementers, get the reputation for being comfortable in bringing up what others won’t and addressing the true cause of issues in a business. Usually it’s only a handful of core issues that create symptom effects across the whole company, but these can be hard to confront.When we go through this issues process with our clients, we air the true and underlying issues that stop businesses from achieving their goals.

BFM: Does someone need to hire an EOS Implementer like yourself to walk them through these questions and get the tools applied in their business?

DD: No, actually. Gino wrote the book called Traction which explains the EOS Model and Process, and there is an online toolkit where all of the EOS tools can be downloaded for free. Yes, it’s our “abundance” mentality again. Additionally, we also offer an online training platform called Base Camp which anyone can sign up to and access for themselves if they want to self-implement EOS in their business.

Many people decide to work with a Professional or Certified EOS Implementer because they want the benefit of an external facilitator who is a master of the EOS tools, which results in a raised level of accountability. As a standard, Professional and Certified EOS Implementers have a wealth of business experience and a passion for helping leadership teams.

BFM: If people want to find out more about whether EOS is right for their business, what should they do?

DD: They can do a few things:

  1. Read the book Traction by Gino Wickman
  2. Visit this webpage to download a free chapter of Traction, learn more about the EOS Tools™, and access more resources: www.eosworldwide.com/bfm
  3. Request a free 90 Minute Meeting for an EOS Implementer to meet you and your leadership team. We find this is the best and fastest way for us to give you and your team an overview of EOS, answer your questions, and ultimately determine if EOS is a fit for your business. Call 1300 087 010 and we’ll put you in touch with an Implementer that will best suit your business.

As mentioned, the 8 questions address only one of the Six Key Components needed for any business to achieve their business goals: Vision. Gaining clarity and alignment on your vision is a great first step, but there’s a lot of work to be done to achieve that vision.

Business leadership isn’t as easy as it can be made to look. There are so many factors to consider, and all aspects have to be clearly defined, agreed on, and followed by all.

This doesn’t mean business leadership needs to be so challenging or complicated. There are simple yet powerful methods of making your business manageable, understandable, and valuable.

My passion is to see business leaders around the world having access to these simple solutions so that they can get what they want from their business, and ultimately enjoy life more. BFM



Business First is a peer-to-peer magazine: written by CEOs and other high level executives, with interviews with some of the country’s best leaders.